Debunking a Myth About Encryption

During the debate over whether Apple should help the FBI unlock the iPhone involved in the San Bernardino shooting investigation, there was a lot of misleading information going around about encryption, including a call for a “golden key”, which a Washington Post editorial claimed could be created through Apple and Google’s “wizardry”. Most pieces attempting to debunk these myths were very technical, long reads. I am attempting to debunk a small part of a myth about encryption in the simplest format I could think of – an infographic.

 

Lauren’s Media Diary

I am going to focus on one insight I gained out of my media diary, in particular – I was shocked by the magnitude of hours I spend on listening to audio! I spent more time listening to podcasts this week than non-class activities for school (readings, research, and completing assignments).

Looking back, it does make some sense. I put on NPR every morning when I wake up, and whenever I can manage to listen to a podcast, I have one on. I consider listening to podcasts the perfect activity for multitasking when I am not mentally busy, but I can’t use my hands or look at a screen. I listen to podcasts when I am commuting anywhere (i.e. walking to and from class), cleaning, cooking, running, and getting ready to leave the house. I don’t remember the last time I applied eyeliner without a podcast playing in the background.

Because I listen to so much content this way, I thought I would dig into the kind of audio I am consuming, and I created the chart above. I am listening to more news and politics than anything else. I don’t think this is a bad thing, since it is the most realistic way that I will listen to more long-form journalism. I spent a few hours reading long articles through my Pocket suggestions and my print subscription of the New Yorker, but other than that and audio, I mostly get my news through my Twitter feed.

The problem I see from the chart is that I only listened to three audio sources in the news and politics category in the past week, and all of them are distributed by NPR. A big takeaway is that I need to work on diversifying the types of podcasts and audio I listen to for the news.

Please comment below with your favorite podcasts, news or otherwise!

Slack as a Collaboration Tool

After reading through the example articles on tools for journalism and storytelling, it struck me that there are so, so many resources out there for journalists. How do you keep track of all these items while collaborating with colleagues? Slack, a tool first widely adopted by the tech community, has features that will help journalists work together effectively and efficiently. It’s a messaging and collaboration tool for teams that is being rapidly adopted across industries.

  • Use channels for topic specific conversations – These channels could be specific stories or even elements within a story. They can be public with your entire team or private to a specific group of people.
  • Contact team members directly for one-on-one conversations using direct messaging and one-in-one calls.
  • Easily share and upload files.
  • Use search to easily find information. The files you upload are indexed, so search even works within PDFs.
  • Use Slack integrations, like twitter and google alerts, to quickly see relevant information in appropriate channels.

Slack is primarily meant for teams and workplaces, but can be used informally also, among just a few collaborators or across many dispersed journalists. Some newsrooms, including Vox and The Associated Press, are already using the tool for collaboration. Is can also be used more widely across organizations. For example, Muckrock created a Slack team, which has recently become very popular, to help investigative journalists to retrieve data and documents from the government through the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Lauren’s Bio

Hey, everyone! I’m Lauren, a first year MBA at MIT. I also like to call myself an engineer, web-developer, feminist, avid podcast listener, political junky, among other things.

I am in awe of everyone who introduced themselves on the first day of this course, and am excited to learn from the incredibly diverse set of people in the room throughout the semester.

As a kid, I had a “newspaper” I would create and pass out to our neighbors, who were kind enough to humor me. I didn’t end up becoming a reporter, but I have always been fascinated by and engaged with the world of civic media, even more so, in light of the recent election and the rise of “alternative facts”.

The election is not the only recent event that has me thinking more about the role of news in our society. As a former UVA student, I was rocked by the since debunked Rolling Stone article about a gang rape on UVA’s campus and was fascinated by the Washington’s Post analysis of the Rolling Stone’s mistakes.  I was especially struck by that author’s conclusion about the importance of supporting local news.

My goal of this course is to learn about more about this subject and become a better consumer, distributor and creator of content, especially where it supports the success of our democracy and society.