media and journalism | KUOW News and Information

media and journalism

I escaped Nazi Germany. I see its ideology alive in America today

Dec 30, 2016
Franz W. Wasserman, 96, lives in Seattle. He was 12 when Hitler rose to power in Germany.
Courtesy of Margie Bone

A call to action:

I was born in Munich, Germany, in 1920. I lived there during the rise of the Nazi Party and left for the U.S.A. in 1938. 

A circuit court judge in Baltimore has denied bail to Adnan Syed, the man whose conviction for a 1999 murder was the subject of the podcast Serial. Syed will remain in jail while he awaits a new trial. Syed was convicted in 2000 in the killing of his high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee, and sentenced to life in prison. A judge vacated that conviction last June.

It's been a lively year for social media mavens as they hashtagged their way through the ups, the downs and the downright silly.

President-elect Donald Trump has used Twitter — his preferred means of communication — to weigh in on a swath of foreign policy issues over the past few weeks.

The Washington Post expects to hire more than 60 journalists in the coming months — a sign of remarkable growth for a newspaper in the digital age.

Diane Rehm is wrapping up a public radio career spanning more than four decades and thousands of episodes. Her talk show has originated at Washington, D.C.'s WAMU and is heard by nearly 3 million people across the country weekly on NPR stations.

Yet The Diane Rehm Show almost didn't get off the ground.

In 1979, Rehm started as a host with a program aimed at homemakers. Several years later, she informed her boss that she had other plans.

Before my family bought a television set, it was radio that I stayed glued to. I must have been 10 years old, or maybe 9. My grandfather, uncle and I would sit close to a massive analogue radio. One of them delicately held the dial between the thumb and the index finger, fine-tuning, ear close to the speaker, listening carefully for a clear sentence of English amid the sizzle and the crackle of radio signals. A clear signal that lasted for barely a minute put a huge smile on our faces.

Providing new details about how it's trying to counter the spread of fake news on its services, Facebook says it's working with fact-checking groups to identify bogus stories — and to warn users if a story they're trying to share has been reported as fake.

Facebook also says it will let users report a possible hoax by clicking the upper right hand corner of a post and choosing one of four reasons they want to flag it — from "It's spam" to "It's a fake news story."

Seven KUOW women participated in creating Lucia Neare's wail in Seattle on election night.
KUOW Photo/Robert Jacobs-Springer

Last week on KUOW, you heard the beautiful and heartbreaking story of Lucia Neare.

Neare was an orphan who became an artist who specializes in large-scale public performances. After learning the election results last month, she became despondent. 

Thirty years ago, a new face debuted on daytime television: Oprah Winfrey.

The new podcast, "Making Oprah," produced by member station WBEZ, chronicles Oprah's rise to stardom. Journalist Jenn White tells Oprah's story from her early days on her first talk show, AM Chicago, through to the biggest, most outrageous moments when 40 million people a week were watching her national show.

Newspaper box for the Seattle Times, 2012.
Flickr Photo/Mr.TinDC (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2gKCGU9

“It’s not at all surprising.”

That was the reaction by David Boardman to the announcement by the Seattle Times that it will be reducing staff. The newspaper told staff in an email that it will be offering buyouts with the potential of layoffs after that.

Fake news played a bigger role in this past presidential election than ever seen before. And sometimes it has had serious repercussions for real people and businesses.

That's what happened to a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., recently, when an armed man claiming to be "self-investigating" a fake news story entered the restaurant and fired off several rounds.

The Weather Channel has a message for the website Breitbart:

"Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans"

Pope Francis is calling on those who use and control the media to avoid disinformation and "the sickness of coprophilia" — comparing a love of scandal to an abnormal interest in feces that can also include elements of sexual arousal.

An obsession with scandal can do great harm, Francis said Wednesday, in remarks that also cited people's tendency toward coprophagia (the eating of feces).

Fake news stories can have real-life consequences. On Sunday, police said a man with a rifle who claimed to be "self-investigating" a baseless online conspiracy theory entered a Washington, D.C., pizzeria and fired the weapon inside the restaurant.

So, yes, fake news is a big problem.

The federal ethics watchdog isn't the kind of agency that typically airs its positions on Twitter — let alone in a snarky tone, with exclamation points.

But it's been an all-around weird day at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

Editor's Note: This story contains images and language that some readers may find disturbing.

Mark Zuckerberg — one of the most insightful, adept leaders in the business world — has a problem. It's a problem he has been slow to acknowledge, even though it's become more apparent by the day.

Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the alt-right movement, which has been associated with white nationalism.

The move comes as Twitter is rolling out a series of actions to curb hate speech and abuse on its platform as criticism has mounted of the company's failure to rein in harassment, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.

Facebook
Flickr Photo/Franco Bouly (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6rk2Qf

Bill Radke talks to Todd Bishop of Geekwire about the effect Facebook has on what sort of content users see. 

Since Donald Trump's election victory, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come out not once, but twice, to address the issue of fake news, inaccurate or simply false information that appears on the Web in the guise of journalism.

Gwen Ifill, one of the most prominent political journalists in the country, has died, according to PBS. She was 61.

Days after she was deported from Pakistan to her native Afghanistan, the woman whose piercing green-eyed stare landed a spot on the cover of National Geographic will next travel to India for medical care.

That's the news from Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan's ambassador to India, who said via Twitter that Sharbat Gula "will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost."

It hasn't been easy for journalists covering the 2016 presidential race. While doing their jobs, they've had to confront unprecedented threats, abuse, bans and accusations of conspiracy and bias.

A federal jury has found that Rolling Stone, a reporter and the magazine's publisher are liable in a defamation lawsuit over a retracted article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia.

The trial centered on a November 2014 piece by reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely that told the story of a student, identified as "Jackie," who said she was brutally gang raped at a fraternity party in 2012.

Monica Guzman / The Evergrey

Bill Radke speaks with local journalists Monica Guzman, co-founder of Seattle newsletter The Evergrey, and Reagan Jackson, writer at The Seattle Globalist and South Seattle Emerald, about #JournalismSoWhite.

Voice recognition surrounds tech-loving Americans, from Siri to Google Assistant to Amazon Echo. Its omnipresence can make it easy to forget that making this technology has been really, really hard.

Understanding human speech is one of the most difficult frontiers in machine learning, and the biggest names in technology have devoted much time and money to conquering it. But their products still work for only a handful of languages.

Less prominent languages are still indecipherable to computers — even for text translations, let alone voice recognition.

A short online post broke the story to viewers and readers that the regional all-news channel Northwest Cable News will air its last broadcast on January 6.

This presidential election year has tested the limits of free speech on Twitter. It's a prime political platform for Republican candidate Donald Trump, for the correspondents covering both presidential candidates, and for the purveyors of hate speech.

Emily Bell is the director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School. NPR's Steve Inskeep talked with Bell about the challenges Twitter faces.


Interview Highlights

On the quality of debate on Twitter

It has become a familiar story in a world bristling with live mics. A public figure is caught out using a vulgarity, and the media have to decide how to report the remark. Web media tend to be explicit, but the traditional media are more circumspect.

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