Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith is a veteran digital publishing consultant. For more than a decade and a half he has provided expert advice and hands-on help to innovative and progressive publishers around the globe. His focus is the field of "news innovation:" the rapidly changing technologies and ideas that are shaping how users interact with journalism online. His experience extends to daily online news operations, weekly & monthly news magazines, and forward-thinking book publishers, for example High Country News, Global News, Grist.org, Mother Jones, New Internationalist, OR Books, Rabble, and the award-winning daily online news site, The Tyee. In addition to shepherding the Knight-Mozilla partnership into existence in 2010, Phillip has co-founded the Toronto chapters of Hacks/Hackers and The Awesome Foundation. In his spare time, he tinkers with Perl and JavaScript.

by Phillip Smith

After a short hiatus to focus on the Provincial election in British Columbia (shameless self-promo!), it’s time to get back to work unpacking the technology stacks of the world’s leading news organizations. Last time, the investigation focused on the speed of some of the world’s top news sites, and proposed ways that sites can improve [...] more »

by Phillip Smith

I present your winner (or loser?) for slowest loading feature article, the Chicago Tribune, at 16.68 seconds, almost 6 megabytes of data, and with more than 300 requests for resources to display the page in question. In fact, the Tribune was the slowest out of the 15 sites tested three out of five times. How [...] more »

by Phillip Smith

I’m working on a fun little project at the moment that involves pulling data out of a Google Spreadsheet that is being curated by a team of journalists. The interesting thing about this project is that it so clearly illustrates the difference in thinking between people who regularly work with databases (herein called programmers) and [...] more »

by Phillip Smith

> “We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die” — Umberto Eco Ever since PBS MediaShift contacted me about contributing to their Idea Lab site again ([past posts here](http://www.pbs.org/idealab/psmith/)), I’ve been taking the opportunity to ponder a new “beat” of sorts, one that would be both interesting to read, and also a contribution in [...] more »

by Phillip Smith

> “The Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership is all about producing kick-ass open-source code, recipes, and ideas to solve real problems, in real newsrooms, with real teams. We do this by tapping into communities of journalists and developers, and getting them to design, invent, and learn with us. And also by deploying fellows into news organizations [...] more »

by Phillip Smith

Over the next four weeks, a very interesting experiment is going to unfold. The most exciting part about it is that it’s entirely open source: You can observe it, interact with it, and improve it. We’re calling this experiment the “learning lab.” It’s the second stage of the [Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership](https://drumbeat.org//journalism/), which kicked off [...] more »

by Phillip Smith

Let’s face it — technically speaking, comments are broken. With few exceptions, they don’t deliver on their potential to be a force for good. Web-based discussion threads have been part of the Internet experience since the late 1990s. However, the form of user commentary has stayed fairly static, and — more importantly — few solutions [...] more »