The Incline

Founding Editor

July 2016 – February 2019 ・ Pittsburgh, Pa.

After admiring the work of Billy Penn, I was recruited to build Spirited Media’s second local news site and launched The Incline on Sept. 13, 2016.

I worked a lot.

Every day started with a standing SCRUM meeting where each team member discussed what they were working on and what they needed help with. As a group, we discussed the conversation of the day and how The Incline would tackle it. Five scrappy journalists made a splash because we were deliberate about each tweet, each story. We punched above our weight.

As the editor, I lead and executed editorial and audience development strategies and experiments with agile methodology. I hired and managed a staff of reporters, photojournalists and freelancers and created and maintained a style guide and corrections page. I launched our membership program. I also focused heavily on day-to-day operations, crafting social media posts, interacting with our audience, and editing stories and our popular newsletter.

Every day was fun and challenging, a hustle to prove ourselves in a crowded market: We made the city more accessible and understandable to Pittsburghers and built an essential news product.

Before the site was sold to Whereby.Us in early 2019, I accepted a job with The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here’s more about what I did at The Incline.

It’s 6 a.m. and just went live. (Photo by Jasmine Goldband)

At my core, I’m a breaking news reporter and editor.

Covered and planned response to Tree of Life massacre, police shooting of Antwon Rose II, and local and national elections

Edited news, feature and sports articles

Wrote SEO-friendly (and not horrible) headlines

Developed stories with reporters, photographers, designers and freelancers

Collaborated with other news outlets

  • HuffPost and The Incline worked on the Listen To America tour to determine “What the driverless vehicles of tomorrow mean for today’s Pittsburgh workers.”
  • 90.5 WESA and The Incline partnered on a live mayoral debate ahead of the 2017 election and staff members often were interviewed for The Confluence
  • Report For America selected The Incline and Billy Penn to host one of its 2018 editorial fellows to cover Pennsylvania’s state government.
  • 100 Days of Appalachia supported a project on food deserts, after placing in its Pittsburgh Pitch competition.
  • The Incline was PolitiFact’s Pennsylvania partner.
  • Local television, including KDKA-TV and WTAE, on audience engagement initiatives

I owned our membership program.

Implemented The Incline’s membership program in early 2018

Owned this revenue stream and created member drives and timely asks

Trained at the 2017-18 Facebook Membership Accelerator and with News Revenue Hub

“Their membership perk is the journalism. The idea is, you can’t get anything else like it in the city, and beyond that, if you get a membership, yes, we have laptop stickers, yes, we have happy hours. But that’s not why people join.”
— Neiman Lab, Aug. 2018

I supported sales and events. 

Worked with sales and events staff to host profitable events

Designed and wrote house ads

I built an audience from zero to engaged.

Oversaw daily newsletter production and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)

Redesigned daily newsletter to convey values

Utilized Google Analytics and to track values-based goals and Crowdtangle to follow local trends

Created audience-driven reporting projects and templates for other network sites to implement best practices

  • Since self-driving car companies in Pittsburgh won’t disclose testing locations, we’ve asked readers to tell The Incline when and where they’ve spotted the technology, so reporters could map self-driving cars and break stories about the companies interactions with the community.
  • Peculiar Pittsburgh, powered by Hearken, allows readers to ask questions about Pittsburgh and have reporters investigate the answers.
  • Who’s Next highlights under-40 professionals in Pittsburgh through reader nominations via Google Forms, culminating in a networking happy hour.
  • Brackets seeking reader nominations and voting through Google Forms have helped build our newsletter list.
Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 10.02.59 PM
Year 1 took 3 planners.

The Incline won some awards.

2019 Excellence in Written Journalism, Daily – Medical/Health, Golden Quill, The Press Club of Western: Fresh Divide

2018 Biggest blockbuster story: Newsletter subscriptions and pageviews, Hearken’s Champions of Curiosity Awards: ‘What’s up with the monkey balls?’ The story of Pittsburgh’s weirdest tree

2018 First Place Golden Quill, The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania: Lifestyle, Digital, Eating the Turnpike: All of Pennsylvania’s 15 East-West Rest Stops, Ranked

2018 First Place Golden Quill, The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania: Continuing Blog: Four One Brew

2018 Pittsburgh Black Media Federation Vann Award, online business news: Meet the woman behind Black Tech Nation in Pittsburgh