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Covering the Nigerian Schoolgirl Kidnapping

Friday, May 16, 2014

Boko Haram's kidnapping of more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls has received global attention thanks to a viral hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls, but violence by Boko Haram is nothing new in Nigeria. Bob talks with Nigerian journalist Alexis Okeowo, who has been covering the story for years, about the international media's sudden interest.

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On The Media

Firing Jill Abramson

Friday, May 16, 2014

In a sudden move this week, The New York Times announced the firing of its executive editor Jill Abramson. Bob speaks with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta about why Abramson was fired.

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On The Media

Managing the Press After Tragedy

Friday, May 16, 2014

Last month, a white supremacist shot and killed 3 people at a Jewish community center and a Jewish assisted living center in Kansas. One of the victims was 69-year-old William Lewis Corporon, whose son Will is a former journalist. Bob speaks with Will about being in a unique position to handle the media onslaught that followed the tragedy.

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On The Media

What Your Web Browsing Habits Say About How You Will Vote

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Listen to podcasts? You're more likely to be liberal and to vote. Play fantasy football? You may or may not vote, but chances are very high that you're Republican. These are just a few of the broad conclusions that were gleaned from volumes of consumer data about browsing habits, political leanings and voter turnouts.

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On The Media

Deaths by Swimming Pool Drowning vs. Nicholas Cage Films and Other Spurious Correlations

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It is by now an age old adage that "correlation doesn't equal causation," but the internet just loves stories that make spurious correlations. Just yesterday there was an article floating around from Time magazine about a study that showed bullies have a lower risk of chronic diseases, with the headline "Bullying Is Good For Your Health." Wouldn't it be nice if there was a website that put lie to this idea of correlation/causation by taking it to ridiculous extremes? Enter Spurious Correlations.

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On The Media

Search Results Can Influence Elections

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Google search results haven't been a neutral, accurate reflection of the web for a long time. Whether it's SEO or Google's own algorithm tweaks to favor in-house services, or even Google bombing like "Santorum," Google's search results have a profound power to influence, and as such there exists a powerful incentive to manipulate those results. If those examples weren't enough for you, consider a recent study that shows search results can influence elections

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On The Media

EA is Shutting Down The Virtual Worlds of Dozens of its Old Games

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Game studio Electronic Arts has announced that it is going to take the virtual worlds of over 50 games offline at the end of the month after its hosting service, GameSpy, announced it was shutting down. It's as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

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On The Media

Now You Can Ignore People on Twitter the Same Way You Do On Facebook

Monday, May 12, 2014

They've finally decided to add a feature that has been present on apps such as Tweetdeck for a while - an option to "mute" people you follow.

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On The Media

Watchdogs in Tuxedos

Friday, May 09, 2014

Bob ends his DC journey on the red carpet of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where journalists rub elbows with the very people they cover. Oh, and a bunch of celebrities show up too.

Song: Washington D.C. by The Magnetic Fields

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On The Media

The Powers That Used To Be

Friday, May 09, 2014

Used to be that traditional media outlets like The Washington Post set the news agenda in the nation's capital. But the new media landscape is shifting the power to influence to some unlikely players. Bob visits The Washington Post, Politico and Buzzfeed to see how each of them is trying to dominate the DC conversation.

Song: Officer Officer by Anika

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On The Media

OTM Goes Inside Washington

Friday, May 09, 2014

OTM has traveled the world exploring the nexus of media and society, reaching such far off places as Russia, China, and Egypt. But the center of American politics and power had been overlooked—until now. This week Bob travels to Washington, DC to investigate perception and reality, money and celebrity and the evolving role of the media in the nation’s capital.

On The Media

The wikiHow Guide to Stopping a Wedding

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

wikiHow (lowercase 'w' is deliberate) wants to be the Wikipedia of how-to guides. And, as of a couple years ago, it had over 150,000 articles and north of 35 million visitors a month. But just like Wikipedia or any other wiki-based community, there will always be a problem of quality control. Take, for example, today's amazing deep internet find, the wikiHow article on how to stop a wedding.

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On The Media

Professors Are More Likely to Mentor You If You're a White Man

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

According to a recent study, professors are much more likely to be willing to meet with students who are white and male than they are with minority and female students.

The Wharton School recently tried an experiment where it sent the exact same email to 6,500 professors at 259 schools across the United States, posing as a student requesting a meeting. The only difference was that some of them were from a student named "Brad Roberts," while others had names like "Meredith Roberts, Lamar Washington, LaToya Brown, Juanita Martinez, Deepak Patel, Sonali Desai, Chang Wong," and "Mei Chen." 

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On The Media

The NSA's Best PR Move in Months

Monday, May 05, 2014

The NSA could really use some good PR right now. It has had a rough year, deservedly so. With information about the agency's hoovering of personal information continuing to leak as well as the FISA court's alleged rubber stamping of government requests for surveillance, the revelations by contractor Edward Snowden have cast the NSA in a very negative light. It hasn't helped that the agency's response to the leaks by both the agency and The President was slow, and for the most part unsatisfying. Surprisingly, the first thing I've seen the NSA do correctly in months has arrived in the form of total gibberish.

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On The Media

You Can Buy Amazon Stuff on Twitter Now. How is this a good thing?

Monday, May 05, 2014

Marketers are still only lukewarm on the platform, but Amazon thinks its found the key by turning your tweets into one part advertisement, one part buy-it-now button.

 

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On The Media

4chan Security Breach: Hacker Hacks Hackers

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Yesterday, Christopher Poole, better known as ‘moot’ and the founder of 4chan, confirmed that the popular imageboard had been hacked last week. In his blog post, moot explained that the hacker had gained access to “administrative functions and information from one of our databases.” This information included the credentials of three 4chan Pass users, a twenty dollar a year subscription that allows users to bypass captchas when posting or reporting posts. Fortunately, 4chan does not store any of their user’s payment information, which is handled by Stripe.

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On The Media

The Anti-SOPA Dream Team is Considering A Reunion Against the FCC's Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Just over two years ago, the Internet (that's big 'I' Internet) launched a coordinated campaign against Congressman Lamar Smith's Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill, it was feared, would kill the open, free Internet as we know it and stifle innovative new technologies and businesses by forcing ISPs to block domains that hosted potentially copyright infringing material. On January 18th, 2012, Wikipedia, Google, Mozilla, Craigslist, and thousands more, blacked out their homepages in protest of SOPA, a move that eventually spurred lawmakers to abandon the change. According to the Wall St. Journal, these heavyweights are considering a reunion tour.

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On The Media

How Can You Parody Buzzfeed?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yesterday, the Onion told the New York Business Journal that it would be producing a parody of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy called "Clickhole." Sure, those sites are ripe for a takedown, but how do you parody sites that are already basically self-parody? Here are 20 ways that will astound you.

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On The Media

Art Gallery Does the Impossible, Makes Gifs Boring

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

According to Wired, London's Saatchi gallery has created a gif competition that awards prizes in what it now calls "motion photography." Wired sees this as legitimizing gifs as an artform, but in the process of legitimizing, it completely misunderstands the point of gifs.

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On The Media

TLDR #23 - A Bitcoin Story for People Who Don't Care About Bitcoin

Sunday, April 27, 2014

When Wired reporter Andy Greenberg read Newsweek's cover story claiming to have found mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, he was disappointed. Not so much that the mystery had been solved, but that the answer to the search was not all that interesting. But then, as the Newsweek started getting picked apart, he got a tip about another possible Bitcoin creator: a very ill, very brilliant cryptographer named Hal Finney. 

Andy Greenberg is the author of This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information.

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