Pigeon.ly has joined Y-Combinator's 2015 Winter class. While in prison, founder Frederick Hutson was amazed by the cost and difficulty of communicating with those outside. When he was released in 2011, he founded Pigeon.ly (originally Picturegram) to help people send pictures (and, later, make phone calls) to inmates. Additional coverage: The New York Times (2013), Forbes (2014), Planet Money.
The Final Rhapsody of Charles Bowden by Scott Carrier [Mother Jones] [warning, descriptions of graphic violence] [more inside]
2 Deadly Shootings Within Hours in Copenhagen; 5 Wounded [New York Times]
A shooting at a free speech event featuring an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad and a second shooting hours later outside a synagogue left two dead and five police officers wounded in Copenhagen, stirring fears that another terror spree was underway in a European capital a month after 17 people were killed in Paris attacks.[more inside]
David Carr, journalist and media columnist for the New York Times passed away suddenly earlier tonight. [more inside]
A major search is underway to find AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 after it lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control while enroute from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore yesterday without a distress signal. Its parent company, the Malaysia-owned budget airline AirAsia (no connection to Malaysia Airlines) has had a clean safety record; AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes considers this his "worst nightmare". There were initial reports of a plane crashing in East Belitung Island, which are yet to be verified, but the multi-national search is still under way after a break due to darkness and bad weather. Indeed, powerful storms were in QZ8501's flight path, prompting the pilot to request an "unusual" route. There were 162 people on board, primarily Indonesians (including one of the pilots), as well as three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one French, and one British citizen. There is currently some strong media attention on a family that missed the flight by minutes, who were told by airport officials while negotiating a replacement flight that "This must have been the best Christmas gift your family ever received". [more inside]
How David Gregory Lost His Job (SL longform)
Seasoned news photographer John Harte is telling stories, naming names, and even sharing unpublished pictures from his 28-year stint at The Bakersfield Californian at a new blog, You can't have my job, but I'll tell you a story: My three decades of photojournalism in one hell of a news town. Be warned that some of these photos may be disturbing. (They include images of dead children — notably the famous, award-winning, and highly controversial Hart Park drowning photo, which generated 500 calls of protest and a bomb threat against the newspaper.) Less-upsetting highlights include the stories in these individual entries: Meet the sheriff! My first arrest, We can't upset our readers!, and The greatest sports photo in history.
Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:[more inside]Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
Alaskan television reporter quits on-air in spectacular fashion Charlo Greene (apparently her real name) quit her job on-air, after outing herself as the owner of the marijuana exchange on which she was reporting.
"What You Don't Know About Migrant Children May Kill Them." You may be aware of the overwhelming numbers of underage migrants from Central America now in the U.S. immigration system. You may not know so much about why they've arrived, why they've left, nor how they actually got here. [more inside]
The Decline of Harper Lee: [Vulture] The iconic 88-year-old author is involved in [another] messy tussle over a new biography. Does this mean she'll never tell her own story? [more inside]
Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it. [more inside]
This blog will keep you up half the night when you should be trying to sleep for an early morning meeting. The post The Secret History Behind Today’s Algeria-Germany #WorldCup Match being timely and tweeted is what brought it to my attention. But what to share? There is so much good stuff, that the rabbit hole beckons...
NYT Minus Context (SLTwitter) -- Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The Racism Beat - Cord Jefferson writes about the repetitive mental strain of being a writer on racism.
A supercomputer has fooled judges a third of the time that it is a 13 year old Russian schoolboy named Eugene Goostman.
Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
Australia's 2014-2015 budget was just released. Amongst the casualties: television, young people (and the organisations that help them) and old people, tech startups, postgraduate students, people with disabilities and anyone seeking medical care, foreign aid, Indigenous people, the arts, renewable energy, and the environment. However, if you are in defence, mining, or Indonesian immigration, you should be fine.
Hello, [insert tv market name]!! A collection of the ‘Hello News’ package produced by Gari Communications, sold to various TV networks, nationwide (and Australia.) Hello Bonus 1: Florence Warner sings “Hello Nashville” live, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Hello Bonus 2: The Osmonds record a “Hello Utah” promo.
Blues, April Fools, white noise, Robocop, Noah's ark, the Pope, even pizza isn't sacred on South Africa's first satirical puppet news show, Puppet Nation. Brought to you by the ZA News Network. MYLP.
The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, is viewable on its official YouTube Channel. [more inside]
The Federal Communications Commission has announced that they would propose new rules allowing content providers to pay ISPs for priority "fast lanes," reversing their earlier position and effectively rejecting the principle of net neutrality held since the earliest days of the internet. The full set of proposed rules will be announced on May 15. [more inside]
Ezra Klein's Vox.com launched yesterday, featuring such articles as What happens to low-income students on the way to college? and Amtrak’s insane train boarding rules, explained [more inside]
Newspaper company Digital First Media is expected to announce today that it is shuttering Project Thunderdome, its three-year old experiment in news content creation and sharing. [more inside]
Alex Leavitt at Medium.com looks at reddit's breaking news threads from the Aurora shooting to the Boston bombings. Leavitt will present "Upvoting Hurricane Sandy: Event-Based News Production Processes on a Social News Site"at the SIGCHI (society for professionals, academics and students who are interested in human-technology & human-computer interaction) conference next month.
The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists [New York Times]
How a new breed of activists is using science to show — once and for all — that someone can be truly attracted to both a man and a woman.
"The first journalist to attempt reporting on the Wikileaks cables was David Leigh of The Guardian. The material arrived as a single 1.7GB CSV file containing 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables from 1966 to 2010. If you’ve ever tried to open a 1.7GB file, you know you probably can’t. Microsoft Word and Excel will plain refuse. Windows Notepad and Mac TextEdit will try, but slow to a crawl." At Opennews Source, Jonathan Stray has written a helpful beginners' guide to dealing with large amounts of documents for journalists and interested lay people.
Malaysia Airlines MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is missing.
Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on 8 March 2014. MH370 was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.Rumors that the plane has landed in Nanning, China are debunked. Chinese media had originally reported Vietnamese officials saying they've picked up a signal, but this has also been refuted. There has been no contact nor distress signals, and the case is especially puzzling as the plane lost contact at the safest moment of the flight. [more inside]
"On Monday, veteran Washington Post editor and New Yorker contributor Marc Fisher published a deeply reported, scrupulous Columbia Journalism Review cover story on how the Internet’s metabolism and economy [including instant-headline video start-up NowThisNews], which places a premium on being first to a story and on attracting clicks, has led to compromises when it comes to the whole accuracy thing. As if on cue, a fun news story has been making the rounds in the past few days: A survey found that 11 percent of Americans believe that "HTML" is a sexually transmitted disease. Other findings included that 20 percent believe a "motherboard" is a cruise-ship deck and 15 percent believe "software" is a type of clothing. The survey itself... may not exist." -- TNR on the Circular Fact Checking ecosystem of online news reporting.
Newspapers: still the most important medium for understanding the world
Adam Curtis: “We don't read newspapers because the journalism is so boring” [more inside]
Adam Curtis: “We don't read newspapers because the journalism is so boring” [more inside]
When audio failed on the WGN Morning News today, the intrepid anchors persevered with pen and paper. [more inside]
A few years back, Fox News head Roger Ailes moved to Garrison, NY, built a house, bought the local newspaper, and got involved in local politics. New York Magazine has the story of Ailes' efforts to remake the small town in his own image, and the rage, paranoia, and narcissism those who've interacted with him have come to expect.
Juice Media, with a little help from Sage Francis, drop the first episode of a new season of Rap News!
MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
"Information is increasingly being distributed and presented in real-time streams instead of dedicated Web pages. The shift is palpable, even if it is only in its early stages," Erick Schonfeld wrote. "Web companies large and small are embracing this stream. It is not just Twitter. It is Facebook and Friendfeed and AOL and Digg and Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop and Techmeme and Tweetmeme and Ustream and Qik and Kyte and blogs and Google Reader. The stream is winding its way throughout the Web and organizing it by nowness."[more inside]
Conan O'Brien once again catches local news media recycling the same joke, over and over, this time for christmas. [more inside]
Ron Burgundy did the News last week in Bismark North Dakota. Some thought it made a mockery of the news, but the station is pretty happy with how it turned out. This week, Ron dropped in on Emerson College to give some advice to the journalism grads, starting with "Of course you have to report the facts. Unless it’s too hard to find the facts — then, just make something up."
Nelson Mandela has died peacefully at home at age 95. The Globe and Mail has a good roundup of information and resources about his life. The PBS Newshour already has a show online about his life and moments after the news broke even The Onion chimed in. Rest in peace, Madiba.
Ask a North Korean, a periodic special feature from nknews.org (about) in which North Korean expatriates discuss their experiences living in the most oppressive nation on Earth. [more inside]
... and other quality headlines by Headline Smasher.
In a storage unit somewhere in Philadelphia, 140,000 VHS tapes sit packed into four shipping containers. They contain 35 years of TV news recorded single-handily by Marion Stokes. She thought it would be a good idea to record every "network, local, and cable news, in her home, one tape at a time," beginning in 1977, "until the day she died in 2012 at the age of 83."
The News IQ Quiz by the Pew Research Center. Test your knowledge of prominent people and major events in the news by taking our short 13-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with 1,052 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions in a national survey conducted online August 7-14 by the Pew Research Center. [more inside]
What I think we forget–or worse, never even realized—is the extreme privilege often inherent in “digital literacy.” Yes, much of the Internet is free. But it takes time and energy to develop the skills and habits necessary to successfully derive value from today’s media. Knowing how to tell a troll from a serious thinker, spotting linkbait, understanding a meme, cross checking articles against each other, even posting a comment to disagree with something–these are skills. They might not feel like it, but they are. And they’re easier to acquire the higher your tax bracket. - The New Digital Divide: Privilege, Misinformation and Outright B.S. in Modern Media