Billy Penn has a renewed focus on covering Philly’s diverse and evolving communities with the announcement that Shannon Wink has been promoted to the position of Editor. The move was announced Monday by Spirited Media CEO Jim Brady.
“Shannon has been with us since before we launched, and she’s worked incredibly hard to help make Billy Penn what it’s become — a popular, reliable source of news about Philadelphia,” Brady said. “She’s earned this opportunity, and I’m excited to see what her appointment means for the future of Billy Penn.”
To help steward this evolution, Chris Krewson, Billy Penn’s Editor since its inception, has been named Vice President of Strategy and Reach for Spirited Media. (See the full release on the exciting Spirited Media staffing announcements here.)
Wink joined Billy Penn in 2014 as the company’s third hire, serving as community manager during the site’s launch. She played an integral role in developing the site’s unique editorial voice, while also building outreach and audience development strategies. She was promoted to Managing Editor in 2015, where she took a hands-on approach to address the growth of both the editorial and sales and events staffs. Wink helped lead Spirited Media’s expansion in 2016, assisting with the conception of and the hiring for the company’s sister site in Pittsburgh, The Incline.
In her new role as editor of Billy Penn, Wink will be tasked with continuing to produce the outstanding local coverage the site has become known for, while expanding its reach deeper into the city and the surrounding areas.
“Billy Penn has proven in a very short amount of time that local journalism still matters in big cities,” Wink said. “As we focus on expanding our coverage into many of Philly’s underrepresented communities, I’m very excited to lead our staff of dedicated reporters and editors into this new phase in our development.”
Wink is a lifelong Philadelphian who understands the value of good local journalism. In 2008 she founded NEast Philly, a daily hyperlocal news website focused on the Northeast’s ever-changing population. She developed and executed editorial, marketing and revenue strategies for the site for five years. In 2010, one year after graduating from Temple University, she began teaching as an adjunct professor in the school’s Department of Journalism, where she also serves on the advisory committee.
In 2010, Wink also joined the NewsWorks launch team at WHYY (Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate) in an effort to bring public media to a younger audience. She led NewsWorks social media strategies to align with marketing and membership goals, while developing individualized social strategies for each reporter. While at NewsWorks, Wink managed a $1-million project focused on mobile apps and audience acquisition tools.
Wink, who turned 30 in July, lives in Fishtown with her husband and two cats. She volunteers on both the Fishtown Neighbors Association board and on the marketing committee for her high school, St. Hubert.
“I have never met anyone who cares more about Philadelphia than Shannon,” Brady said. “Her passion for and knowledge of the city is incredible. I think it continues to be important to have site editors who love their cities, while also acknowledging their flaws.”
The move comes at an exciting time for Billy Penn, and for Spirited Media. Wink joins The Incline’s Lexi Belculfine as two of the youngest female newsroom editors in major cities anywhere in the country. In 2017, Spirited Media added a third local site, Denverite, to the team, with plans to continue to grow the mobile-first local strategy into several markets in the coming years.
As the company has continued to evolve, so has its staff. Wink, Belculfine, and Denverite Editor Dave Burdick will be tasked with continuing that evolution that will include specialized, city-specific membership and partnership programs.
“This is an important time for local journalism,” Wink said. “We have a great team and we will work every day to continue to serve our loyal audience, and grow and change with Philadelphia.”