Publisher will step down; photographer to be honored

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Journalist and public school advocate Paul Socolar announced in February that he will be stepping down as editor and publisher of the Notebook in late 2015. Socolar was one of the founders of the Notebook, which launched in 1994 as a free, independent quarterly newspaper. A transition committee has been set up to begin the search for a successor, and a new leader is expected to be in place by the fall.

Socolar said that “the organization is on solid ground” and that it seems “an opportune time for me to transition out of the Notebook.” After years of operating as a project of Resources for Human Development, a nonprofit human service organization, the Notebook left and secured its own tax-exempt status in 2013.

Before co-founding the Notebook, Socolar worked on education issues professionally for the National Coalition of Education Activists and the American Friends Service Committee. He was also an involved parent at C.W. Henry School in Mount Airy.

Socolar said he hopes to continue to work in public-interest investigative journalism and plans to stay in Philadelphia, though he looks forward to more frequent visits to New York City to see his parents, both in their 90s. His mother, Sandy Socolar, was until recently a volunteer proofreader for the Notebook.

The Notebook will hold an event honoring Socolar in the fall. Stay tuned for details about that and the forthcoming job announcement.

Save the date

The Notebook’s annual Turning the Page for Change celebration is coming up: This year’s event will take place from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, at the University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St. Admission is $75.

This year the Notebook will honor documentary photographer Harvey Finkle. For more than a quarter-century, Finkle has created images that deal with social, political, cultural, and educational issues. He has been photographing for the Notebook for 15 years. At the event, the Notebook will present a display of his photos and hold a silent auction of several pieces.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy student journalism awards, exciting prizes, student musicians, fantastic food, and conversation with some of the city’s most knowledgeable people in public education.

The Notebook is seeking volunteers for the planning committee and is inviting organizations and businesses to sponsor the event. Sponsorships start at $600. Contact Lauren Wiley, development director.

Media class

The Notebook is partnering with its downstairs neighbor, the city’s public access TV channel, PhillyCAM, on a free course that will train about a dozen local media makers to create a pilot TV news magazine focusing on the concerns of local communities.

The 12-week course, launched March 16, is co-taught by Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa and Karen Turner, a professor of broadcast journalism at Temple University.

The participants were chosen from more than 30 applicants, members of PhillyCAM who are seeking to hone their journalism skills and tell stories about their organizations and neighborhoods. Their interests are wide-ranging: disability rights, childhood obesity, immigrants, sports, bullying, politics, urban farming, and education funding.

Mezzacappa, who has been with the Notebook since 2008, worked for nearly three decades at the Inquirer and now teaches a journalism course at Swarthmore College. Turner worked as a radio reporter in several cities including Philadelphia and Cincinnati and has degrees in both law and journalism. She was also a spokeswoman for former Mayor Ed Rendell before joining the Temple faculty in 1992.

The project is funded by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.