I’m a lifelong journalist and longtime nurturer of civic dialogue. In past stops on the career ladder, I was vice president of news and civic dialogue at WHYY, the Philadelphia public media company; editorial page editor and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer; and assistant managing editor at Easton, Pa.’s, spunky daily paper, the Express-Times. For years, I had the honor of sharing opinions and observations with a pretty large public through my Centre Square column and radio commentary.
Now I do business as a consultant in media and civic engagement, as well as an executive coach, through my business Keystone Civic Ventures LLC. My other perch is as co-director of the Penn Project for Civic Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.
Like many journalists, I’m a cynical idealist – a passionate believer in the ideals and values that animate the American experiment, but a skeptic about anyone in power or in pursuit of power who claims credit for be upholding those ideals.
Like many Americans, I’ve spent the last year confounded, angry, anxious and distressed about what has been happening to this democracy and this society.
During past moments of American crisis, whether the Clinton impeachment, the 2000 election, 9/11, or the Tea Party uprising against out first black president, I had a clear journalistic perch, a platform, from which to comment and connect, to try to distill some light from the raucous heat.
For the last few months, no longer having such a percch has been driving me crazy. Hence this site and this blog. Even if I write here for only myself and a small circle, it is better than silence in the face of this brutal, dangerous farce.
Not that I intend to write only of politics and policy I am a family man, united in love for four decades with one Eileen Kenna, father to two grown children, Sara and Matt. I am a lover of theater, movies and the best of Netflix. All my life I have loved sports not wisely but too well, primarily the often feckless professional teams of my native Cleveland, secondarily the nearly as maddening teams of my beloved Philly. All of those topics will likely crop from time to time here.
I am a writer who writes to begin conversation, not to end it. From the time I was the first writer at the Inquirer (and one of the first nationally) to put my phone number and email at the end of columns, I’ve relished dialogue with those who take the time to bother to read what I write. I invite and encourage you to join the conversation here, even if it only to tell me how wrong I am about this, or that, or the other thing.