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Just came across this awesome podcast from WNYC Note to Self:

In this episode on What Is Our Attention Actually Worth?, host Manoush Zomorodi chats with Google’s Design Ethics & Product Philosopher Tristan Harris on design ethics, or what considerations ought to be in place when a handful of white males in Silicon Valley who make products and choices that affect how 1 billion people spend their attention.

In the tradition/current attention economy, websites and publications measure success by the amount of time a user spends interacting with their products. A few services, such as Couchsurfing, have tried a new approach of measuring the net positive benefit for the user:

positive experience – time spend on website (cost) = net positive benefit

Harris calls the growing problem of internet glut a “pollution problem” and argues that we need more public pressure on technologists and designers to build systems and products that truly value the user’s experience.

Listen to the kids, bro!

Kanye accepts the Video Vanguard award at MTV’s 2015 VMA (video)

June + July Reading List

Q. and A.: Chen Zhonglin on ‘Picking Quarrels’ Online – By Adam Wu for New York Times (July 27, 2015)

Young people speak out about their fears and hopes on climate change – By Lilah Raptopoulos for The Guardian (June 9, 2015)

Wow. ClickHole. – By Dan Kois for Slate (June 8, 2015)

China’s “new normal”: structural change, better growth, and peak emissions – By Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern (June 8, 2015)

What’s off limits in comedy?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 7:00 PM

Check out this fascinating discussion with NYC comedians and personalities, including: who gets to speak on behalf of whom, evolutions of social norms, the ever shifting third rail of comedy, and the obligations of a comedian.

Hosted by Arun Venugopal of WNYC; guests include Desus Nice of Desus vs. Mero, Crissle West of The Read podcast, Jeff Yang of the Wall Street Journal, and comedian Guy Branum.

Women in Media: Conversations in Journalism 2015

April 18, 2015
Columbia University

Congrats to the Columbia Journalism School Women in Media group for organizing the 2nd annual Conversations in Journalism conference, a day-long conference with wide ranging conversations about the craft and profession of journalism with a highly impressive line-up of female speakers. Here’s a quick summary of the fascinating panel discussions:

The Changing Landscape of Media
Moderator: Susan E. McGregor
Panelists: Lisa Hsia, Kelly Senyei, Dorinda Bagwell-Angelucci, Sarah Darville

The media landscape is changing fast and everyone (brands, networks, publications, content creators, etc.) are all just trying to keep up. Several of the panelists highlighted to need to stay a student — constantly learning and adapting.

Lisa Hsia from Bravo noted that her network thinks about all their shows as a multiplatform experience, which pushes them to experiment with new platforms (i.e. Periscope) to engage viewers in deeper ways. Lisa recounts that she needs to push innovation and experimentation as a low cost, and demonstrate the ability to scale and repeat in selling the ideas to higher ups and sponsors. Kelly Senyei, CJS alum and owner of a food & lifestyle site, shared practical tips on knowing your audience and their behaviors, tailoring the message to the platform, and dividing your efforts between creating great content and distribution/marketing.

Given the barrage of content and new tools, CSJ’s Susan McGregor aptly asked, who do you prioritize and allocate your time? Sarah Darville of NYC’s Chalkbeat noted that they invested more in improving their newsletter after getting positive responses in a reader survey.

Main takeaways

  • fish where the fish are; place related content in existing communities
  • invest in building relationship with your audience (via newsletter, etc.), and they will follow you
  • network with people and share skills

Read more

Films that Make a Difference


“Blackfish,” which examined what led a killer whale to drown a trainer in 2010 at SeaWorld’s Orlando park. (NYT)

Full film with English subtitles

“Under the Dome,” a scathing investigative documentary on the health harms of China’s industry-driven air pollution