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Frankford Gazette finds a creative way to bring its pages to the public

James and Bob Smiley, the father-son duo that runs the online-only Frankford Gazette, are constantly looking for ways to bring attention to their upstart news outlet. Their latest mission brings the phrase "bridging the digital divide" to life -- with help from the Frankford CDC, Gazette pages will soon be publicly projected for the whole neighborhood to see.
James and Bob are constantly looking for ways to bring Gazette news to residents who don't have access to the internet. To this end, they now publish 1,000 print copies a month through a partnership with Kidz Partners. 

The new window projection project builds off these efforts. The display -- which will be projected onto the first floor of the NorthEast Treatment Center building on the 4600 block of Frankford Avenue -- will be up-and-running in the next few weeks.
"No one else is doing anything like it," says James. "This is a new way people can consume news and another avenue to get people engaged."

The idea originated at the 2012 Online News Association Conference that James attended in San Franciscio. Sponsored by sponsored by the Center for Public Interest Journalism, James says he engaged in numerous conversations and debates about how other online outlets increase access to their content. From these conversations, James got the idea to broadcast the Gazette on the side of a building.

James and Bob ran the idea by the CDC's Michelle Feldman and the three of them got to work figuring out the best place to display the news.
The NorthEast Treatment Center was an obvious candidate due to its location on the heart of Frankford Avenue. They've been an incredibly valuable partner -- the Center's IT staff is installing the necessary equipment.

"They’ve been very much on board from the beginning," says Feldman.
Once all the kinks are ironed out and content is selected, the projection will run during daytime hours. 
"People can just walk by and consume the content as they see fit," says Bob, who adds that other locations along the Avenue are currently being scouted for future installations. 
The pair's excitement about their new venture is palpable -- both men note that it is definitely one of the "cooler" things the Gazette has accomplished in its five-year run.
But, as Bob adds, it's about more than being cutting-edge: "As cool as this is, ultimately we want to reach people who can’t otherwise be reached," he says. "Knowledge is power." 

Source:  James and Bob Smiley, Frankford Gazzette; Michelle Feldman, Frankford CDC
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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