What would it mean to live/ in a city whose people were changing/ each other’s despair into hope? —You yourself must change it.—
—Adrienne Rich, “Dreams Before Waking”
Welcome to The Philadelphia Citizen.
We want to partner with you in something audacious: Reigniting citizenship in its very birthplace.
• 27% of registered voters showed up to vote in the 2015 Mayoral primary
• 8.1% of Philadelphians describe themselves as active in their neighborhoods (31st of the top 50 cities)
• 28% of city residents still don’t have access to broadband Internet (among the worst in the nation)
And yet: 60% of city residents describe Philadelphia as a “great place to live.”
What do these statistics mean? That all the great stuff happening in Philadelphia—the restaurant scene, the influx of millennials and immigrants, the vibrant arts community—has happened despite having one hand tied behind our back. That local democracy is broken, in the city where it was born. That the principles first penned 239 years ago in a basement room at 7th and Market, identifying our most fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while self-evident, are not self-renewing.
The Philadelphia Citizen, a non-profit, non-partisan media organization has a dual mission: To provide deeply reported journalism that emphasizes solutions that can move our region forward, and to actively reignite citizenship in and around Philadelphia. We seek to identify our innovators, call out those who stand in the way of progress and shine a light on the next generation of Philly leadership—all while giving Philadelphians the interactive tools they need to become more involved, engaged citizens. Philadelphia doesn’t just need another news organization. It needs journalism that focuses on solutions that, together, we can help bring to fruition. It needs a movement of citizens who refuse to outsource leadership to a political class long characterized by an insidious transactional culture.
Who are we? See our masthead.
What Sets The Citizen Apart?
Media that only chronicles what’s wrong without considering how to fix things is only doing half a job. The Citizen provides context, not just facts, whether in a written article, a short documentary, or through data—the vast sea of available stats on everything from voting records to city contracts. We seek fixes to what ails the city, shine a light on our city’s change agents and demand a new way of thinking from the business-as-usual crowd.
One Stop-Shop For Civic Engagement
The Citizen provides practical ways for every Philadelphian to become a more active participant in the life of his or her city. Our Social Action team turns articles into discreet actions; connects problem-solvers to those looking for ways to engage; and helps you find your own path to becoming a truly engaged citizen. Look for ways to participate in civic action flash mobs, give feedback to elected officials, vote on ideas that can move the city forward and come together to brainstorm solutions in real time.
Connect with the Citizen Social Action team.
Our Citizen Speaks event series offer Philadelphians the opportunity to participate in a particularly old-school type of social networking: Real time, face-to-face conversations with the disruptors, policy experts and newsmakers who are having a direct effect on the region’s quality of life. The Citizen has hosted MacArthur Genius education reformer Angela Duckworth; Jay Coen-Gilbert, the father of the international “B Corp” movement; the Mayoral Millenialab, which tested candidates on their ability to innovate solutions to the city’s problems. Join us for The Citizen Social Action series, which began with a discussion about athletes and cities with Connor Barwin and Charles Barkley.
The Philadelphia Citizen is the region’s only member-supported, nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization with an emphasis on covering civic solutions and stimulating action to move the city forward. As a member, your contributions go directly to supporting this mission.
Become a member.
Corporate sponsors subscribe to The Philadelphia Citizen’s belief that promoting greater civic engagement and informed discourse is a direct route to a better and more productive Philadelphia. They play no role in guiding the journalism produced by the Citizen.
Find out more about becoming a sponsor.
The Owners: You
The Philadelphia Citizen is a member-supported non-profit with a twist: We want you, the citizens of Philadelphia, to become owners. You are a citizen of Philadelphia, and The Philadelphia Citizen is your news organization.
Information about becoming a founding shareholder in The Philadelphia Citizen will be coming soon!
The Citizen Pledge
I am more than a resident of Philadelphia.
I am its citizen.
And I dedicate myself to the betterment of my home.
I will stand while others sit.
I will speak when there is silence.
I will read. I will act. I will vote.
I will challenge authority, and challenge myself.
I will grow and learn. I will seek out inspiration.
And I will become an inspiration to others.
I stand for Philadelphia.
It is my home.
And I am its citizen.
Header photo: Philadelphia on a Half-Tank. Paul Santoleri/City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Photo by Jack Ramsdale.