Thursday, April 26, 2012
Earlier this month, the California 9th Circuit court of appeals decided a case called Minority Television Project v. FCC. The case concerned San Francisco station KTMP, a public television station that had been fined for carrying paid corporate advertisements. The 9th circuit upheld the ruling, and in the process, struck down a more than half-century old ban on political and issue advertisements airing on public airwaves.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
In February, we aired a piece by Rick Karr about a boycott of the academic publisher Elsevier, for practices that academics and academic librarians said were prohibitively expensive. Of particular concern is a practice called "bundling," which requires libraries to subscribe to numerous periodicals they had no interest in so they might get a few that they wanted. A new memorandum by Harvard Library's Faculty Advisory Council makes their concerns about academic periodicals explicit, by saying the existing pricing model is untenable:
Friday, April 13, 2012
This week on the show, we're talking with Carl Malamud, open government advocate and director of public.resource.org. Malamud's interested in what are called "incorporation by reference." The phrase describes laws that have references to safety standards embedded in them. For instance, a law that says your car has to have turning signals will also include standards about how bright or how large the turn signals have to be. Malamud's gripe is that frequently, those standards are written by private companies, and those companies hold the copyright to the standards. That means that even though the standards are part of a law everyone has to follow, citizens have to pay -- sometimes several hundreds of dollars -- for the privilege of looking at them.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Yesterday, OTM producer Chris Neary read this Wired.com article about a bill called The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a law that leaker Bradley Manning is charged with having violated numerous times. Since Chris had some questions about the story and I'm kind of a nerd about hacking stuff, we thought it might be useful to have our conversation about the CFAA on the blog. Please feel free to contribute in the comments below.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Today at 4:00 PM EST, Brooke will host a one hour live chat about the recent This American Life retraction of their episode "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory." Brooke appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show this morning with Marketplace's Rob Schmitz to talk about the line between journalist, creative nonfiction and theater (audio is embedded below).
Friday, March 16, 2012
There are lies and there are lies and there are lies.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Big Lie.
"OMG, your [homely] baby is beautiful!": small social lie.
And then, there is the highly debatable third category: lies in service of the greater truth.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
As part of an investigation into the efficacy of Freedom of Information Act requests, Darrell Issa, a California Republican and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform FOIA'd 180 government agencies for information on who is making FOIA requests, what kinds of documents they were looking for, and what kind of responses the agencies gave. Sort of a FOIA request about FOIA requests. Pretty meta, right? Well, it's about to get ... uh ... meta-er. According to a post at the New York Times Caucus Blog, a non-profit organization called Government Attic essentially FOIA'd Issa's FOIA about FOIA:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
In the past, OTM has looked at the myriad ways that local TV news bend and finesse the ethical standards that most journalism outlets try to uphold. We’ve looked at health reporting, how local news cover local politicians (or don't) and video news releases – advertising in news clothing. Still, nothing quite prepared us for this.
Monday, March 12, 2012
It began with a single tweet. Last Friday, at 11:33 A.M. the AARP tweeted "We Miss You, Biggie." Yes, the American Association of Retired Persons tweeted a succinct, moving elegy to a giant of the rap world. Biggie Smalls, aka the Notorious B.I.G., aka Big Poppa, aka Christopher Wallace. Wallace had a brief but phenomenal career writing songs about his rise from poverty to wealth (lyric: I made the change from a common thief / to Up Close and Personal with Robin Leach) and his violent past (lyric: I never thought it could happen, this rappin' stuff / I was too used to packin' gats and stuff). You know, stuff every AARP member can relate to. [Editors note: 'gats' means guns].
Friday, March 09, 2012
OTM producer PJ Vogt and I have been very public about our love of a video game called Team Fortress 2 (or as we nerds call it, "TF2"). So much so that in April of last year, after much goading and pleading by the two of us, Bob spoke to Robin Walker, a developer for Valve Software, the company behind TF2. Specifically, we wanted to talk to him about the frequent statements that Valve has made to the press about how in order to beat video game piracy, content providers just have to make their product more enticing than the pirates could.
ROBIN WALKER: I think it’s looking at the things that pirates are providing and asking yourselves how you can provide something better than that. So, to pick an example, if you purchased a product from us, we're going to continue working on that product after we've released it. We're sort of making that initial purchase of the product significantly more valuable over time. And so, if you somehow manage to get it for free initially but not in a way that lets you plug into that system, you know, that’s going to be a big hassle for you as you continue to try and figure out how to get each of those incremental improvements over the next few years for free, as well.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
On last week's show and earlier this week on the blog, On the Media producer Sarah Abdurrahman talked about her "Go FOIA Yourself" project, which has her attempting to see how much information the federal government might be keeping on her. An eagle-eyed commenter on Sarah's last post pointed us toward an article by Erin Siegal in the Columbia Journalism Review which outlines the process of suing governmental agencies for refusing to release information requested through FOIA. More importantly, the article sheds light on just how costly the legal process can be.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
It's pledge week at On the Media's parent station WNYC. Hosting this website and our podcast costs our producing station a sizeable chunk of change each year. If you’d like to contribute to WNYC to help keep us online and available to you whenever you want to listen, now is the time to do it. For a one time pledge of $60 you can get our popular ON [CAFFEINE] coffee mug which host Brooke Gladstone can be seen modeling below – follow this link to get the mug or to pledge at any level to WNYC (you can also see the other great thank you gifts on offer).
Normally for our pledge shows, Bob and Brooke spend the hour recalling some of our favorite segments, and talking about how great we are. But instead of tooting our own horns this time around, OTM decided to go to some of our favorite public radio personalities and ask them to tell our listening audience just how amazing, wonderful, and worthy of support we are. All week we've been posting segments featuring Brooke and Bob talking to folks like Terry Gross, Peter Sagal, and Deb Amos. In our final pledge show segment, Brooke talks to Radiolab's Robert Krulwich!
Don't forget to support us at https://pledge3.wnyc.org/epledge/desktop/otm/ or text OTM to 25383 to make a $10 donation via your phone bill. We're counting on your support!