Business / Career development / Climate change / DEI / Economics

What’s next for the economy? and 11 more themes in’s 2021 editorial calendar

From the future of the workplace to lessons on resilience and holding companies accountable for racial equity pledges, will devote extra coverage to these timely topics this year.

Joe Biden campaigning in Iowa in 2020. (Photo by Flickr user Phil Roeder, used via a Creative Commons license)
While it’s tempting to herald the new year as a saving grace, many of 2020’s challenges will linger far into 2021. But there are also signs of progress.

As of November, 10.7 million Americans were still out of work — 6.7% of the population, 3.2 percentage points higher than just before the pandemic started. And the COVID-19 case count has topped 20.6 million in the U.S., with more than 351,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill from Congress, signed into law on Dec. 27, means a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program and other forms of relief for small businesses. Vaccines are finally being administered across the U.S. And oddly, but encouragingly, entrepreneurship rates are up: Hundreds of thousands more people applied to start a business last year than in 2019.

All of these topics will be incorporated into’s regular reporting throughout the year, as they were in 2020, before which PPP didn’t even exist.

But this January, amid President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and as $600 stimulus checks hit our bank accounts, we at will be taking an especially close look at what’s next for the U.S. economy, and what that means for the Philly, Baltimore, D.C. and Delaware tech communities.’s editorial calendar is a reporting series with monthly themes relevant to our niche group of readers. The idea is to give our journalists an opportunity to dive deeper into 12 topics that local technologists, entrepreneurs and innovators care about (while still maintaining our regular diversity of coverage).

Now, we’ll acknowledge upfront: This list could change. Our 2020 editorial calendar hit a snag in March when, you know, a pandemic rocked our communities. April’s theme shifted from community building to healthcare technologies to account for the rise in private-sector responses to the then-nascent pandemic. Community building was bumped to May, at the expense of global expansion. (Finding community in new ways during a time of intense social isolation just seemed more relevant than, um, how companies were thinking about cross-border business deals.)

With this flexibility in mind, let’s get to what’s planned for 2021. Broadly, these themes cover biz trends, professional development for technologists and workplace culture, with an eye on how each are changing in a continuously unprecedented moment in history:

JANUARY — What’s Next for the Economy?

  • Think: small business resiliency, local impacts of a Biden administration, vaccine rollout
  • How effective was PPP in keeping local businesses afloat? How are businesses preparing to emerge from the pandemic?
  • We’ll also publish the 2021 edition of the RealLIST Startups, aka our annual list of each market’s most promising new tech companies. Nominate a startup by EOD Jan. 10.

FEBRUARY — Tech Career Paths

  • Think: “How I Got Here” series on technologists’ professional journeys, profiles of senior and junior-level technologists, explainers on product roles
  • What nontraditional paths are being taken to careers in technology? What are the steps after hiring that can help to retain women, Black people and Latinx people in tech roles?
  • We’ll also prepare for a virtual version of our multi-city NET/WORK hiring event. Look for more details soon.

MARCH — Growth Companies

  • Think: check-ins with 50- to 1,000-person companies, profiles on technologists leading interesting projects within them, venture capital trends
  • How is leadership plotting further growth? What are mature tech companies contributing to the local economy?

APRIL — Funding Women Founders

  • Think: focused biz development resources, startup founders’ journeys, funding data
  • Are women gaining a share of venture capital dollars? What are the pathways for women to enter and shape VC themselves?

MAY — Tech for the Common Good

  • Think: ethics of advanced technology, social dynamics of introducing new technology, the digital divide
  • How are communities and companies interacting to roll out new technologies? What are the power dynamics at play?
  • We’ll also host Philly Tech Week 2021 presented by Comcast from May 7 through 15, and you can expect a reboot of the RealLIST Connectors, our list of each market’s impactful tech community members.

JUNE — Racial Equity in Tech

  • Think: check-ins with companies that made funding or diversity pledges in June 2020, inclusion, pathways for Black technologists
  • How did the June 2020 protests shape racial equity in tech? How can companies bring accountability for the pledges they made?

JULY — Tech and the Environment

  • Think: climate change, sustainability, clean technology
  • How can the tech community play a role in combatting climate change? What infrastructure is needed for environmental technologies to scale?

AUGUST — How We Work Now

  • Think: workplace culture, the role of offices in a (hopefully) post-COVID world, the future of remote tools
  • What do coworking spaces look like now? What tools that were necessities during the pandemic will be with us going forward?

SEPTEMBER — Youth Building the Future

  • Think: youth-built apps, career readiness, STEAM
  • How are students being introduced to technology? How can educators prepare students for the industries of the future?

OCTOBER — Tech and Health

  • Think: digital healthcare, medtech, mental health
  • What role did local life sciences and digital health communities play in (hopefully) ending the pandemic? How will technology transformation embraced during the pandemic shape healthcare going forward?

NOVEMBER — How to Get a Tech Job

  • Think: better technical interviews, professional development for technologists, skills and salary trends
  • What skills are needed to enter the tech workforce and how does one obtain them? How can companies ensure an equitable hiring process?

DECEMBER — Lessons on Resilience

  • Think: pivots, technology of the future, business continuity planning
  • A full year from 2020, what have we learned? How can adaptation become part of a business’ operations?

Many of these follow a similar line: helping you do your job better. You can expect a handful of profiles on folks doing the most within these sectors, guest posts from relevant experts and a whole bunch of reporting on trends, challenges and solutions.

Have an idea for a story? Know someone working in one of these spaces who deserves some shine? Looking to align your marketing campaign with a sponsored content package? Drop us a line:

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Series: What’s Next for the Economy? Month 2021

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