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Joan Brady

Introducing Billy Penn: Welcome to version 1.0

In 1681, William Penn launched the beta version of what has become the modern-day Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, we’re proud to launch the beta version of Billy Penn, a mobile platform serving the largest city of that commonwealth: Philadelphia.

Like the city it hopes to serve, this initial version of Billy Penn is imperfect. We’ll be adding new features and functionality — as soon as next week — with much of it focused on building communities of interest and finding new ways to deliver news of relevance to you when and where you want it.

Of course, while today is the official launch of the web site, Billy Penn has been publicly active for a bit. We’ve been on Twitter and Facebook for a few months, and have been producing a weekday newsletter for the past five weeks (sign up here). We hope those who have followed along have been enjoying how we’ve chronicled and curated what’s happening in Philly. We’ll continue to do that in ways that may be different from other sites. Here are a few of our approaches:

  • We will link to other sites, not over-aggregate: Our opinion is that, when covering a city and a region this large, it’s a waste of valuable resources to rewrite the hard work of others. A wise man once advised newsrooms to “cover what you do best, and link to the rest.” We’ve built our site around that ethos; there are hundreds of excellent professional journalists reporting on Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, sports teams, government, zoning, schools and a host of other topics. There are also an army of smart, interesting, funny and trenchant Philly residents and visitors, all quick to contribute to the social conversation. We are hoping to amplify those voices, as well as write original articles when we can contribute something unique to this robust ecosystem. So what you’ll see on BillyPenn.com are either links to our own original work or direct links that will take users to another page altogether. In fact, in the beginning, we will be linking to others in the majority of cases. We’re fine with that; it’s worked OK for Google so far…

So, yes, there’s much still to do.

But, for now, we’re just hoping our site provides a quick way to catch up with the best of what’s being written, Tweeted, Instagrammed and Vined about the City of Brotherly Love. We hope you follow along with us and help make it better each and every day.

More to come soon.

Jim Brady, Founder & CEO

Chris Krewson, Editor