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Looking wider, digging deeper: Here’s how Technical.ly covered 2021

A look at how our team grew coverage in more cities, and took new approaches to storytelling in another year of tumult.

The Technically Media team at our virtual All-Team Day, Dec. 22, 2021.

(Technical.ly image)

Here we are again, folks: the end of another pandemic year. This time, though, we’re armed with even more lessons in resilience and maybe even a little optimism for the future.

Like a mailed holiday card detailing your distant cousin’s kid’s newfound affinity for gymnastics, consider this your roundup of Technical.ly’s major moves and greatest hits of 2021. Except this one’s digital, not printed on Shutterfly card stock.

Quick programming note before we jump into the articles and organizational updates: Technically Media will be closed from Thursday, Dec. 23, until Monday, Jan. 3, which means you shouldn’t expect to see us publishing stories or shipping newsletters until that first week of the new year. Our small team works hard every weekday to deliver news about the local tech communities in Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Delaware and Pittsburgh, and after (say it with me) another especially challenging year, we’re looking forward to the break a little more than usual.

We hope you’ll miss us, but we’ll see you soon.

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So, what changes did 2021 bring to the Technical.ly newsroom?

The biggest one: We officially expanded our daily coverage to a new market, Pittsburgh. The move added to years of occasional reporting on the western Pennsylvania city via our own Open Data PGH series and a project tracking local economic change produced in partnership with the Pittsburgh Innovation District, as well as our acquisition of startup news site StartNow Pittsburgh.

Accordingly, journalist Sophie Burkholder joined us in Pittsburgh via the national Report for America program in June. In just her first six months, she’s reported on major business developments including IPOs, SPAC deals and acquisitions, as well as the supercharged growth of locally prominent sectors such as robotics and life sciences. Pitch her at sophie@technical.ly.

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We also brought on a new DC reporter in Michaela Althouse, previously a Technical.ly intern in Philly as well as a beat reporter covering the energy sector. Since the spring, she’s dug deep on growth companies’ hiring plans, cybersecurity talent and workplace culture shifts. Pitch her at michaela@technical.ly.

Sophie Burkholder and Michaela Althouse. (Courtesy photos; Technical.ly image)

On the non-newsroom side of the business, we brought on Marketing Manager Amanda Nardi Di Filippo, who leads strategy and execution for lead generation and the buyer journey, and VP of Product Carrie Bucci, a people operations and recruiting veteran with experience building online communities.

And now, we’re hiring: Technical.ly is looking for an editor, an editorial director and a Report for America corps member for Philly.

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Besides personnel changes, Technical.ly saw plenty of growth in our coverage, while continuing to dig deep on what makes local tech economies tick.

We launched a weekly newsletter tracking the innovative doers in America’s Rust Belt, called This Week in Milwaukee Rising. This series highlights the social entrepreneurs, civic technologists and creative innovators who are most shaping the Midwest city, especially those focused on bringing a more just, equitable and dynamic Milwaukee economy.

We published another year of RealLISTs, our newsroom-curated lists of the most promising startups, influential technologists and connective community members in each of our markets.

We dug into original data on who makes $200,000 in cities around the country, and why it matters. This multi-part, data-driven series explores the intersection of race, economic mobility and tech careers with a focus on individuals earning $200,000 — the income needed to become an accredited angel investor — across comparable markets.

We played an editorial role in the Most Diverse Tech Hub project, which seeks to boost tech skills for the future talent pipeline — specifically Black and brown Philadelphians looking to move into technology careers.

We examined the intersection of health equity, technology and the workforce, with a focus on solutions being developed to ease inequities, especially in Philadelphia.

Through our 2021 editorial calendar we devoted extra time to exploring these topics in-depth over the year:

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We hosted another all-virtual version of Philly Tech Week presented by Comcast, a huge feat including dozens of digital panels, and parties.

We hosted a virtual Slack awards event for all of our markets, too. By way of public vote, this series honored the people and orgs selected as your Invention, Tech Community Leader, Culture Builder, Startup, Growth Company and CTO of the Year. Check out the winners for Philly, Baltimore, DC, Delaware and Pittsburgh.

Elsewhere at Technically Media:

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Looking forward, we have some big plans for 2021.

We’ll continue to follow the changing economy, the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mad dash for tech talent and the skills needed to develop that talent, the ongoing efforts to reach racial equity in the industry — and what it all means for local entrepreneurs, technologists and other professionals.

Thanks for following along. We’ll see you next year.

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