posts about or somewhat related to ‘Huffington Post’

Where there is good journalism, there will be scoops
As of 12:45 pm today, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux published a new in-depth piece at The Intercept called "Watch Commander: Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers" examining the government’s Terrorist Screening Database, as discovered in classified documents the news outlet obtained. The article breaks down the system piece by piece, with startling observations from classified documents.

The second-highest concentration of people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the government is in Dearborn, Mich.—a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country.

Even if you don’t live in Dearborn, you should be concerned. 

…officials don’t need “concrete facts” or “irrefutable evidence” to secretly place someone on the list—only a vague and elastic standard of “reasonable suspicion.

According to information from the documents, during the Obama administration, there are more people in the TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment) than ever before (an even bigger system with an even lower bar for making the list), there are 47,000 people on the government’s “No Fly” list, as well as a disproportionate about of suspects on the watchlist based on their assumed terrorist group affiliation (see above pie chart). Which is skewed, because the estimated size of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, for example, is significantly smaller than the amount of people on the AQI watchlist:


If this information doesn’t make you want to put on a tinfoil hat and anti-surveillance coat and go off the grid for a while, on top of all of that, the story itself was scooped by a government agency and handed to the AP. The AP story in question, written by Eileen Sullivan, came out just minutes before the Intercept piece. 
From HuffPo:

The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.

As Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, told The Intercept, 

We’re getting into Minority Report territory when being friends with the wrong person can mean the government puts you in a database and adds DMV photos, iris scans, and face recognition technology to track you secretly and without your knowledge.

TLDNR; We’re probably all on a secret watchlist. And as soon as we find out we are, the government will know we know. 
-Mariana
Images: Chart via The Intercept ”Who’s on the watchlist?” that breaks down the list by affiliated terrorist group, and screenshot from Ryan Devereaux’s Twitter.

Where there is good journalism, there will be scoops

As of 12:45 pm today, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux published a new in-depth piece at The Intercept called "Watch Commander: Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers" examining the government’s Terrorist Screening Database, as discovered in classified documents the news outlet obtained. The article breaks down the system piece by piece, with startling observations from classified documents.

The second-highest concentration of people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the government is in Dearborn, Mich.—a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country.

Even if you don’t live in Dearborn, you should be concerned. 

…officials don’t need “concrete facts” or “irrefutable evidence” to secretly place someone on the list—only a vague and elastic standard of “reasonable suspicion.

According to information from the documents, during the Obama administration, there are more people in the TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment) than ever before (an even bigger system with an even lower bar for making the list), there are 47,000 people on the government’s “No Fly” list, as well as a disproportionate about of suspects on the watchlist based on their assumed terrorist group affiliation (see above pie chart). Which is skewed, because the estimated size of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, for example, is significantly smaller than the amount of people on the AQI watchlist:

image

If this information doesn’t make you want to put on a tinfoil hat and anti-surveillance coat and go off the grid for a while, on top of all of that, the story itself was scooped by a government agency and handed to the AP. The AP story in question, written by Eileen Sullivan, came out just minutes before the Intercept piece. 

From HuffPo:

The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.

As Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, told The Intercept, 

We’re getting into Minority Report territory when being friends with the wrong person can mean the government puts you in a database and adds DMV photos, iris scans, and face recognition technology to track you secretly and without your knowledge.

TLDNR; We’re probably all on a secret watchlist. And as soon as we find out we are, the government will know we know

-Mariana

Images: Chart via The Intercept ”Who’s on the watchlist?” that breaks down the list by affiliated terrorist group, and screenshot from Ryan Devereaux’s Twitter.

The Internet’s Effects on The Porn Industry
The popularity of porn is at an all-time high thanks to the Internet. Slate cites an estimate that says there are almost 25 million adult sites worldwide which make up 12 percent of all websites total. Daily Infographic reports that 28, 258 people are looking at Internet porn every second and 40 million Americans are regular adult website visitors. 
Aside from being a great distribution tool, the Internet also brings greater recognition to individual adult performers. Porn star couple James Deen and Stoya are what The Village Voice calls “The Jay-Z and Beyonce” of porn — and the two of them owe a lot of their fame to online activity. Net-followers refer to themselves as “Deenagers" and "Stoyanauts,” and they dedicate their time to tracking the couple’s every social media move (see Stoya’s Tumblr and James Deen’s Twitter.) Even established porn stars like Nina Hartley and Alexis Texas amp up their fame with their own websites dedicated exclusively to their individual work.
But even though porn popularity is at an all time high, profits are dippin’ low. 72-year-old porn actor, Dave Cummings, told The Huffington Post that piracy has “killed the industry.” Theo Sapoutzis, CEO and Chairman of Adult Video News (AVN), estimates that porn made $13 to $15 billion during its peak in the early 2000s, but now DVD sales have dropped by 50 percent since 2007 due to illegal uploads. (Note:”Estimates” is the keyword here. Because so many porn businesses are privately owned, it’s impossible to determine the exact gross income of the industry.)
FJP: Despite the blows to profits, the porn industry hasn’t totally deflated yet. Sherri Shaulis, an editor at AVN, says that video companies are now creating their own sex toys and lingerie to make up for losing money on DVD sales. Also, The Institute of Network Cultures notes that even though free porn sites make up 70-80 percent of adult content online, they usually function as “bait” to lure people to pay-to-watch, premium websites with better quality content.
So, people who want that classy, story-driven, Hollywood-lit coitus have to pay their dues. And hey, that’s fair. (And all is always fair… in love, and German Whore Fare.) - Krissy
Sort of Related: Speaking of premium pornographic material, artist, Jonathan Harris, created I Love Your Work, a clickable, interactive documentary on nine women who work in lesbian porn (here’s the trailer). The project is limited to 10 viewers per day and it costs $10 for 24 hours of access to six hours of material. In the FAQ section of the project’s website, Harris says he only allows 10 viewers per day because it’s “an experiment in delayed gratification.” He says that “Internet porn is abundant, and most websites attempt to accumulate as many viewers as possible. It seemed interesting to do the opposite.” Check it out. 
Image: 2Space.net

The Internet’s Effects on The Porn Industry

The popularity of porn is at an all-time high thanks to the Internet. Slate cites an estimate that says there are almost 25 million adult sites worldwide which make up 12 percent of all websites total. Daily Infographic reports that 28, 258 people are looking at Internet porn every second and 40 million Americans are regular adult website visitors. 

Aside from being a great distribution tool, the Internet also brings greater recognition to individual adult performers. Porn star couple James Deen and Stoya are what The Village Voice calls “The Jay-Z and Beyonce” of porn — and the two of them owe a lot of their fame to online activity. Net-followers refer to themselves as “Deenagers" and "Stoyanauts,” and they dedicate their time to tracking the couple’s every social media move (see Stoya’s Tumblr and James Deen’s Twitter.) Even established porn stars like Nina Hartley and Alexis Texas amp up their fame with their own websites dedicated exclusively to their individual work.

But even though porn popularity is at an all time high, profits are dippin’ low. 72-year-old porn actor, Dave Cummings, told The Huffington Post that piracy has “killed the industry.” Theo Sapoutzis, CEO and Chairman of Adult Video News (AVN), estimates that porn made $13 to $15 billion during its peak in the early 2000s, but now DVD sales have dropped by 50 percent since 2007 due to illegal uploads. (Note:”Estimates” is the keyword here. Because so many porn businesses are privately owned, it’s impossible to determine the exact gross income of the industry.)

FJP: Despite the blows to profits, the porn industry hasn’t totally deflated yet. Sherri Shaulis, an editor at AVN, says that video companies are now creating their own sex toys and lingerie to make up for losing money on DVD sales. Also, The Institute of Network Cultures notes that even though free porn sites make up 70-80 percent of adult content online, they usually function as “bait” to lure people to pay-to-watch, premium websites with better quality content.

So, people who want that classy, story-driven, Hollywood-lit coitus have to pay their dues. And hey, that’s fair. (And all is always fair… in love, and German Whore Fare.) - Krissy

Sort of Related: Speaking of premium pornographic material, artist, Jonathan Harris, created I Love Your Work, a clickable, interactive documentary on nine women who work in lesbian porn (here’s the trailer). The project is limited to 10 viewers per day and it costs $10 for 24 hours of access to six hours of material. In the FAQ section of the project’s website, Harris says he only allows 10 viewers per day because it’s “an experiment in delayed gratification.” He says that “Internet porn is abundant, and most websites attempt to accumulate as many viewers as possible. It seemed interesting to do the opposite.” Check it out. 

Image: 2Space.net

Banning Porn
According to Smithsonian, the desire to ban porn exists all over the world. The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, wants all porn to be blocked from public spaces to maintain “clean Wifi.” There are websites exclusively dedicated to banishing porn in the U.S. And Iceland has even proposed to get rid of Internet porn altogether. 
Despite these efforts, The Economist points out that porn is impossible to eliminate from the Web. Algorithms can’t catch everything, which means to totally get rid of porn, humans would need to scour the Internet all day for inappropriate content. 
Slate writes that when Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, was met with suggestions to restrict porn on Tumblr for the sake of Yahoo’s reputation, she refused. The “Not Safe For Work” (NSFW) tag that Tumblr already offers is sufficient enough at filtering pornography, and Mayer wants Tumblr to maintain the “richness and breadth of content” that it’s known for. 
And that richness and breadth is going to be hard to beat back. An infographic by Paintbottle shows that 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women watch porn — with the average viewer visiting porn sites 7.5 times per month for an average of 12 minutes at a time.
Smithsonian says that one of the driving forces behind this porn paranoia is that children are learning about sex through porn and not sex education classes. Parents are afraid of porn’s influence on minors who aren’t properly educated on intercourse.
Apparently, this concern isn’t without merit. Aside from kids accidentally stumbling upon porn while web-surfing, porn shows up in public places. In Slate’s Manners For The Digital Age podcast, a woman explains that a passenger had been watching porn on his portable DVD player in close proximity to herself, her daughter, and her young and impressionable granddaughter during their flight.
FJP: In an attempt to make porn more “appropriate,” L.A. County passed Measure B — a law forcing porn actors to use condoms in their scenes and to receive STD training before performing. The law also forces adult film producers to pay a fee for Department of Public Health inspections. 
So should your child stumble upon some pre-marital, raunchy, no-holds barred Internet sex, at least there will be a thin layer of latex to shield them from that silly strain of death-gonorrhea. - Krissy
Image: Found down in the NSFW, dirty depths of Tumblr. 

Banning Porn

According to Smithsonian, the desire to ban porn exists all over the world. The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, wants all porn to be blocked from public spaces to maintain “clean Wifi.” There are websites exclusively dedicated to banishing porn in the U.S. And Iceland has even proposed to get rid of Internet porn altogether. 

Despite these efforts, The Economist points out that porn is impossible to eliminate from the Web. Algorithms can’t catch everything, which means to totally get rid of porn, humans would need to scour the Internet all day for inappropriate content. 

Slate writes that when Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, was met with suggestions to restrict porn on Tumblr for the sake of Yahoo’s reputation, she refused. The “Not Safe For Work” (NSFW) tag that Tumblr already offers is sufficient enough at filtering pornography, and Mayer wants Tumblr to maintain the “richness and breadth of content” that it’s known for. 

And that richness and breadth is going to be hard to beat back. An infographic by Paintbottle shows that 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women watch porn — with the average viewer visiting porn sites 7.5 times per month for an average of 12 minutes at a time.

Smithsonian says that one of the driving forces behind this porn paranoia is that children are learning about sex through porn and not sex education classes. Parents are afraid of porn’s influence on minors who aren’t properly educated on intercourse.

Apparently, this concern isn’t without merit. Aside from kids accidentally stumbling upon porn while web-surfing, porn shows up in public places. In Slate’s Manners For The Digital Age podcast, a woman explains that a passenger had been watching porn on his portable DVD player in close proximity to herself, her daughter, and her young and impressionable granddaughter during their flight.

FJP: In an attempt to make porn more “appropriate,” L.A. County passed Measure B — a law forcing porn actors to use condoms in their scenes and to receive STD training before performing. The law also forces adult film producers to pay a fee for Department of Public Health inspections. 

So should your child stumble upon some pre-marital, raunchy, no-holds barred Internet sex, at least there will be a thin layer of latex to shield them from that silly strain of death-gonorrhea. - Krissy

Image: Found down in the NSFW, dirty depths of Tumblr

Fashion Designers Experiment With 3D Printing
Fashion designers are using 3D printing to create garments, shoes, and accessories for their clothing lines. 
3D printers follow instructions of computer generated blueprints to create one layer of material at a time until a piece of clothing is fully formed. According to Weburbanist, soles and fasteners aren’t necessary in 3D printed garments because of the architectural specificity of the blue prints; the apparel is designed to fit an individual’s exact measurements.
The materials for 3D printed clothing and accessories are lightweight, flexible, and easy to produce, and Continnuum Fashion, a fashion start-up company, has already recognized the benefits of 3D printing their garments. Continnuum offers customers the option to design their own clothes to be printed in-house. The clothes are printed when the order is placed, so time and materials aren’t wasted.
Via Huffington Post:

In the past, when designers go to the trouble of manufacturing a dress, they have to be confident of selling hundreds to make the cost of production worthwhile.
But 3-D printing flips that idea on its head. The technology cuts a designer’s manufacturing costs to zero until a customer has ordered a garment. As a result, designers can now afford to experiment in small batches and sell apparel in limited editions.

FJP: Careful hand-stitching can now be replaced by code. And with Staples now offering mini-3D printers for your own home, does this mean that we’ll be ordering and printing clothes right in our offices? Ehhh. Probably not for awhile. 
Via Readwrite:

$1,300 for a hobbyist’s toy isn’t cheap. And that’s not counting the $50 per plastic cartridge holding 320 grams of material (0.7 pounds). Printing is expensive, whether it’s 2D or 3D.

Also, it can take HOURS to print a garment. And according to Mashable,  the larger 3D printers necessary to print a full size pair of pants can cost upwards of $14,000. (And I thought ink cartridges for 2D printers were overpriced.) — Krissy
Image: Weburbanist

Fashion Designers Experiment With 3D Printing

Fashion designers are using 3D printing to create garments, shoes, and accessories for their clothing lines. 

3D printers follow instructions of computer generated blueprints to create one layer of material at a time until a piece of clothing is fully formed. According to Weburbanist, soles and fasteners aren’t necessary in 3D printed garments because of the architectural specificity of the blue prints; the apparel is designed to fit an individual’s exact measurements.

The materials for 3D printed clothing and accessories are lightweight, flexible, and easy to produce, and Continnuum Fashion, a fashion start-up company, has already recognized the benefits of 3D printing their garments. Continnuum offers customers the option to design their own clothes to be printed in-house. The clothes are printed when the order is placed, so time and materials aren’t wasted.

Via Huffington Post:

In the past, when designers go to the trouble of manufacturing a dress, they have to be confident of selling hundreds to make the cost of production worthwhile.

But 3-D printing flips that idea on its head. The technology cuts a designer’s manufacturing costs to zero until a customer has ordered a garment. As a result, designers can now afford to experiment in small batches and sell apparel in limited editions.

FJP: Careful hand-stitching can now be replaced by code. And with Staples now offering mini-3D printers for your own home, does this mean that we’ll be ordering and printing clothes right in our offices? Ehhh. Probably not for awhile. 

Via Readwrite:

$1,300 for a hobbyist’s toy isn’t cheap. And that’s not counting the $50 per plastic cartridge holding 320 grams of material (0.7 pounds). Printing is expensive, whether it’s 2D or 3D.

Also, it can take HOURS to print a garment. And according to Mashable,  the larger 3D printers necessary to print a full size pair of pants can cost upwards of $14,000. (And I thought ink cartridges for 2D printers were overpriced.) — Krissy

Image: Weburbanist

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?
We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”
Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYC, Mashable, Time, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 
The consensus (here, here, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 
The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.
FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.
Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy
Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?

We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”

Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYCMashableTime, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 

The consensus (herehere, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 

The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.

FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.

Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (FacebookTwitterPinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy

Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Why False Rumors Spread on Twitter During Times of Crisis
Yasuaki Sakamoto, assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, conducted an experiment in behavioral psychology to test rumor-spreading on Twitter during times of crisis. The original hypothesis was that if a person read a rumor-tweet and then read a rebuttal tweet that criticized the rumor immediately afterward, the rumor-tweet would then have lower perceived importance, anxiety, and overall accuracy — meaning a person would be less likely to continue spreading the rumor-tweet.
To test this, 87 Japanese undergraduate and graduate students were exposed to 20 rumor-tweets and then 10 rebuttal-tweets about the 2011 Japan Earthquake. 
The researchers discovered that when someone’s tweet is met with a criticism, it gives the tweet less credibility — making a person less inclined to spread the tweet associated with a criticism. The amount of people who stopped rumor-tweets actually increased 150% when people were exposed to rebuttal-tweets. 
So, basically  the original hypothesis was right. When people hear opposing views, they will be less inclined to spread rumors during a crisis. Spectacular. Funny thing, though…
via iRevolution:

“Whether a receiver is exposed to rumor or criticism first makes a difference in her decision to spread the rumor. Another interpretation of the result is that, even if a receiver is exposed to a number of criticisms, she will benefit less from this exposure when she sees rumors first than when she sees criticisms before rumors.”

So, even when someone is exposed to another point of view after she’s exposed to a rumor, the perceived importance, anxiety, and accuracy of the rumor will still be higher than that of the new opposing point of view. She’ll STILL be instinctually inclined to spread the rumor-tweet just because she heard it first.
With that in mind, one can assume that in times of crisis (when people’s perceptions are most likely influenced by belief or emotions), these people will be inclined to believe the first thing they read regardless of its validity. 
FJP: So, how do we attempt to solve this issue? 
Verily is a platform (currently in development) that will directly connect rebuttal-tweets to rumor-tweets with the intent of decreasing the spread of rumors during disasters. 
Verily’s plan to connect contradicting tweets is a step in the right direction, but even if a rebuttal-tweet is a criticism, it doesn’t mean it’s a valid criticism. Is it any better if people believe the second tweet they read, if it’s just as incorrect as the first one?
How do we make sure that these tweeters can think critically and/or draw their own conclusions about a rumor-tweet without the helpful contradiction of rebuttal-tweets?  
Michael Shammas of The Huffington Post thinks integrating philosophy into American education is the answer:

While some philosophies obviously conduce toward peace more than others, while some philosophers (Marcus Aurelius) seem kinder than others (Nietzsche), the open-minded study of different philosophies at least opens one up to the possibility that one is wrong. One realizes, like Socrates did, that knowledge is anything but certain, that true wisdom lies in realizing how much one does not know, in understanding that our knowledge of the universe (and therefore of earthly things like politics) is utterly inadequate, perhaps comparable to the area of a pin’s tip against a table. This realization makes one less angry when confronted with opposing views, replacing counterproductive anger with productive curiosity.

Is it better to combat ignorance and gullibility in the schools, or in the cyber-streets? Both? Both. — Krissy
Image: iRevolution

Why False Rumors Spread on Twitter During Times of Crisis

Yasuaki Sakamoto, assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, conducted an experiment in behavioral psychology to test rumor-spreading on Twitter during times of crisis. The original hypothesis was that if a person read a rumor-tweet and then read a rebuttal tweet that criticized the rumor immediately afterward, the rumor-tweet would then have lower perceived importance, anxiety, and overall accuracy — meaning a person would be less likely to continue spreading the rumor-tweet.

To test this, 87 Japanese undergraduate and graduate students were exposed to 20 rumor-tweets and then 10 rebuttal-tweets about the 2011 Japan Earthquake.

The researchers discovered that when someone’s tweet is met with a criticism, it gives the tweet less credibility — making a person less inclined to spread the tweet associated with a criticism. The amount of people who stopped rumor-tweets actually increased 150% when people were exposed to rebuttal-tweets. 

So, basically  the original hypothesis was right. When people hear opposing views, they will be less inclined to spread rumors during a crisis. Spectacular. Funny thing, though…

via iRevolution:

“Whether a receiver is exposed to rumor or criticism first makes a difference in her decision to spread the rumor. Another interpretation of the result is that, even if a receiver is exposed to a number of criticisms, she will benefit less from this exposure when she sees rumors first than when she sees criticisms before rumors.”

So, even when someone is exposed to another point of view after she’s exposed to a rumor, the perceived importance, anxiety, and accuracy of the rumor will still be higher than that of the new opposing point of view. She’ll STILL be instinctually inclined to spread the rumor-tweet just because she heard it first.

With that in mind, one can assume that in times of crisis (when people’s perceptions are most likely influenced by belief or emotions), these people will be inclined to believe the first thing they read regardless of its validity. 

FJP: So, how do we attempt to solve this issue? 

Verily is a platform (currently in development) that will directly connect rebuttal-tweets to rumor-tweets with the intent of decreasing the spread of rumors during disasters. 

Verily’s plan to connect contradicting tweets is a step in the right direction, but even if a rebuttal-tweet is a criticism, it doesn’t mean it’s a valid criticism. Is it any better if people believe the second tweet they read, if it’s just as incorrect as the first one?

How do we make sure that these tweeters can think critically and/or draw their own conclusions about a rumor-tweet without the helpful contradiction of rebuttal-tweets?  

Michael Shammas of The Huffington Post thinks integrating philosophy into American education is the answer:

While some philosophies obviously conduce toward peace more than others, while some philosophers (Marcus Aurelius) seem kinder than others (Nietzsche), the open-minded study of different philosophies at least opens one up to the possibility that one is wrong. One realizes, like Socrates did, that knowledge is anything but certain, that true wisdom lies in realizing how much one does not know, in understanding that our knowledge of the universe (and therefore of earthly things like politics) is utterly inadequate, perhaps comparable to the area of a pin’s tip against a table. This realization makes one less angry when confronted with opposing views, replacing counterproductive anger with productive curiosity.

Is it better to combat ignorance and gullibility in the schools, or in the cyber-streets? Both? Both. — Krissy

Image: iRevolution

Our digital society is inflicting a Copernicus-like, far-reaching change in the structures of contemporary liberal democracies and the media as we know it. It is impossible and unnecessary to adopt defensive attitudes towards that change, even if we certainly know that the transition will be both difficult and painful.

Spain’s current media landscape is worrisome, mainly because of the economic crisis and the fast introduction of new technologies. In the last five years, the Spanish newspapers have cut more than 12% of its circulation and ad sales have plummeted 50%. Painful restructurings have resulted in 6,000 layoffs.

Such has been the collapse that we may well suspect that we are bottoming out. We face an absolutely necessary disruptive process that we have to endure in order to survive. It is impossible for me to predict the survival of newspapers as we know them, but in any case, people will always need the kind of “person that explains to the people what happens to other people.”

via fjp-latinamerica:

Juan Luis Cebrián, president of PRISA, in a thoughful op-ed published TODAY in El Huffington Post (in Spanish!). 

More important, however, is the fact that PRISA, the largest media company in the global Spanish-speaking market, owns the influential Spanish newspaper El País.

Why? Because ironically enough, El País announced TODAY that it will fire workers and cut salaries next week (too much of a coincidence, maybe?). Via Reuters:

PRISA has not said how many workers will go, but local media said more than a quarter of the paper’s staff could be forced out.

“We can’t keep living so well,” PRISA Chairman Juan Luis Cebrián told staff on Friday, in comments published by the workers’ committee of the left-leaning paper, Spain’s best-read generalist daily.

One of the paper’s journalists, Carlos Cue, said on Twitter it was the “worst day in the history of El País”.

PRISA has made cuts across its various outlets, including business daily Cinco Días and radio station Cadena Ser. This latest round of cash-saving measures will be formalized on Tuesday.

The programme includes firing workers, early retirement for some and reducing salaries. Across the Spanish media, the average journalist’s salary has halved since the onset of the country’s financial crisis.

Furthermore, in a report by El Economista (Spanish news website, not associated with The Economist in any way), Cebrián is quoted saying that:

It is worrying that the median age [at El País] is 53 years old (189 staffers are older than 50 while only 10 are younger than 30), and that hinders our capabilities to achieve what we need in order to survive.

FJP: Politicians tend to leak newsworthy stories to journalists on Fridays in order to dissipate the buzz throughout the weekend. TODAY, regrettably, the news broke from within and everyone in the newsroom is concerned.  

Follow FJP Latin America: Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook.

Respect
Doonesbury spends the week on the evolving journalism career of one of its characters. First strip in the series is here.
Select image to embiggen.

Respect

Doonesbury spends the week on the evolving journalism career of one of its characters. First strip in the series is here.

Select image to embiggen.

Huffington Post: 104,000 Sideboob Posts and Counting
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the boob, side, top, front or whatever, but this seems a little bit… obsessive.
Of course, in June, Arianna Huffington wrote to inquiring minds at the Guardian that the fetish is kind of an in joke that eventually resulted in a dedicated sideboob news page:

This was put together by our comedy team in response to a segment on Jon Stewart. Sorry if the context wasn’t clear.

Huffington’s note was then followed up by a member of the communications team:

Our editors created this page as a little bit of a joke on ourselves and the phenomenon. It’s a silly take on the silly side of celebrity culture and our coverage of it, which we believe our women readers get and appreciate. I hope this helps put it in the right context.

104,000 boobs and counting.
Image: Google search results for “Sideboob” on the Huffington Post.

Huffington Post: 104,000 Sideboob Posts and Counting

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the boob, side, top, front or whatever, but this seems a little bit… obsessive.

Of course, in June, Arianna Huffington wrote to inquiring minds at the Guardian that the fetish is kind of an in joke that eventually resulted in a dedicated sideboob news page:

This was put together by our comedy team in response to a segment on Jon Stewart. Sorry if the context wasn’t clear.

Huffington’s note was then followed up by a member of the communications team:

Our editors created this page as a little bit of a joke on ourselves and the phenomenon. It’s a silly take on the silly side of celebrity culture and our coverage of it, which we believe our women readers get and appreciate. I hope this helps put it in the right context.

104,000 boobs and counting.

Image: Google search results for “Sideboob” on the Huffington Post.

We are the only people who can change this world. Again, I am only 10 and don’t have all the degrees yet but I think my thoughts are shared by many.

— 10-year-old Tarina from Virginia in a letter to America after the Sikh Temple shooting. It’s a moving read. Wisdom knows no age.

Huffington Post Wins Pulitzer →

The Huffington Post’s David Wood won a Pulitzer for national reporting for a 10-part series called Beyond the Battlefield that explores the challenges Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans face after a decade of war.

HuffPo is the first online daily to win a Pulitzer.

Via Mashable:

The award may be Wood’s, but Huffington Post cofounder Arianna Huffington is a clear beneficiary. Over the past few years, Huffington has made a point of hiring experienced, well-known and (no doubt) expensive reporters like Wood.

The hirings are part of an effort to position the Huffington Post as a serious news organization — not, as former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller has described it, as an “overaggregator” of “celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications… [with] a left-wing soundtrack.”

The complete list of winners is available at Pulitzer.org.

AOL Prepping New Weekly iPad Magazine Called 'Huffington' →

Via Forbes:

Huffington will be published weekly and will reflect the Huffington Post’s mix of original journalism and aggregated news, possibly with a small number of stories commissioned specifically for the magazine. Whether it will be a free or paid product hasn’t yet been determined. The Daily has shown that there’s a market for paid news apps; since its launch in early 2011, it has consistently been one of the top-grossing apps in the Apple store.

Whether readers would be willing to pay for a publication that’s mostly reheated content from a free website is a different matter, however. And then there’s the issue of charging for stories whose writers in many cases weren’t paid.

Noted, and probably good for HuffPo diehards, but I’m on the rather-view-a-news-org’s-site-than-app bandwagon. — Michael

[Arianna] Huffington could hope for more traffic but that’s reaching the point of diminishing returns, for her purposes; the site was not making her a quality-media mogul. It was time to use some of the profits to create a front window full of “important” original reporting, and in the short term to show she was on a level with people like (now former) New York Times executive editor Bill Keller by successfully hiring people away from him.

Tom McGeveran, per his usual brilliance (via nusca)

AOL/HuffPo Double Down on Video →

Via Digiday:

The video ad market is still heating up, but AOL is betting it will come to a boil very soon. It’s making a major bet with a new streaming service on Huffington Post that will launch in the summer and promises live content 12 hours a day, five days a week and hope to get up to 16 hours a day by 2013.

The service itself is ambitious, but even more so is the investment AOL is putting behind it: $30 million, according to an AOL source. HuffPo plans to create all the video itself. It will dedicate 100 employees to the operation. The scale of the effort would put it on track to be one of the largest producers of original for the Web video around.