Meet the editor behind Broke in Philly

Eugene Sonn
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A little bit about the work I do...

My job is about herding cats, playing matchmaker and being a cheerleader for people who are super dedicated to their work and strive to do journalism that serves the whole community.

As an editor on a collaborative project, I work to help people make the kind of reporting they strive to do, even when pulled in opposite directions because of the grind of daily journalism.

It’s a tremendous gift to be allowed to focus on the meaningful topics of economic mobility and solutions to poverty on a daily basis, not just once in a while. And the stories we get to tell are not the constant parade of bummers and bad news that some might think it would be. We get to help inspiring people get their stories out to the larger public, stories that can uplift because people have found solutions to tough problems or just because they show perseverance in the face of tremendous challenges.

The matchmaker part of my job is extremely important and rewarding to me. When someone has an idea for a story, finding a partner newsroom who will be excited to tell that story feels so good! When you hear that spark in the partner’s voice or get that enthusiastic response, you know that they don’t think of this as just another assignment. It’s also fun bringing together two newsroom partners who have not worked with each other before. It’s so gratifying when they share a passion for bringing a story to their audiences.

My job is an honor to carry out because I’m given the time and encouraged to reach out to people in our community to hear what they are hoping to get out of news reporting, instead of dreaming up stories and angles from the detachment of a daily editorial meeting. It feeds my soul to work on projects that have many, many contributors and seek to serve residents and neighborhoods who aren’t well represented around those editorial meeting tables.