In covering acts of terror, like the gruesome Woolwich killing last week in London, how should the press report the story without giving those responsible the overwhelming amount of attention they seek? Bob considers the British media's coverage of the Woolwich attack and the decision by most British outlets to air the video of one suspect's diatribe.
There's a small group of men and women - "Deciders" - at big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter who make decisions everyday about what offensive speech is pulled from their sites. The huge scale of those sites gives those Deciders enormous influence over the state of free speech on the web. Bob speaks with George Washington University Law professor Jeffrey Rosen, who wrote about the Deciders and their many decisions in The New Republic.
Journalist Paul Lukas runs a website called Uni Watch, which has a fairly active cadre of commenters, including at least one relentless troll. To his surprise, when Lukas asked the troll for an interview, the troll agreed. Bob talks to Lukas about his six year relationship with his website's most persistent, most creative troll.
Creating an interesting comment space can take a lot of time and energy. In an interview from December, 2011, Bob speaks to The Atlantic senior editor and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates about his approach to internet comments and his own heavily moderated comment section.
What if your email service could tell you, before you even press send, just how aggressive or angry your email is? In an interview from September of last year, Bob talks to Josh Merchant, CTO and co-founder of Lymbix, a Canadian software company whose program ToneCheck promises emotional spell-check for overheated emailers.
The name George Plimpton is synonymous with a kind of all-in participatory journalism. Plimpton played quarterback for the Detroit Lions and triangle for the New York Philharmonic, and was badly beaten in the ring by boxer Archie Moore. Bob talks to Luke Poling, one of the creators of the new documentary Plimpton!, about who George Plimpton was and how he got that way.
How do you get to Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe, the launch pad of dozens of country music's biggest stars? If you're Bob Garfield - and you're trying to make it big in country music in less than 36 hours - "practice, practice, practice" is not an option. Luckily, Bob has chutzpah, and a brilliant song, just waiting for a record exec to bite. In this piece from 1996, Bob goes on a journey to pen the next country music hit.