Meet Technical.ly’s new editor, Sameer Rao

We at Technically are delighted to announce that Samir Rao joins our newsroom as editor-in-chief, from Monday 21 February. In this role, he will oversee reporting on tech careers, growing businesses and the changing economy, with a particular focus on Baltimore and DC.

Rao’s experience includes past local and national roles as a legal industry reporter for Law360arts and entertainment reporter for the Baltimore Suncultural reporter for color lines and neighborhood editor for Philadelphia City Paper. He also brings mentoring experience from the Voice of the Asian American Journalists Association program.

It complements a distributed newsroom consisting of Technical.ly’s editor-in-chief Julie Zeglen and journalists holly quinn in Delaware, Paige Gross in Philadelphia, Given Kirby in Baltimore, Michaela Althouse direct current and Sophie Burkholder in Pittsburgh, plus a Report for America member of the body in Philadelphia will come in June. (Psst, we’re also hiring an Engagement Manager right now.)

A Philadelphia alum who has long frequented Technical.ly events such as Klein News Innovation Camp, Rao, now based in Baltimore, is a familiar face to us in the newsroom. In the coming weeks, we hope you’ll also take the time to get to know him: his inbox is officially open at [email protected]

As journalists, we asked him a few questions to start the conversation.

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You’ve reported on entertainment, arts and culture, and the legal industry. You have edited for local and national publications. You have served as a mentor to young journalists. What do you hope to bring from these experiences to this role?

A common thread running through all of these experiences, however disparate they may have appeared on paper, is the interest in making sure people understand that places matter. What happens at the local level is as important as the more ostensibly national developments. Some of the most innovative products, artists, companies and projects – things that have the ability to influence people across the country – are happening in regional centers like Baltimore and Philadelphia, where I’ve spent most of my career.

This understanding influences how I have reported on all of these topics (all of which have enormous economic and cultural influence on how cities work), how I have advised colleagues, and how I plan to approach writing and supervision of journalists for a publication. whose local orientation certainly influenced mine.

What excites you about the topics covered by Technical.ly? What questions do you hope to answer in your work here?

The economic, social, political and cultural impacts of technology and social entrepreneurship on our cities are so significant, yet can often be somewhat misunderstood by those who do not. [see] how these sectors work from the inside. The opportunity to engage more with these topics, especially in the city where I live, is so important to me, and probably what I look forward to most with this job.

I hope to answer the lingering questions I have about how money actually moves in these cities, and how much their worlds of technology and social entrepreneurship actually benefit communities — especially those of color, who have suffered the brunt of racist and segregationist economic and political decisions while being DC and Baltimore’s greatest innovators for hundreds of years – which they need.

What are your favorite places in Baltimore and DC?

Although I know Baltimore much better than DC at this point, my favorite places in both cities largely include restaurants and cultural institutions.

For DC, this includes the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultureconcert halls like 9:30 a.m. and breweries like half acre.

In Baltimore, some must-see places (especially for non-locals) include the Creative Alliance, Ottobar, Baltimore Museum of Art, Ministry of Brewery (in an old converted cathedral), Mount Royal Tavern, Ekiben, checkerboard shuffling, Mobtown Brewery, Camden shipyards, Chaps Pit Beef, Cindy Lou’s fish shop, motorhouse, Patterson Park, Korner keystone, Water for Chocolatethe entire Highlandtown neighborhood (especially for Mexican and Central American cuisine) and the Rawlings Conservatory. And we haven’t even touched the suburbs, which have so, so many.

And any fun facts we should know about you?

Outside of journalism, I’m a committed (if not quite prolific) musician. I used to lead a shoegaze/hard rock band in Philadelphia called Taxes and I’m slowly but surely getting back to making my own music. I currently live in Baltimore with my wife and two cats.

Finally, even though this is my first time working for Technical.ly, my life has crossed paths with the company on several occasions; I started my career in Philadelphia, as a freelancer for places like the now defunct Philadelphia City Paper (alongside Technical.ly editor Julie Zeglen) and used to attend journalism innovation events organized by Techincal.ly. It is an honor to complete my career, to work for people I admire in the service of the place where I have built my life since my departure from Philadelphia.

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