Economics of Thanksgiving Dinner, Going Viral Pre-Internet, and More

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Friday, November 22, 2013

The media's annual reporting on rising Thanksgiving dinner costs, the NSA's chilling effects on journalists, and how things went viral before the internet.

Reporting on the Price of Thanksgiving Dinner

We all have our annual Thanksgiving traditions, and for the news media it seems to be the annual reporting of the rising cost of the holiday meal. Brooke speaks with Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum about how these annual reports come about, and how they are misleading to consumers.

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Negotiating Access and Accuracy in China

Recent resignations at Bloomberg News and leaks about the company's reporting in China have raised questions about what concessions news organizations choose — or are forced to make — to sustain expensive foreign reporting. The New York Times Edward Wong talks to Bob about why financial reporting has become the biggest threat in the eyes of China's ruling party, and why Western media might have less reason to be worried than they think.

Bonobo - Sapphire

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A Flood of FOIAs

In the wake of the information about the NSA leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden, the NSA has seen the volume of FOIA requests for the agency go through the roof. Brooke talks with Pamela Phillips, the chief of the NSA Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Office about how the agency is dealing with the sudden influx of requests, and what kinds of requests are rejected outright.

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Chilling Effects

PEN American Center, a writers’ organization, released a report last week titled “Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives US Writers to Self-Censor.” The report found that, of the writers surveyed, a sizable percentage were censoring their work, or altering their writing process, due to fear of NSA surveillance. Bob talks to LA Times Book Critic David Ulin to find out what freedom of expression really means if our thinkers are constantly looking over their shoulders.

Bach - Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major

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The Digital Bible

The best selling book of all time is going digital. As a successful mini-series and downloadable app, the Bible seems to be as popular as ever. Brooke speaks with writer Thomas Larson about the importance of the spoken Word and the effect of new media on its "holiness".

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Going Viral, Antebellum Style

The Infectious Texts project at Northeastern University is making thousands of pre-Civil War newspapers searchable. Bob talks with Ryan Cordell, a leader on the project, about the mechanism behind text virality in the 1800’s and some of what’s been discovered so far.

Black Keys - Psychotic Girl

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JFK and TV

In television's younger days, going live was extremely difficult, costly and rare. But 50 years ago, a monumental tragedy made live coverage essential, no matter the cost, whenever a president left the White House. WNYC’s Sara Fishko recollects those dreadful days in November when everyone was paralyzed in front of the small screen.  

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The Journalist and the Murderer

On the same day of John F. Kennedy’s burial, a small gathering committed the remains of Lee Harvey Oswald to the ground. Apart from the immediate family, no mourners attended, leaving the task of carrying the coffin to a few assembled strangers: the reporters covering the story. Bob talks to retired Associated Press reporter Mike Cochran who was one of Oswald’s pallbearers.

Lúnasa - Black River

TLDR - What Does TLDR Mean?

Hello! We are taking a week off the podcast to work on some special things that you will like a lot. This episode is a Best Of*, in case you have a friend who hasn't gotten a chance to check us out who you might like to share TLDR with. It also includes an answer to one of our show's enduring mysteries - just what the hell TLDR stands for.

Thanks for listening, and if you like the show, subscribe to it on iTunes. If you want other people to hear it, please rate and review it! If you want to check out our previous episodes on our website, you can listen here. If you like our theme song, you can hear more by Breakmaster Cylinder here.

*Yes, we know that it takes some pretty unmitigated gall to run a clip show two months after launching a podcast.

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