Arts & Humanities
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Co-founder of Technically Philly
Christopher Wink is a freelance journalist and co-founder of Technically Philly, a local technology news organization that covers startups, venture capital, digital divide issues and the open government movement in Philadelphia. As a political science major at Temple University, he took a staff writer position at the college’s newspaper, The Temple News, and while studying in Tokyo, he helped produce an NBC pilot video podcast about the study abroad experience. Christopher also works as the Web editor of NEast Philly, a daily news site for North East Philadelphia.
Why did you choose Temple University, and why did you decide on political science as your field of study?
I chose Temple initially because I wanted a big, diverse school in a major U.S. city. Plus, as an avid college basketball fan, I had watched the Owls even though I wasn’t from Philadelphia. I chose political science because I was always interested in politics, government, and history and wanted to study something I loved.
What did you like and what did you dislike (or think could’ve been improved) about your political science education at Temple University?
What I liked most about my core studies at Temple was its proximity. As a major research school in a major market, there were events, professors, and discussions of impact that happened a subway ride away. While some professors did a good job of this, overall, I think I wished there was even more a connection to the political system locally because there was such a rich history and so many compelling and instructive stories in our city.
Was being a field producer at NBC Universal your first paid position in journalism? How did you get the job?
I worked throughout high school and college, so perhaps it’s not the first [journalism job I held], but likely the first paid, serious paid gig in my industry of news (though I did work with the college newspaper). I had plans of studying in Tokyo and a friend forwarded me an application form online to work with NBC to produce a pilot video podcast about studying abroad. The work — blogging, film, and related work — was something I loved and more than covered my travel to boot. The show was never heavily promoted and didn’t get picked up for a second season, but the experience was memorable. In short, I applied for the work, submitted a demo reel, which included footage I had cut while studying in Ghana earlier in college.
How did you make the transition into journalism?
The Temple News, the nearly century-old college newspaper there, was my first ever experience with journalism. I had never seen it as a viable career path because I didn’t even understand how to get there. I first walked into that celebrated newsroom because my freshman dorm resident assistant — Donnell Johnson — whom I admired, recommended it as something he thought I would appreciate. He was right.
What had you learned from your bachelor’s degree, and what have you learned since that has had the most impact on your career?
My bachelor’s degree helped develop a political worldview, one that, in my case, is dominated by the belief that global news is sexy, national news is interesting, but local news may often be most important of all. I’ve become a student of Philadelphia’s politics and government, which has helped me focus on being involved in covering ways to improve the city for all of its residents, and how those lessons can be translated elsewhere.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to someone who is looking into political science?
Don’t forget that local communities need smart, passionate public servants. In fact, it may be that local politics offers the opportunity to directly affect more people than bigger stages. Also, I would add, that political science is among the most versatile of the humanities, in terms of their application to other industries and fields of work. No matter what, read your college media — I bet a lot of people are putting a lot of effort into it.