Pulse: Chatter: Upstarts: Those That Can’t Do

An upside of the bottoming-out of journalism as a profession? Not one but two new non-profits modeled on Dave Eggers’s “826” tutoring-and-writing centers for kids are in the works here: Spells Writing Center, under Jill Schiller and former Philly Mag staffer Caroline Tiger, and Mighty Writers, brainchild of ex-Philadelphia Weekly editor Tim Whitaker. The Spells team — deep in fund-raising — has already snagged Jennifer Weiner, Elizabeth Gilbert, Tigre Hill and other literati as advisers. Isn’t Whitaker worried they’ll have cornered the market on local literacy by the time he gets going? “There’s room for a lot of these things,” he says sanguinely. And plenty of unemployed journalists to volunteer at them.

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  • Emily

    What is the deal–implying that these talented writers who are volunteering their time to teach kids how to write somehow can't write themselves? And besides, whoever wrote this headline seems to be the one who is writing challenged. The phrase is "Those who can, do; those WHO can't, teach." Perhaps the writer of this article ought to be unemployed.

  • Denise

    I am aware of Eggers'826 group, and am thrilled that Philly has its own, with Spells. But it seems, I don't know, mean? to call the creators of Spells "failed" journalists. Obviously they are talented enough to have flourishing freelance careers AND run a nonprofit. I wish them continued success.

  • Judi

    I agree the headline is terrible! And how strange that you've tied the "bottoming-out of journalism" to these wonderful non-profits, especially considering successful freelance writers like Caroline Tiger (whose byline I see everywhere) are anything but unemployed. Maybe someone forget to fact-check? Talk about the bottoming-out of journalism.

  • Mary

    Why are you being snarky about writers who are volunteering their time during a recession to help children? This is as wrong as your headline. These are capable journalists called to help the next generation – something that should be applauded!

  • jodi

    The headline is proof that journalism isn't what it used to be. Perhaps the writer is just cranky that she didn't think of the idea first and instead of helping others, she's relegated to writing for a magazine that insists on belittling the good (writing-related) things happening in her community. Shame on you, Philly Mag, for letting such a tainted piece of "journalism" fill the pages of your otherwise great magazine.

  • angelina

    i am a volunteer with Spells. And I am a very active and overemployed writer – both fulltime and freelance. that is precisely why i am volunteering my time…i have a lot of experience and the ability to donate my talents and time to such a fantastic endeavor.