U.N. Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti [The New York Times] “For the first time since a cholera epidemic believed to be imported by United Nations peacekeepers began killing thousands of Haitians nearly six years ago, the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged that the United Nations played a role in the initial outbreak and that a “significant new set of U.N. actions” will be needed to respond to the crisis.” [Previously.] [Previously.] [more inside]
Hundreds Feared Dead After Boat Filled With Migrants Capsizes in Mediterranean [New York Times]
"For the past several years, Europe has been confronted with hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving illegally from Africa and the Middle East, many of them fleeing war and poverty. Italy has been in the vanguard of rescue efforts, with its Navy and Coast Guard ships rescuing more than 130,000 people last year in a widely praised program known as Mare Nostrum."[more inside]
Once-Prized Tibetan Mastiffs Are Discarded as Fad Ends in China [New York Times]
“Then there is the Tibetan mastiff, a lumbering shepherding dog native to the Himalayan highlands that was once the must-have accouterment for status-conscious Chinese. Four years ago, a reddish-brown purebred named Big Splash sold for $1.6 million, according to news reports, though cynics said the price was probably exaggerated for marketing purposes. No reasonable buyer, self-anointed experts said at the time, would pay more than $250,000 for a premium specimen.”
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 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.
An archival photo from The New York Times shows news pictures being sorted in the newspaper’s photo “morgue,” which houses millions of images. Here they are — several each week — for you to see. Welcome to The Lively Morgue. [more inside]
Can the New York Times and Washington Post survive on a pay-wall business model if they do it together?
In a new essay entitled Build the Wall, David Simon (who was a Baltimore Sun reporter before he produced The Wire) argues that if the larger newspaper industry is to survive, The New York Times and Washington Post must start charging readers for access to their websites (preferably done as a single action in concert with each other) — John Gruber, Dave Winer, and the folks at Gawker disagree, and Steven Berlin Johnson argues that while the future for newspapers might be quite bleak, the future for journalism and high quality analysis is actually quite bright. Meanwhile, the Times is currently doing market research to see if it's readers would be willing to pay $5 a month for online access, and the Associated Press announced it's intent to build a new news DRM system that will enable users to “consume, mash up and share AP content based on rights”.
Ever Wonder How Newspapers Decide Which Photos to Print? NYT Online's Talk to the Newsroom has a question and answer session with the Assistant Managing Editor for Photography, Michele McNally. She addresses a few of the more common questions many people have about how editorial decisions are made in regards to which photographs get published, and which don't among other topics.
Meet the new New York Times. After five years, the most popular newspaper on the web has gotten a facelift. Joining a recent web design trend towards optimizing for wider screens, they've gone for no fewer than six columns on the front page. And while I wouldn't look for a wiki any time soon, they seem to be giving a nod to the web 2.0 crowd with javascipty scrollable image bars and prominent links to recent video (hello, YouTube) and current rankings of their most popular, most emailed and most blogged articles (hello, Technorati). The new Times Topics aggregate articles (and multimedia) from across the site, along with background info (hello, Wikipedia). All the more impressive, considering the head of their design team (who also redid The Onion!) was hired just three months ago. Of course, Mickey Kaus will still see this as proof that Sulzburger should be fired.
After the lunch hour, we'll help you relax a bit. Mood lit, time of day sensitive programming comes to your favorite local newspaper web portal. Will something like this fly? Has it been done before? Is this being done elsewhere now?
Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception The New York Times runs a long article detailing its preliminary findings in the matter of Jayson Blair, The Times' young staff reporter who made up sources, facts, and anecdotes in potentially hundreds of stories. Does this investigation help the Times avoid permanent disgrace? Or does this just confirm what you've always thought about the Times? Slate magazine is attributing part of the problem to affirmative action (Blair is black). Is AA relevant here?
Is the New York Times rewriting history? This link claims (and an archives search backs up) that the Paper of Record deleted a bin Laden-related story published two days before 9/11, and now redirects searchers to a story written on 9/12. The story isn't damning, but it does point out how much we knew about him before the event. Is it bad journalism? Bad politics? Extra points awarded for Orwell quotes.
From the poorly chosen headlines department. I guess the Seattle Mariners need a better "reliever." (NYT link, you know the drill...)
Is the NY Times ranking its stories by "popularity" as they say, or as this writer suggests, what's "interesting"?