Tuesday, May 10, 2011

While democratic uprisings in Arab world. . .

...utilized Facebook, Twitter and other tools from the U.S. tech industry, are tyrants in Arab and Islamic countries using Silicon Valley's help to suppress their people?

From Steve Henn's report, "The downside to Western technology in the Middle East" (public radio's Marketplace 5/9/11)
Facebook and Twitter received lots of credit for helping to spread the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia -- but Silicon Valley contributions to the Arab Spring are actually much more complicated. Within a half hour's drive of Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters there are at least a half a dozen other tech firms whose sales in the Middle East facilitate surveillance or censorship. Driving down Highway 101 from Palo Alto you'll pass the headquarters of McAfee and Palo Alto Networks -- both sell technology that's widely used in the Middle East to censor the net. You'll pass Polaris -- which helps states track their citizens using their cell phones -- and if you turn and left and head out to Milpitas you'll reach SS8. In security circles, SS8 is kind of infamous for designing software to bug BlackBerries.

Tyler Shields is a security consultant at Veracode.

Tyler Shields: Essentially, a lot of countries in the Middle East and Asia like to monitor all data in and outbound from their borders.

MIT Annual Entrepreneurial Competition now allows...

...1-minute YouTube videos to complement written and in person pitches(H/t public radio's Marketplace)


Thursday, May 5, 2011

IC student joins 2011 Freedom Riders

This is the kind of project that public broadcasting should be doing regularly...making history come alive through a powerful documentary and present-day community involvement, including IC student Tariq Meyers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell: "Stop going to journalism programs"

Top journalist Malcolm Galdwell ("Tipping Point," "Blink," "Outliers")gave this advice to young journalists in an Oct.'09 Time interview:
The issue is not writing. It's what you write about. One of my favorite columnists is Jonathan Weil, who writes for Bloomberg. He broke the Enron story, and he broke it because he's one of the very few mainstream journalists in America who really knows how to read a balance sheet. That means Jonathan Weil will always have a job, and will always be read, and will always have something interesting to say. He's unique. Most accountants don't write articles, and most journalists don't know anything about accounting. Aspiring journalists should stop going to journalism programs and go to some other kind of grad school. If I was studying today, I would go get a master's in statistics, and maybe do a bunch of accounting courses and then write from that perspective. I think that's the way to survive. The role of the generalist is diminishing. Journalism has to get smarter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What NOT to do when pitching an idea

From Seinfeld: George proposes to Jerry a unique approach to pitching a new TV comedy series to NBC. George melts down just before pitch meeting. After the pitch meeting that George screwed up by saying he wouldn't compromise his "artistic integrity, Jerry explodes.

And don't get in this bind: In a totally different episode, George quits a job in anger and without a plan. . .then ponders his career options.

Why don't we have public TV like this in U.S.?

Weeks before the Iraq invasion, Jeremy Paxman of BBC's "Newsnight" and skeptical British citizens literally cross-examined Prime Minister Tony Blair about evidence/reasons/legality behind the invasion. This interview with Blair resurfaced last year during Britain's official Iraq inquiry. (Here's another tough Paxman interview of Blair having nothing to do with Iraq.)

In our country, intimidation from politicians + lack of insulated funding = embarrassing timidity at so-called "public television" . . . as evidenced by PBS surgically removing Tina Fey's swipes at Republican hero Sarah Palin from a broadcast a few months ago.

Country by country comparisons of spending on public broadcasting in this study (at page 31.)

Despite our system's shortcomings, PBS on occassion offers exceptional programs. (H/t Evie)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pro Publica wins 2nd Pulitzer...

...and gives credit to its collaboration with public radio's Planet Money and This American Life. (H/t TJ)