¿Quien Soy?

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I’m Brenda Patricia Salinas Paéz. I’m a trilingual public radio producer living in London. I was awarded the highly competitive Kroc Fellowship at NPR in 2012. Since then I have reported pieces for NPR’s flagship programs, Marketplace and PRI’s The World as well as a number of podcasts. I have a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University. I was one of the founding producers of the Texas Standard, a daily news magazine show that broadcasts state-wide from KUT in Austin. I helped re-launch  NPR’s Latino USA as a full-hour show.
Want to know more? Follow me on Twitter or shoot me an email at brendapsalinas@gmail.com. Can’t wait to hear from you!

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Protect Your Magic: A Survival Guide for Journalists of Color

Read the full story on Poynter.org

 

There’s an awakening among journalists of color in public media: The racist and sexist incidents that many of us have privately endured aren’t anomalies. They’re systemic.

We’ve known this anecdotally for some time. We have whisper networks devoted to believing and supporting each other as we fight to make our voices heard in an industry where many of us feel unwanted.

In the past few weeks, I’ve felt overwhelmed by my anger. I am angry at the complicity of newsroom executives who talk about diversity in hiring while doing nothing about retention. I am incredulous at the business reasons for favoring one brilliant jerk’s career over the productivity of dozens of women.

The proof is in how little NPR’s dismal diversity numbers change year over year. At the local level, the proof is in the all-white newsrooms that cover minority majority regions. Undeniably, there is something rotten in the system.

Many of us have focused our efforts on the “pipeline problem” — a favorite excuse of hiring managers who are unwilling to expand their networks and challenge their biases. Our padrino — godfather — is Doug Mitchell, the founder of NPR’s Next Generation Radio. Since 2000, Next Generation has been pairing journalism students with professional journalists in workshops all over the country. I had been a mentor for Next Generation twice and was gearing up for round three when news stories broke about abuse at NPR, WNYC, WBUR and MPR.

In light of the reports, I reached out to Mitchell. I told him I was feeling ambivalent about continuing to mentor students of color for our industry. I asked him, “In training young people of color and women for public media, are we just teeing them up to be abused?” I hadn’t even met my mentee yet and I was already imagining getting a call from her in three years, hearing her tell me “something bad happened.”

In typical fashion, Mitchell responded to my question with a homework assignment. He told me the time had come to give our students an additional form of training. Since I would be one of the six women mentors at our project in January at the University of Houston, he asked me to lead a candid discussion with our students. I accepted the assignment without any idea of what I was going to say.

I knew that if I wanted to avoid discouraging our students from pursuing careers in media, I’d have to leave my anger at the door. I decided to emulate the tone of conflict reporting training, since maintaining your creativity in a hostile work environment can feel like a daily battle.

I opened my reporting notebook and started making phone calls.

I talked to Amy Gastelum, Lewis Wallace, Andrew Ramsammy and Luis Clemens. It was Wallace who taught me the phrase “preserve your magic” — borrowed from Nick Daily, who is a dean of black affairs at the Claremont University Consortium. I subconsciously changed “preserve” to “protect” after reading conflict reporting guides and I decided to keep it. Gastelum teaches journalism at the Indiana University Media School, where she candidly talks about these issues with her students. “I wish we didn’t have to do this” Gastelum said, “but they can handle it.”

Clemens was my advocate at NPR during my Kroc fellowship and has been my mentor ever since. The founding editor of NPR’s Code Switch, Clemens has been fighting for representation and inclusion in our industry throughout his career. He’s taught me many valuable lessons over the years. For this presentation, he told me to never forget the fact that “this is a really freaking cool job.” His words inspired me to ground the discussion in joy. Andrew Ramsammy consults public media organizations on diversity issues. Ramsammy encouraged me to add the final slide about mental health and asked me to tell our students to “be an active participant in your own success.”

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the slideshow at the top of this story, I encourage you to do so and then read the thoughts behind each one.

SLIDE 1: I organized our thoughts into a publicly available slidedeck that anyone can present. I hope it helps facilitators kick off thoughtful conversations that empower young journalists. If you use it in a professional capacity, please let me know how it went.

SLIDE 2: I started the presentation by asking everyone in the room to put their devices away and close their eyes. I led the group in a guided meditation. “Think about all the little things that make your voice special,” I said. “The flourishes that make you a unique storyteller, all the things that let me know, even before I see your byline that a story is YOUR story. The people in your community who build you up, the ways you code switch between different worlds, your sense of humor. Okay now take all the these things and fuse them together into a ball of energy right in front of your heart. Hold it. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Keep holding it. Acknowledge it, Thank it.”

SLIDE 3: “That ball of energy is your magic. We are all here because we see your magic. We believe in your magic and its ability to change the world.”

SLIDE 4: “Our relationship with you doesn’t end on Friday. We’re your new network for life. Our goal for you is to get you to a workplace where people value your magic. At this point in your career, the determinant in your success is having access to a good editor who believes in you. An entry-level job should pay you a living wage, you should have the space to have a life outside of the newsroom and be given the opportunity to grow your career.”

SLIDE 5: “Maria Hinojosa asks every young journalist she works with what their ‘Dream-O-Vision’ is. ‘I can’t help you if I don’t know what the Dream-O-Vision is,’ she tells them. Your first, second or third job is probably not going to be your dream job, but it’s a step on the Dream-O-Vision ladder. Maybe you decided to take a GA reporter position even though you dream about hosting Marketplace. It’s not your dream, but you are going to acquire skills that are going to take you one step closer. Maybe you’ll have to work an overnight shift every once in a while. When you start out your job won’t be perfect, but it should make sense in the story of who you want to be. Build up your personal board of advisors — a group of mentors that you routinely check in with. Work on cultivating a strong group of people who see your magic and will be a source of advice throughout your career.”

SLIDE 6: “Paying your dues never means being the victim of abuse: verbal, emotional, sexual, whatever. If you find yourself being victimized, it’s never your fault. Tell your network ASAP and we’ll figure out a plan to get you out of there. If you follow trade news, you know that some very ugly secrets have been coming to light. People like us have been working toward a public media system that is inclusive and fair for everybody, but the truth is we’re not there yet. The rest of this presentation is going to be about how to keep your magic safe.”

SLIDE 7: “If you were reporting on a story, you would never go into a scene cold, right? You’d find out everything you could before actually going out on the field — why would you do anything different for your career? Do your research. Become a LinkedIn sleuth. Find people who used to work at the workplace you are looking at. If you see a bunch of people who did brief stints there — under a year — that’s a bad sign. If you see another person of color who worked there for a short period in the near past, reach out to them. Find out what happened.”

“During the interview process: Be polite, but also ask a lot of questions. If the manager wants to hire an actual journalist, they’ll be impressed. Here are some questions you might ask: What happened to the last person who held the position you are applying for, or if it’s a new position, why was this position created? What happens to people who take entry-level jobs at that workplace? Do they get promoted internally or do they leave? What kind of career development opportunities are going to be available to you? Has that development been available to others, and if so, can you talk to them about it? Don’t just take their word for it. Will you be able to go to conferences and apply to trainings and workshops? Will they help you pitch your work to outside editors? If they tell you you can pursue these opportunities on your own time, or that you’ll need to take vacation days for career development, that is a huge red flag. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the interview process. Are you going to be the ‘only one?’ What happened to the last ‘only one?’ Forget that you really need the job for a minute and take off your rose-colored glasses. The dynamics you see during the interview process will come back to haunt you if you take the job. Is the manager disorganized? How does the manager treat the receptionist? Does the manager make you feel comfortable? Write your impressions down at the end of the day and debrief with your mentors. That’s what we’re here for.”

“Here’s a little secret: You don’t have to take every job that you’re offered. Trust your gut. I know a young reporter that turned down the only entry-level reporter position in his city because the manager seemed like a jerk. Instead, he worked part-time as a substitute teacher and lived with his parents while he got his freelance career off the ground. His stories got the attention of a fellowship committee at CUNY — he ended up getting a full ride to the journalism graduate school.”

SLIDE 8: “Once you do find an opportunity that seems like a good fit, talk to your mentors about what an appropriate entry-level salary looks like for that market and make sure you get it. Don’t listen to your mom on this one — you should not just be grateful that they are offering you a position. Don’t be shy about negotiating your salary; it shows that you value yourself. Managers expect that you’ll negotiate a higher salary, many times they are not allowed to pay you more money until you ask. Before you accept the offer, get your job description in writing. This is the start of the documentation you’ll do throughout your tenure at that workplace. It’s a good thing to have in case you ever need to reference it. If in the future your manager wants you to do something that isn’t in the job description, you can negotiate a different title and/or salary. Ask your manager how you are going to be evaluated, with what frequency and on what metrics. This will define what success will look for you internally and will give you a solid foundation to make the case for a promotion and a raise. Get that in writing.”

SLIDE 9: “On the job, get as many things as you can in writing, over email. This is helpful if you have a manager that forgets things or changes their mind easily. As a journalist, you should be journaling every day for your forthcoming memoir, but at the very least you need to take contemporaneous notes when something weird happens. Write it down, using full names and dates. And when something makes you uncomfortable, talk to people you trust about it. In many cases it’s better to talk to people outside of your workplace about it. Lucky you — you have a big network of people who have your back.”

SLIDE 10: “You don’t have to be the office diversity warrior (if you don’t want to be). At this stage, put your career first. You need to acquire social capital in this industry before you can shake it up. So be thoughtful. As a person of color, sometimes you get labeled as a ‘problem’ for speaking out. You might start getting dinged for performance reasons that aren’t really a big deal. Depending on the workplace, going to HR isn’t always the best idea. Many times they are there to protect the employer, not you. But don’t be discouraged — there are small, meaningful ways you can start to make change. You can mentor interns. When someone says something biased you can ask ‘What do you mean by that?’ or ‘Why do you think that?’ When someone crosses the line, you can say ‘That wasn’t very kind’ or ‘That wasn’t very professional’ and walk away. There are ways of clearly state your boundaries and expectations without being perceived as ‘aggressive.’  Acknowledge that you are going to brush up against conflict. You can decide how you will react right now.”

SLIDE 11: “Most jobs are like lily pads, you’re not going to stay there forever. Most people stay in the same job for two years before moving on, either to another position at the same organization or to another workplace altogether. Figure out what you need to do to get to that next step. If you see a posting for a dream job you’re not qualified for yet, see if you can set up an informational interview with that manager. Ask what you need to accomplish before getting a job like that in the future. You might be surprised; that hiring manager could become a future mentor. Get outside feedback on your work. Freelancing stories allows you the opportunity to network and work with editors with different management styles. Apply to workshops and go to journalism conferences. Many cities have monthly ‘listening lounges’ where you can get constructive feedback about your work. You can also train your loved ones to listen to your work with a critical ear — ask them to tell you when they found their attention wavering, when they felt bored.”

SLIDE 12: “Be your own stage mom. Don’t isolate yourself. Document all the great things you do and talk to people about it. Make time to walk the floor of your workplace every week. Get to know what everybody does and make sure they know what you’re capable of. I had a colleague who emailed our GM every time he made a Storify. Do you know how easy it is to make a Storify? Make sure your professional website and your LinkedIn are up to date. Apply for journalism awards and fellowships. Email your work to your mentors every couple of months to get their feedback.”

SLIDE 13: “Find communities that nourish your spirit outside of your workplace. Community can take many different shapes. You need to have people who see your magic outside of your professional capacity. Have a group of people that you can vent to. As journalists, we tend to really wrap up our identity with our work, and that’s not healthy. Whether you get 10 Peabodies or nobody ever knows your name, your self-worth needs to be exactly the same. This will help you navigate career changes. Believe in the strength of your community, that’s your safety net and your trust fund. When many of us moved away from home our families said ‘Baby, you can always come home.’ That’s how we journalist of color in public media work — we have each other’s backs.”

SLIDE 14: As a storyteller, there is nothing more important than your mental health: You can’t be creative if you’re not healthy. Focus on cultivating a rich internal life. It takes a lot of work to realize that we are small characters in other people’s lives; the way that people react to you often has very little to do with you. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. For some of us, being disciplined means knowing when to take time to stop working for the day. Self-care means different things for different people. Therapy. Church. Meditation. Medication. Figure out what you need to keep yourself healthy and productive.

* * *

“Protect Your Magic” was our first session of the workshop and it set a great tone for the rest of the week. We took time after the presentation to discuss the thoughts and feelings it provoked.

Next Gen mentor Crystal Chavez is a host and reporter at WMFE in Orlando. “I have rarely met a  POC journalist who hasn’t experienced some type of discrimination in the newsroom, ranging from cultural incompetency to racism,” Chavez said. “It’s heartening that we are being proactive in getting students to think about how they would want to react should they encounter such a situation in the workplace.”

Houston Chronicle reporter Monica Rhor also served as a mentor on the project. “The presentation reminded me of the power we bring to our jobs, to the industry, to the stories we write because of who we are as journalists of color,” Rhor said. “It reminded me that protecting that magic is crucial to protecting my very important voice.”

The students felt empowered by our conversation. “I have often been called overly confident and too spicy when trying to be my own stage mom,” Alejandra Martinez said. “After the ‘protect your magic’ presentation I will say I am valuable and my magic is one of a kind.”

“I’ve had a terrible habit of measuring my value as a person based on my work,” Rafa Farihah said. “Now, I know to protect my magic and make sure to find a way to keep it alive.”

My mentee, Antréchelle Dorsey, felt so inspired by our conversation that she started a hashtag. She told me to expect my #ProtectYourMagic T-shirt in the mail.

* * *

About Next Gen
NPR’s Next Generation Radio is a digital-first journalism training project designed to find and develop college students and early career professionals for careers in public media. Founded in 2000, it began by going to national minority journalism conferences and doing radio projects there. Always innovative, the program has been posting content to the web since it started. Even 18 years ago, students understood the future and it was the internet. Also back then, stations didn’t want to put students on the air, so the program went online.

Now, in 2018, the program is sponsored by NPR, NPR member stations and U.S. colleges and universities. The program is more directly helping stations find their future employees from talent pools that are right under their noses.

“The Talk” during our Next Gen project adds to a guiding principle. If someone is selected to the program, they are now part of the family.

It means:

  • That when they write or call, those emails, texts or voicemails are returned, promptly.
  • That any and all career strategy discussion are had.
  • That any time they are in a workplace situation they do not know how to handle, they have a mentor ready to help them through it.
  • That we are ready to sponsor them.
  • That we have their backs. They were chosen for a reason.

By the numbers
In 2017, Next Gen selected 57 students and early career professionals for its 10 projects. Twenty-two of those participants landed or changed jobs or internships in public media. In 2016, 49 people were chosen for our eight projects; 11 landed jobs or internships in public media.

 

Some News – 60dB joins Google

60dB has some exciting news. Via techcrunch

Google acqui-hires team at podcast app 60dB, service will shut down next month

Short-form podcast app 60dB will be shutting down next month and its team will be joining Google in an apparent acqui-hire.

“Today, we’re announcing we’ll be shutting down 60dB on Friday, November 10th, and we’ll be joining the team at Google,” a Medium post signed by the 60dB co-founders read. “As we considered next steps for 60dB, we came to the conclusion that to accomplish our goals we’d be better positioned if we joined someone with scale who shared our vision for what was possible with digital audio.” The note was first spotted by Business Insider.

Tiny Garage Labs, which created the app, launched its podcast platform for iOS, Android, Alexa and the web last year, allowing users to access personalized short-form audio pieces inside the app. The team said it worked with more than 80 media institutions to produce “hundreds of audio stories in the past year.”

 

What does that mean for me? I’ll be showing up to work at Google’s Covent Garden offices in London. I am so excited to see what this journey means for me creatively and professionally. Stay tuned!

60dB Stories

Brenda Salinas at 60dB

All the stories Brenda Salinas made for 60dB.

September 16, 2017

Reporter Brenda Salinas wanted to understand how detaining immigrants can be such a profitable business for private prison companies.

September 15, 2017

A Stanford computer science major developed a free tool to help Americans take Equifax to small claims court.

August 29, 2017

60dB reporter Brenda Salinas is in her hometown of Houston during Tropical Storm Harvey.

August 29, 2017

60dB’s Brenda Salinas talks to Jeff Masters, he’s the co-founder of Weather Underground, a web site that meteorologists go to get inside information about severe weather.

August 29, 2017

Geopolitics reporter Max de Haldevang says this is a serious blow to American soft power.

August 25, 2017

After Tropical Storm Allison devastated the Houston Medical Center in 2001, the area’s 21 hospitals banded together to make sure it never happens again.

August 24, 2017

Axios’ Alexi McCammond says Chief of Staff John Kelly can only do so much to keep President Donald Trump in line.

August 22, 2017

Axios’ Deputy News Desk Editor Dave Lawler gives us the debrief on Trump’s prime-time Presidential address.

August 18, 2017

Axios’ Alayna Treene explains what Trump could be thinking.

August 17, 2017

Reverend Ann Willet of First United Methodist Church in Dallas Texas had a sermon go viral.

August 16, 2017

Laura Smith writes women have been an integral part of white supremacist movements throughout history.

August 11, 2017

Axios’ Dan Primack has the scoop: Benchmark Capital is suing Uber Founder Travis Kalanick for fraud.

August 10, 2017

Axios’ Mike Allen says the culture wars have finally come to Silicon Valley.

July 31, 2017

Quartz’ special projects editor Lauren Brown brings us three bite-sized business stories from Quartz Index.

July 27, 2017

How can blue cities fight back against red states? Molly Cohen, associate counsel with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. has four lines of defense.

Reporter Robbie Gramer unpacks rumors of a so-called “Rexit” at the State Department.

July 25, 2017

Brenda Salinas met Joshua Browder, a Stanford computer science major who is automating legal aid and talked to Renee Knake, a legal ethicist, about what it means for the legal professor.

July 21, 2017

Quartz’ Mike Murphy and Jacob Templin talk about the robotics companies that are hiring Pixar engineers to design their robots.

July 20, 2017

Politico’s Dan Diamond reports that after fending off challenges to their tax-exempt status, the biggest hospitals boosted revenue while cutting charity care.

July 19, 2017

A study found adults see black girls as ‘less innocent,’ Jonita Davis says that’s shocking everyone but black moms

July 18, 2017

Ashley Rodriguez says the real fight in the TV streaming wars is not over you. It’s over your kids.

July 15, 2017

The Atlantic’s Adrienne Lafrance tells us about the technology that makes it difficult to discern between videos of real people and avatars who can be programmed to say anything.

July 13, 2017

Journalist Nathan Kohrman argues that medical schools should do more to accommodate students with disabilities, and we talk to one such student, Molly Fausone.

July 11, 2017

The Atlantic’s David Graham breaks down the latest development in the Trump camp Russian collusion saga.

July 11, 2017

Racked’ Eliza Brooke explores why American women are so obsessed with French lifestyle brands. Illustration by Rebecca Clarke.

July 10, 2017

The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan reports dentists are surprisingly well organized, and they have a political tool unlike any other.

July 6, 2017

Quartz’ Nikhil Sonnad found surprising similarities in the products on Goop’s and Infowars’ online stores.

July 3, 2017

Writing for Vox, Allison Yarrow writes the U.S. is one of the most dangerous places to have a baby.

June 30, 2017

ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum thinks TMZ has playing the access journalism game and winning. Or are they losing?

June 29, 2017

Wired’s Issie Lapowski went to her old middle school to check in on kids going through a News Literacy Project curriculum.

June 26, 2017

Writing for The Atlantic, Helaine Olen explored all the ways people try to raise money to pay for their medical bills.

June 23, 2017

In an investigation for Bloomberg, Cam Simpson found that American chip manufacturers outsourced their toxic chipmaking processes to South Korea.

June 22, 2017

60dB’s Brenda Salinas and Vice’s Ankita Rao have a frank discussion about their first-hand frustrations with movies about eating disorders.

June 21, 2017

The Washington Post’s William Wan explores why Big Tobacco targets rural Americans.

June 20, 2017

T.R. Reid says we could save a huge amount of money if we accepted that we’re all going to die.

June 19, 2017

Vice’s tech editor Noah Kulwin says Spotify is in a pickle.

June 16, 2017

We can all agree the shooting in Virginia was a tragedy. Let it also be an opportunity for substantive conversation.

June 15, 2017

Concealed Carry Magazine’s Kevin Michalowski says the Congressional shooting is an example of why more people should legally carry guns.

The Week’s Anthony Fisher writes a plea for sympathy and restraint after the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise on Wednesday morning.

June 14, 2017

Political Scientist Robert Spitzer analyzes why pro-gun groups typically don’t make public statements about mass shootings.

June 14, 2017

Writing for the Atlantic, Michael Frank explains how farms in upstate New York are dealing with the fear of worker deportation.

June 12, 2017

Quartz’ Special Projects Editor Lauren Brown gives us 3 bite-sized business stories.

June 9, 2017

The Guardian’s Oliver Laughland takes us behind a new immigration court in Louisiana.

June 8, 2017

Writing for Buzzfeed, Doug Bock Clark explains why the U.S. is trying to remake the world’s prisons.

June 7, 2017

The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger explains this mismatch strikes right at the heart of a lot of concerns about the Trump family’s business interests.

June 6, 2017

Quartz’ fashion correspondent Marc Bain takes a closer look at organic fashion.

June 5, 2017

The Washington Post’s Emma Brown reports that with the state budget in crisis, nearly a fifth of Oklahoma school districts are holding school just four days a week.

June 2, 2017

The Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell reports this isn’t the first time Jared Kushner has been in a crisis.

June 1, 2017

Iowa native Aaron Calvin says the housing crisis in Des Moines is worse than Brooklyn.

May 31, 2017

Wired’s Nick Stockton loves drama, and this is a big ethical conundrum.

May 30, 2017

HuffPost’ Roque Planas explains the Trump administration doesn’t really need Congress to act on its immigration initiatives.

May 26, 2017

Writing for The Cut, Hayley Phelan puts a name to a phenomenon you’ve probably experienced.

May 25, 2017

Daniel Cox says atheists are undercounted because of social stigma.

May 24, 2017

City Lab Latino’s Juan Pablo Garnham explains the real story behind the alarming headlines.

May 23, 2017

Russian-American journalist Alyona Minkovski explains the uncomfortable feeling of wanting to express pride in her heritage and culture colliding with the media’s recent demonization of all things Russian.

May 22, 2017

May 18, 2017

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump gives us a timeline of how this might go down.

May 18, 2017

The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan says American’s teeth are a symbol of the divide between rich and poor.

May 17, 2017

Paul Roberts writes for Mother Jones that rich Chinese buyers have created a Canadian housing bubble.

May 16, 2017

In the months following the Indianapolis’ Star investigation, 80 gymnasts have come forward to allege USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sexually assaulted them.

May 13, 2017

University of Chicago economist Greg Kaplan analyzed American’s lifetime incomes for the National Bureau of Economic Research

May 11, 2017

Freelance writer Dan Solomon wrote a piece for Wired about how Uber and Lyft are lobbying the state legislature to overturn a local city ordinance.

May 10, 2017

The Development Set’s Kristance Harlow writes across the United States, emergency dispatch services are consolidating, and in many cases, run privately. In rural areas, it could mean the difference between life and death.

May 9, 2017

The Washington Post’s Monica Hesse talks about why the Handmaid’s Tale is resonating with so many young women.

May 5, 2017

Writing for The Financial Time, Ian Leslie argues the Golden Age of Tv is about to end.

May 4, 2017

Slate’s Mark Stern says the Tar Heel State is giving us a glimpse of America under four years of Trump.

May 2, 2017

The Guardian’s Ben Tarnoff says being busy is like a luxury good.

April 28, 2017

Buzzfeed’s Nitasha Tiku definitely thinks the Facebook CEO isn’t running for president — so why is he acting like a politician?

April 27, 2017

When I was 18, I took an oath to become an American citizen. This is my story, and this is why the issue of immigration is so important to me.

Trump might not fully appreciate how his antagonistic tone towards Mexico is harming one of the single most important relationships that the U.S. has. But Mexico doesn’t seem like it’s going to take that without a fight — maybe even installing its own Trump equivalent.

April 26, 2017

The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips explains Trump might not be able to get his border wall funded by Congress, but his isolationist immigration agenda is more likely to get funded.

April 25, 2017

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says border apprehensions are down by 30% year to year. So why is the Trump administration building a new detention center in Texas? 60db’s Brenda Salinas reports.

April 24, 2017

Axios’ Steve Levine says retail workers could organize and become a political force, like coal miners.

April 21, 2017

Michael Luca found that bad yelp reviews make it more likely that a restaurant will go out of business after a minimum wage hike, no matter if it’s $ or $$$$.

April 18, 2017

Politico’s Michael Grunwald explains the Congressional Review Act and why it matters.

April 15, 2017

The Washington Post’s Ana Swanson breaks down the fiscal policies Trump appears to be changing his mind on.

April 14, 2017

The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey explains how Pope Francis is advocating for the rights of migrants.

April 13, 2017

Civil Rights attorney Dan Canon couldn’t even find the man he was supposed to represent in immigration court.

April 12, 2017

Quartz’ Special Project editor Lauren Brown gives us an introduction to Index, a site for short little stories about finance and economics you can swipe through on your phone.

April 11, 2017

The Washington Post’s John Wagner says the case boils down to who owns the White House Visitor logs — the Trump administration or the Secret Service?

April 7, 2017

Wired’s Megan Moltani breaks wellness apps into three different categories, and one of them is grey.

April 6, 2017

When the leaders of the two largest economies in the world meet, you’d expect them to talk about the biggest threat to their labor forces — automation

April 5, 2017

From CityLab, Laura Bliss found some shocking findings by cross-referencing two health data sets.

April 4, 2017

The Atlantic’s Megan Garber says brands are making claims not just about what people should buy, but about what people should be.

April 2, 2017

Quartz’s Mike Murphy says imitation is the most profitable form of flattery.

March 31, 2017

Wired’s Emily Dreyfus wrote a controversial piece about why Silicon Valley Titans are obsessed with transhumanism.

March 30, 2017

The Atlantic’s David Graham thinks the failure of the AHCA might be Trump’s best day in office.

March 29, 2017

Axios’ Political Reporter Jonathan Swan says to do both, Trump will have to win over Democrats.

March 28, 2017

Gizmodo’s Ryan Mandelbaum reports on science sting to take down fraudulent academic journals.

March 27, 2017

Wired’s Garrett M. Graff chronicles the FBI’s hunt for America’s most wanted hacker.

March 24, 2017

In The Atlantic’s April cover story, Liza Mundy wonders why a new industry isn’t more innovative when it comes to gender diversity.

March 23, 2017

Quartz’s Sarah Kessler says IBM was a pioneer of letting employees work remotely, but now they changed their mind.

March 22, 2017

Axios’ Jonathan Swan says the bill’s authors are struggling to please both Republican moderates and the far-right.

March 21, 2017

The Atlantic’s Clare Foran gives a recap of Day 1 of the confirmation hearing and a look ahead to day 2.

March 20, 2017

Neil Harbisson has a surgically-implanted antenna that helps him hear color.

March 17, 2017

When it comes to cyber attacks, we don’t really have any red lines.

March 15, 2017

60dB reporters Daisy Rosario and Brenda Salinas give you a rundown of all the new technology they saw at SXSW.

March 13, 2017

Quartz’ Leah Fessler shows you how to look for visual clues that employees might not be happy.

March 10, 2017

The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins dug into Trump’s history.

March 8, 2017

Quartz’ Ana Campoy says Trump, yes Trump, might be the president that finally achieves comprehensive immigration reform.

March 7, 2017

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin says conservative politicians are doing some risky calculus.

March 6, 2017

Photographer Sima Diab spent time on a refugee rescue ship off the coast of Libya

March 3, 2017

Politico’s Josh Meyer points out the parallels and the differences.

March 2, 2017

Fusion’s Rafael Fernandez de Castro and Tim Rodgers discuss how Mexico could hit back at the Trump administration

March 1, 2017

Politico’s Ben Schreckinger thought he was in shape, until he tried RBG’s workout.

February 28, 2017

The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis gives us a preview of what Trump might say tonight.

February 27, 2017

Quartz’ Leah Fessler spent last week saying some pretty nasty things to robots — for science.

February 23, 2017

The Atlantic’s Supreme Court correspondent Garrett Epps weighs in on Hernandez v Mesa

February 23, 2017

Quartz’ Steve Levine says for the American press, Trump is just a drill.

February 22, 2017

Vox’s Dara Lind gives us the lowdown on Secretary Kelly’s memos to the Department of Homeland Security

February 21, 2017

The Atlantic’s David Frum outlines what an effective protest movement would look like.

February 20, 2017

Research shows immigrants actually decrease an area’s crime rate.

February 17, 2017

Wired writer Emily Dreyfuss explains the Illusory Truth Effect

February 16, 2017

Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker asks if VP Mike Pence is outside of President Trump’s inner circle.

February 15, 2017

Fusion’s Jorge Rivas talks about the nationwide ICE operation that detained over 680 immigrants over 5 days.

February 13, 2017

The Atlantic’s David Graham wonders if Trump might vote one of his advisors off the island.

February 9, 2017

The Washington Post’s Andrew Blake thinks we could be heading towards a constitutional crisis.

February 9, 2017

Quartz’ David Yanofsky breaks down his interactive graph documenting the breath of Mexican imports.

February 8, 2017

Quartz’s Gwynn Guilford unpacks what Trump’s chief policy advisor wants to accomplish.

February 7, 2017

The Washington Post’s Renae Merle discusses Trump’s evolving relationship with Wall St.

February 4, 2017

Football player Zac Easter suffered from CTE — but he never played past high school. Reid Forgrave, as well as Zac himself, tells the story of Zac’s football-induced descent into darkness.

February 2, 2017

What are the mass-surveillance implications of drug-testing sewage?

February 1, 2017

The Washington Post’s Darla Cameron talks about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

January 31, 2017

Victoria Advocate Editor Chris Cobler talks about the fire that ravaged a Muslim community in Texas

January 31, 2017

Wired’s Klint Finley talks about why all the apps to contact your representatives might have unintended consequences.

January 30, 2017

Brendan Koerner talks to Brenda Salinas about a controversial program in Minneapolis that tries to rehabilitate wannabe terrorists.

January 28, 2017

Buzzfeed writer Doree Shafrir talks about NBC’s runaway hit, This is US

January 28, 2017

Foreign Policy’s Molly O’Toole explains what Trump’s actions on refugees and Arab immigrants really mean.

January 27, 2017

What if you could shrink the government and keep all the good stuff?

January 26, 2017

President Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promises.

January 25, 2017

Secretary of Health and Human Services had a second confirmation hearing yesterday.

January 24, 2017

Trump’s executive pen got a workout.

January 23, 2017

Philanthropists, governments and vaccine makers are investing 500 million dollars to save the world.

January 22, 2017

For the Trump administration, counting crowds is a political act.

January 20, 2017

Democrats are unprepared for the age of President Donald Trump.

January 19, 2017

President Obama’s last minute pardons don’t alter his legacy of attacking whistleblowers.

January 19, 2017

Trump’s transition stumbles into office with key vacancies and a fundamental disagreement on Russia.

January 18, 2017

President-Elect Trump just threatened to dismantle the American-European Alliance as we know it.

January 17, 2017

There are lots of people staring gofundme campaigns to cover medical bills

January 13, 2017

We haven’t had a billionaire president, but we have had a billionaire mayor — Michael Bloomberg

January 12, 2017

It’s not just blue collar workers who should be concerned.

January 10, 2017

Today is going to be a crazy day in politics.

January 9, 2017

How do women deal with unwanted pregnancies when legal abortion isn’t accessible?

December 23, 2016

A new study says the U.S. looses billions of dollars by not legalizing unauthorized workers.

December 22, 2016

2,500 business have popped up in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

December 21, 2016

Will women have to compete with submissive robots?

December 19, 2016

For something she did during her time as France’s Chief Finance Minister.

December 19, 2016

Conservative Christian Mark Baurlein makes the case for Donald Trump.

December 16, 2016

Two scientists are making big waves in the physics community with their new theoretical research.

December 15, 2016

Is the Fed acting out of political partisanship like Donald Trump says?

December 14, 2016

When Sameer Siddiqi was in junior high, 2 FBI agents knocked on his family’s door.

December 13, 2016

Why is President-Elect Donald Trump forming such a brass-heavy cabinet?

December 12, 2016

Trump’s Carrier deal has nothing on Enrique Peña Nieto’s Walmart score.

December 9, 2016

After a tragedy, Oakland must reckon with its affordability crisis

December 8, 2016

Kimberly Lyle thinks African-Americans should stop lionizing Castro as champion of black liberation

Analysts say the “Tough Love” industry is worth 1.2 billion dollars.

December 6, 2016

The economy is changing, but there are still good middle class jobs out there.

December 5, 2016

The hash tage #AirbnbWhileBlack highlights just how easily discrimination can reshape the sharing economy. But online marketplaces didn’t always work this way. And if they are well designed they don’t have to. The first generation of online marketplaces, including eBay, Amazon, and Priceline, made it hard for sellers to discriminate. Transactions were conducted with relative anonymity.

December 1, 2016

Fake news isn’t a recent problem in the US — it almost destroyed Abraham Lincoln

Donald Trump has called for a national awakening in the U.S. — but really he is sparking one in Mexico.

November 29, 2016

Can a fringe group like the Alt-Right really affect our politics?

November 23, 2016

Trump’s plan focuses on trade, deregulation, tax cuts and spending.

November 22, 2016

What can you do if a kid you know is experiencing racial bullying?

November 21, 2016

What does the way Vice President-Elect Mike Pence reacted to an HIV outbreak as governor in Indiana tell us about his relationship with science?

November 17, 2016

There are signs of chaos in Trump’s transition team.

November 17, 2016

Caitlin Leach was surprised at her classmates’ reaction to Trump’s election.

November 16, 2016

President Elect Donald Trump has promised to punish so-called “sanctuary cities”.

November 14, 2016

Young undocumented immigrants who obtained protected status through President Obama’s executive action face an uncertain future under a Trump administration.

November 11, 2016

Yes, it is possible for Trump and Clinton supporters to have productive (and calm) conversations.

November 9, 2016

Trump’s victory astounded pollsters and was likely driven by high turnout amongst unlikely voters.

November 8, 2016

If you want to help voters stuck in long lines, send them a pizza!

The Latino vote is shaping up to be decisive in 2016. What happens next?

November 8, 2016

It turns out pockets are a political construct.

November 7, 2016

Some experts say it’s the legal way to steal an election.

November 4, 2016

New documents show that AT&T is spying on Americans for profit.

November 3, 2016

Walmart raised it’s base wage and sales actually went up, does that mean we should raise the federal minimum wage?

Why is Facebook promoting bogus news stories?

November 1, 2016

So what would happen if non-Koreans attempted to break into the scene and channel that same pop aesthetic? Well, we’re about to find out.

November 1, 2016

It’s 11 times bigger than the White House, and it’s a lot more interesting.

One school in St. Louis found an unlikely cause of absenteeism and it did something about it.

October 31, 2016

Want to get more women with kids to work full time?

October 28, 2016

Trump’s vague and reckless calls for supporters to “monitor” elections is voter intimidation, and it may be illegal under the Voting Rights Act.

October 28, 2016

If you want to save the birds, you may have to kill the cats.

October 26, 2016

Executive powers have expanded over the last few terms

October 25, 2016

Analysis suggests people will never live much beyond 115 but some scientists say that it’s too soon to assume a fixed shelf-life.

October 21, 2016

The battle to retake a city from ISIS is being live-streamed

October 18, 2016

A new federal program signed up hordes of eager students — just as the industry went bust.

October 18, 2016

It’s more than a victory lap, the Clinton campaign is spending money in traditionally red states.

October 17, 2016

Data-driven software promises to eliminate long waits

Think you can tell when your kid is lying? Think again

October 14, 2016

Many men, in fact, see Trump as the candidate who can restore men’s status in society. According to several recent analyses, about half of men feel American culture has become too soft and feminine, and they feel men are suffering as a result.

October 14, 2016

Several recent studies show that when men feel persecuted, they turn to Donald Trump for affirmation.

Several recent studies show that when men feel persecuted, they turn to Donald Trump for affirmation.

The story might sound familiar.

October 13, 2016

Sexual assault on planes maybe more common than you think.

October 11, 2016

Making your tweet go viral is no accident.

October 10, 2016

Brenda Salinas interviews Jared Lindzon about new research on the ways people quit their jobs and what employers can learn from losing an employee.

October 10, 2016

The way someone chooses to leave their job can serve as a “diagnostic tool” for the company.

October 7, 2016

Try real-life dating is hard? Try seducing a fictional character

October 6, 2016

Shirley Jackson became a literary icon in 1948 while raising 4 kids

October 5, 2016

The great veep debate of 2016.

October 4, 2016

What is the moral cost of subscription meal boxes?

October 3, 2016

Meet the guy biohacking puppies to make them glow in the dark.

September 30, 2016

Who run the world? Kids who scored high on the SAT at age 12

September 29, 2016

Have you ever thought about what will happen to your social media posts when you die?

September 28, 2016

Do you know where your old electronics are?

September 27, 2016

One a girl goes to juvenile court, it can be hard to escape the system.

September 23, 2016

Despite recent events in Tulsa if Police want to cut down on the shootings of unarmed citizens they should hire more women.

September 23, 2016

Chris Christie was on the baseball team in high school. David Wildstein was the team statistician. He’s been a sidekick ever since — but soon he might take the Governor down.

September 22, 2016

Research shows adding more women to the force helps reduce police brutality.

September 21, 2016

Expensive American cities need to embrace group living. A messy fight in Colorado shows how hard that can be.

September 20, 2016

The best thing our society could do to stop police brutality might be treat PTSD among cops.

September 20, 2016

To win the election, Hillary Clinton needs to get millennials of color to turn out the vote.

September 19, 2016

The first think piece about Millennials that won’t make you want to puke

September 15, 2016

Kentucky’s 2016 teacher of the year says all kids need time for exploration and play.

September 14, 2016

Jerry Hayes was beloved by beekeepers all over American. Then he did the unthinkable, he took a job at Monsanto.

September 13, 2016

Richmond was once the epicenter of black finance. What happened there explains the decline of black-owned banks across the country.

September 9, 2016

Airlines are surprisingly ill-equipped to handle accusations of sexual assault on their planes.

September 8, 2016

WhatsApp has become a virtual lifeline for the only “doctors” remaining in small town in Syria.

September 7, 2016

Digital learning systems now charge students for access codes needed to complete coursework, take quizzes, and turn in homework.

Brenda Salinas at 60dB

All the stories Brenda Salinas made for 60dB.

September 16, 2017

Reporter Brenda Salinas wanted to understand how detaining immigrants can be such a profitable business for private prison companies.

September 15, 2017

A Stanford computer science major developed a free tool to help Americans take Equifax to small claims court.

August 29, 2017

60dB reporter Brenda Salinas is in her hometown of Houston during Tropical Storm Harvey.

August 29, 2017

60dB’s Brenda Salinas talks to Jeff Masters, he’s the co-founder of Weather Underground, a web site that meteorologists go to get inside information about severe weather.

August 29, 2017

Geopolitics reporter Max de Haldevang says this is a serious blow to American soft power.

August 25, 2017

After Tropical Storm Allison devastated the Houston Medical Center in 2001, the area’s 21 hospitals banded together to make sure it never happens again.

August 24, 2017

Axios’ Alexi McCammond says Chief of Staff John Kelly can only do so much to keep President Donald Trump in line.

August 22, 2017

Axios’ Deputy News Desk Editor Dave Lawler gives us the debrief on Trump’s prime-time Presidential address.

August 18, 2017

Axios’ Alayna Treene explains what Trump could be thinking.

August 17, 2017

Reverend Ann Willet of First United Methodist Church in Dallas Texas had a sermon go viral.

August 16, 2017

Laura Smith writes women have been an integral part of white supremacist movements throughout history.

August 11, 2017

Axios’ Dan Primack has the scoop: Benchmark Capital is suing Uber Founder Travis Kalanick for fraud.

August 10, 2017

Axios’ Mike Allen says the culture wars have finally come to Silicon Valley.

July 31, 2017

Quartz’ special projects editor Lauren Brown brings us three bite-sized business stories from Quartz Index.

July 27, 2017

How can blue cities fight back against red states? Molly Cohen, associate counsel with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. has four lines of defense.

Reporter Robbie Gramer unpacks rumors of a so-called “Rexit” at the State Department.

July 25, 2017

Brenda Salinas met Joshua Browder, a Stanford computer science major who is automating legal aid and talked to Renee Knake, a legal ethicist, about what it means for the legal professor.

July 21, 2017

Quartz’ Mike Murphy and Jacob Templin talk about the robotics companies that are hiring Pixar engineers to design their robots.

July 20, 2017

Politico’s Dan Diamond reports that after fending off challenges to their tax-exempt status, the biggest hospitals boosted revenue while cutting charity care.

July 19, 2017

A study found adults see black girls as ‘less innocent,’ Jonita Davis says that’s shocking everyone but black moms

July 18, 2017

Ashley Rodriguez says the real fight in the TV streaming wars is not over you. It’s over your kids.

July 15, 2017

The Atlantic’s Adrienne Lafrance tells us about the technology that makes it difficult to discern between videos of real people and avatars who can be programmed to say anything.

July 13, 2017

Journalist Nathan Kohrman argues that medical schools should do more to accommodate students with disabilities, and we talk to one such student, Molly Fausone.

July 11, 2017

The Atlantic’s David Graham breaks down the latest development in the Trump camp Russian collusion saga.

July 11, 2017

Racked’ Eliza Brooke explores why American women are so obsessed with French lifestyle brands. Illustration by Rebecca Clarke.

July 10, 2017

The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan reports dentists are surprisingly well organized, and they have a political tool unlike any other.

July 6, 2017

Quartz’ Nikhil Sonnad found surprising similarities in the products on Goop’s and Infowars’ online stores.

July 3, 2017

Writing for Vox, Allison Yarrow writes the U.S. is one of the most dangerous places to have a baby.

June 30, 2017

ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum thinks TMZ has playing the access journalism game and winning. Or are they losing?

June 29, 2017

Wired’s Issie Lapowski went to her old middle school to check in on kids going through a News Literacy Project curriculum.

June 26, 2017

Writing for The Atlantic, Helaine Olen explored all the ways people try to raise money to pay for their medical bills.

June 23, 2017

In an investigation for Bloomberg, Cam Simpson found that American chip manufacturers outsourced their toxic chipmaking processes to South Korea.

June 22, 2017

60dB’s Brenda Salinas and Vice’s Ankita Rao have a frank discussion about their first-hand frustrations with movies about eating disorders.

June 21, 2017

The Washington Post’s William Wan explores why Big Tobacco targets rural Americans.

June 20, 2017

T.R. Reid says we could save a huge amount of money if we accepted that we’re all going to die.

June 19, 2017

Vice’s tech editor Noah Kulwin says Spotify is in a pickle.

June 16, 2017

We can all agree the shooting in Virginia was a tragedy. Let it also be an opportunity for substantive conversation.

June 15, 2017

Concealed Carry Magazine’s Kevin Michalowski says the Congressional shooting is an example of why more people should legally carry guns.

The Week’s Anthony Fisher writes a plea for sympathy and restraint after the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise on Wednesday morning.

June 14, 2017

Political Scientist Robert Spitzer analyzes why pro-gun groups typically don’t make public statements about mass shootings.

June 14, 2017

Writing for the Atlantic, Michael Frank explains how farms in upstate New York are dealing with the fear of worker deportation.

June 12, 2017

Quartz’ Special Projects Editor Lauren Brown gives us 3 bite-sized business stories.

June 9, 2017

The Guardian’s Oliver Laughland takes us behind a new immigration court in Louisiana.

June 8, 2017

Writing for Buzzfeed, Doug Bock Clark explains why the U.S. is trying to remake the world’s prisons.

June 7, 2017

The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger explains this mismatch strikes right at the heart of a lot of concerns about the Trump family’s business interests.

June 6, 2017

Quartz’ fashion correspondent Marc Bain takes a closer look at organic fashion.

June 5, 2017

The Washington Post’s Emma Brown reports that with the state budget in crisis, nearly a fifth of Oklahoma school districts are holding school just four days a week.

June 2, 2017

The University of Chicago sent a welcome letter to all new students warning that the University won’t censor controversial speech or offer trigger warnings in class.

September 2, 2016

Black students at an elite South African school are protesting for their right to wear natural hair

September 1, 2016

Does showing pictures of terrorist create empathy for terrorists?

August 31, 2016

When young, upwardly mobile Latinos move back to their old neighborhoods, some residents are wary of the changes they bring.

August 29, 2016

Researchers are using artificial intelligence to identify speech patterns associated with the early stages of schizophrenia.

August 29, 2016

This catchy vocal fluctuation is showing up all over pop music.

August 25, 2016

Epi Pen’s profits are up 600%

August 25, 2016

Private prisons are unlikely to disappear, despite the Obama administration’s decision to stop using them within the federal prison system.

August 24, 2016

Ryan Lochte and Donald Trump gave seemingly insincere apologies to the press, is it a sign of the times?

No way is Trump going to lose Texas, so why is hold a rally in proud-to-be-blue Austin?

August 23, 2016

Chicago uses predictive algorithms to get ahead of likely crime — but instead of using these tools to deliver help victims they may have become a cyber drag net.

August 22, 2016

Is a feminist icon responsible for the misogynist statements her employees make?

August 17, 2016

Bloomberg reporter Esmé E. Deprez took a 3000 mile bus trip across the United States to speak with voters

August 17, 2016

A new Pew Research Center study shows that segregation is alive and well on social media

We are living in a segregated social media world.

August 16, 2016

Woodpeckers constantly bang their heads against trees, and you don’t see them wearing little bird helmets.

August 15, 2016

A Christian football coach is suing his school district for not letting him lead a prayer on the field, and that’s where the Satanists come in.

August 12, 2016

How the Philippines’ new leader is letting people get away with murder

It’s not the Olympics, but there are still blood, sweat and tears at the Microsoft Office World Championships

August 11, 2016

The Media’s Olympic coverage reminds us how taxing it is to be a female athlete

August 10, 2016

Are license plate readers that were installed to fight terrorism being used to fine and ticket low income communities?

Chinese women are paying $60,000 for a professional to befriend the ‘other woman’ and break up their husband’s affair.

August 8, 2016

An Indy Star investigation revealed that USA Gymnastics repeatedly failed to investigate charges of sex abuse

August 4, 2016

Ticket bot software helps tech-savvy scalpers make millions off Broadway hit ‘Hamilton’

August 3, 2016

This year a team of refugees will compete at the Olympic games

August 3, 2016

Molly O’Toole takes us on a trip to Tripoli and explains what’s up with the recent US bombing.

August 2, 2016

Heated rhetoric on immigration has Latino voters riled up and ready for November.

August 2, 2016

Immigration rhetoric has Latino voters riled up.

July 28, 2016

Donald Trump is seeking to hire more foreign guest workers for his companies

July 27, 2016

After the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Police have been increasing their presence in gay spaces, but not everyone feels safer.

July 25, 2016

Tim Kaine speaks Spanish. Latinos need more than that to be impressed.

July 23, 2016

Russia is facing a likely ban from the Olympics in Rio. Emily Tamkin outlines what is know about the Russian doping program.

July 22, 2016

What’s said inside an Uber at the RNC.

July 20, 2016

Square is guilting us into tipping basically everyone.

July 20, 2016

There is a billion dollar battle over a new gene splicing technique called Crispr

July 20, 2016

A federal appeals court rules the Texas Voter ID law is discriminatory

July 20, 2016

Its official, Trump is the nominee. Christie Attacks. Tiffany Charms

July 19, 2016

Is it cool to use Black Lives Matter as your Starbucks name?

July 19, 2016

Protesters have been told not to bring soap boxes or pillow to the RNC…but guns, guns are ok.

Yelp ratings may be predictor of how restaurants fare after a minimum wage increase

Get the full story on Marketplace.

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Some restaurants owners have argued that raising the minimum wage may force them to close, or cut staff. Now a new study suggests that this only really happens to restaurants with lower customer satisfaction ratings as measured by Yelp.

In January the minimum wage in Palo Alto, California, increased from  $11 an hour to $12 an hour. “When the increase happened everybody was a little bit happy,” said Edita Buran, a waitress at local restaurant Calafia Cafe.

But Buran has noticed that the restaurant has cut back on staffing for each shift. “It’s increasing the load on each person drastically,” said Buran.

Buran works at a restaurant with three and half stars on Yelp. Restaurants in that category are 14 percent more likely to go out of business after a $1 minimum wage increase, said Michael Luca, professor of business at Harvard University and one of the authors of the study.

“Basically the five and four and a half star restaurants are completely insulated from changes to the minimum wage,” Luca said. “What we see though, is that two star and three star restaurant are heavily affected by changes in the minimum wage.”

Luca got raw data from Yelp about all the restaurants in the Bay Area where there have been a lot of city-level minimum wage increases. His theory is that restaurants with higher levels of customer satisfaction are able to pass on higher labor costs to their customers. Restaurants with lower ratings can’t do that.

“We’re on that cusp point,” said Pedro Castaneda, Buran’s  manager at Calafia Cafe.

Paychecks have gotten fatter since the wage hike, but Castaneda said there are other factors contributing to the slowdown, like summer vacation.  He said the restaurant is holding on. “I think if it goes any higher we will definitely feel it,” Castaneda said.

But Castaneda doesn’t think the restaurant would actually close. “What would probably end up happening is we would have to either get someone who could do multiple jobs or rely on technology a little more to cut back our staff,” he said.

Luca said he’s heard that one before. “I think it’s rare to find a business that thinks it’s going to close,” said Luca. But, he adds, if the restaurant has managed to stay open this long after the minimum wage increase, all signs are good.

 

Press: 60db

I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible team. We are finally ready to share a little bit more about what we’re cooking up.

Check out the full write-up on Nieman Lab.

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A new audio startup focuses on tailoring a playlist of short form stories that fit into a listener’s day

60dB, named for the volume at which a human speaks and founded by a former Planet Money reporter and two others with backgrounds at Netflix, is being teased as a “service for high-quality, short-form stories.”
Give the people what they want, when they want it, where they want it. It’s the mandate of streaming services like Spotify or Netflix, but the thinking around on-demand, personalized content has fully permeated the world of audio storytelling. (Seriously, search “Netflix of podcasting.” Every shiny new audio service has gotten the aspirational label, from Audible’s Channels to NPR One to Howl to Gimlet).

Now there’s one more new audio service on the horizon, co-founded by former NPR Planet Money reporter Steve Henn along withJohn Ciancutti and Steve McLendon, both with long histories at — wait for it — Netflix. 60dB, named for the volume at which a (calm) human speaks, is being teased as a “service for high-quality, short-form stories,” though the co-founders were more reticent about sharing too many details of its inner workings when I spoke to them prior to the announcement of the service Thursday morning (Ciancutti, Henn, and McLendon’s company is called Tiny Garage Labs).

60dB will start off as an iOS app, and then move into a broader universe of devices. A working version of the product exists and has been tested within a tiny group, but isn’t being released to the broader public just yet, though you can sign up to get notified when it is available. (I haven’t played with it either, and the team isn’t releasing screenshots or other materials at the moment).But in broad strokes: Users open the app, and it take signals from what subjects and types of stories and even people they’ve indicated they like, and 60dB will refine that feed of stories over time. The stories available on the platform will be easily searchable and contain familiar content aggregated from elsewhere, but also plenty of shortform content is new for the platform — emphasis on short.

There are “incredible stories people aren’t getting to hear,” Henn told me, whether because the length of many of the available podcasts “don’t fit into people’s lives,” or because it’s too difficult to discover shorter programming in single place.

I left @planetmoney to build this: @the60dB. If you tell stories I think we have something you will want to try.https://medium.com/@HennsEggs/tell-the-stories-you-want-to-tell-4527a57f50b8#.3n8yfcpyh 

Photo published for Tell the stories you want to tell.

Tell the stories you want to tell.

Find an audience around the world.

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I immediately thought of Acast’sattempts to emphasize diverse creators and niche interests, and of the constantly personalizing feed that NPR One offers. Henn and Ciancutti said that NPR One was a reasonable comparison: “But we wouldn’t be building this if we didn’t genuinely believe there wasn’t a good option already out there.” (I also immediately jumped to other conclusions, but 60dB isapparently not where NPR One lead Sara Sarasohn, who is leaving NPR, is headed)60dB also intends to offer data to the people creating for the platform, and not just barebones metrics. One of Henn’s last stories for Planet Money was about A/B testing, for which the team actually tested the effectiveness of the Planet Money episode lede on NPR One.

“One of the things we realized when we can see this type of data is that people can tune out of a story skip or tune out very early, first few seconds, first minute or two of a longer podcast. If you’re going to lose a chunk of your audience, that’s the point at which you lose them,” Henn said. “So just knowing that allows you to think really carefully about what’s the best way to reduce this. That’s tremendously powerful. This is something I really want to share this with everyone else who might be doing this for a living. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. This is late in my career, and now I’m going ‘ah ha!’”

The team declined to say more when I asked about who was paying for Tiny Garage Labs’ work and what the revenue model going forward would be, but Ciancutti dropped a small hint at the direction the team might prefer to go.

“We are not telling our funding story right now. We’ve got plenty of thoughts on monetization, but no one point of view on that at this point,” he said. “But you can see there’s three co-founders, and two of us spent twelve years at Netflix. Looking at our backgrounds you could imagine some of the biases that we have.”

“Netflix was a powerful example of how you can build a company to change consumer behavior in an industry like television, but also create a business model that really has lead to a golden age for high quality television,” Henn added. “The way the industry works now supports more great stuff than ever before. And that’s not a given when a media institution makes the transition into the digital world. That’s what I left Planet Money to work on.”

In Mariachi Music, A Distinctive Yell Speaks To The Soul

 

A screen displays the concert of Mexican folk singer Vicente Fernández in Guadalajara, Mexico, in April, when Fernández announced his retirement.

 

 

Do you know that feeling when a song moves you so much, you just feel like you have to add your own voice? Mexican culture has an answer to that: a cathartic, joyous yell called a grito.

Growing Up Hearing Gritos

Like lots of Mexican-American kids, Contreras and I grew up hearing the adults in our lives performing gritos when they listened to mariachi music at family barbecues, or cheering on friends and family at graduation.

“In my family, my mother and my grandfather, her step-dad, when we would be at family parties like Christmas or something like that, we’d be in the other room playing, we’d hear a really loud grito, we knew the party was on, it just took it to a different level,” Contreras says. “It was the ultimate expression that we were really having a good time.”

I am pretty sure I could identify my tíos and tías by their gritos, and many Mexican-American children begin finding their own grito voice early.

 

Like many schools in Texas, students at Perez Elementary school in Austin have the opportunity to learn and perform mariachi music. Their teacher, Angela Machado, is too busy teaching them chords and song lyrics to teach them gritos. “It is not part of the curriculum necessarily but I know a lot of them do already know how,” she says.

Third graders Leo Garcia, Jose Jaimes, Mario Flores and Angelita Alivter Cardenas show me their gritos. They sound like lion cubs learning how to roar.

If they want to keep working on their gritos, these kids may have a chance in college. Ezekiel Castro is a lecturer at the University of Texas Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. He is also director of the school’s mariachi ensemble and teaches about mariachi culture. The grito is an important part of that.

“The Mexicans are very emotional people,” says Castro. “When they hear mariachi music, whether it’s because of sorrow or because of joy, they do these gritos, these yells.” Castro says his students do a much better grito than he does. “Some people are just exquisite with it. Others, you know, we just do the best we can.”

Gritos aren’t just emotional; they’re political. One of Mexico’s founding fathers uttered the first documented grito in history when he declared the war for Mexican independence. The president of Mexico does a more formal grito every year on that anniversary, as Enrique Peña Nieto did in 2015.

Grito 101

Laura Gutierrez teaches Mexican performance studies at the University of Texas. She says gritos are complex expressions. “They’re like small narrative capsules, without the narrative that are full of layers of emotion,” Gutierrez says. And belting out a greatgrito feels really good. “When you finally release the last gasp of air, there’s relief,” Gutierrez says.

Video producer Kathryn Gonzalez rediscovered the grito at a 2014 Day of the Dead party in west Texas. “I was the only brown person at the whole party,” Gonzalez says. “There was a little conjunto band and I was so moved, I don’t even really honestly remember the song, but I was compelled to do a grito.”

But there were two things stopping her. “I thought well, A, I don’t know if anyone here would know what that was and why I was doing it,” Gonzalez says. “And B, I thought I don’t really know if I know how to do a good grito, like I’m not sure that I could pull it off.”

So Gonzalez teamed up with a developer friend and created the Grito App.

“You scroll through the different sounds, each sound has its own screen. You can learn a little more about the grito, you can share the grito, you can save it to your videos and just kind of text it or email it around,” Gonzalez says.

Since mariachi music is less popular among newer generations, not that many young people know how to do a good grito. Castro says that’s no reason not to try. “Everybody has their own individual way of doing gritos,” he says. “It’s a great expression.”

Growing Into Gritos

Felix Contreras tried to do a grito when he was a college student at Cal State University Fresno in the late ’70s. His friends would have grito contests after a long night. “It was pathetic. I thought, ‘Ugh, I definitely won’t be doing that again.'”

And even though his alt.latino co-host Jasmine Garsd has been trying to get him to do a grito on-air, Contreras says he won’t do it. “You have to not be afraid to be the subject of attention in a small world,” Contreras says. “You have to use the front of the diaphragm, full of gusto, and release anguish and joy from your soul to do a successfulgrito.”

Contreras has found himself listening to more mariachi music over the years. “It’s an acquired taste as you get older, you experience life’s heartbreaks and joys, the lyrics and the recitations and the performance resonates in a different way,” Contreras says. “It has all the secrets to life in the lyrics. You don’t know that when you’re in your twenties.”

“By the time you hit your forties, Chente knew what he was talking about,” Contreras says. And you might feel inspired to try out your own grito.

Wanna have a tantrum and smash something? Be her guest

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Check out the full story on Marketplace.

 

It’s a tough time to be in Houston right now. Ninety-degree weather, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and the oil and gas sector has been stagnating for the last 18 months. Eighty thousand people have gotten laid off, including Shawn Baker.

“I didn’t see it coming at all, not one bit, and I was very devastated, and I’m still very bitter about it, very bitter,” Baker said.

She took that frustration and decided after 25 years in the oil industry to finally become her own boss. She started a company called Tantrums LLC.

She bought a warehouse and converted it into five small rooms she fills with defunct electronics, glass bottles and anything that will break. For close to $3 a minute, she’ll help you pick out a tool, like a sledgehammer, a baseball bat or a lead pipe, and let you destroy everything in the room.

Television sets are available for trashing.

Television sets are available for trashing.

“Everybody’s had enough at some point of their day or their life or whatever, and so when you come in here, you can be as aggressive as you want in the privacy of your own room. You can let it out or whatever it is you’re in here for, and you don’t have to clean up,” Baker said.

Baker got the idea for the business a few years ago when she saw a few guys beating up some furniture behind a bar.

“I just thought it was genius,” Baker said. “I could see me doing it.”

There’s not much Baker can do about the downturn in oil and gas, but she feels she can help people cope.

“There’s a lot of stress in this city because we’re the energy capital, and there are lot of layoffs happening,” Baker said.

One of her customers, Lance Nolan, is a mid-level manager at a drilling chemical company outside of Houston. Work’s been tough lately.

“We actually had a fracking division and we had to shut it down, had to lay off 35 people the other day,” Nolan said.

That’s why Nolan’s wife, Holly McClellan, decided to bring him to Tantrums LLC as a surprise. They both work in oil and gas, and they care for Porter, their 10-month-old daughter.

Before Nolan starts smashing his room, Baker leads him to the safety equipment.

“The face masks are optional, but you have to wear safety glasses and you have to protect your hands, and [wear] closed-toe shoes and long pants,” Baker said.

Lance Nolan smashes into a TV. When he’s not pulverizing electronics with a sledgehammer, Lance Nolan is a mid-level manager at a drilling chemical company.

Lance Nolan smashes into a TV. When he’s not pulverizing electronics with a sledgehammer, Lance Nolan is a mid-level manager at a drilling chemical company.

Pulverizing electronics and glass objects is relatively safe, Baker said. Every so often customers walk out with cuts and scrapes, which they wear as badges of honor.

Entire offices, as well as couples and friends, come in here for team-bonding activities. If you give her some advance notice, Baker will even set up a themed room for you. A few weeks ago she had a teacher who wanted a replica of his classroom. When he walked out, Baker was surprised to find the room intact.

It turns out the teacher just wanted to scream.

Sledgehammer in hand, Lance Nolan has 15 minutes to smash a room full of glass bottles, an orange schoolroom chair, a bunch of porcelain knick-knacks and a giant TV.

When his session is over,  Nolan comes out drenched in sweat, with a big smile on his face.  He’s out of breath, but he feels good.

His wife tells him next time, it’s his turn to watch the baby. She wants a turn with the sledgehammer.

Mexican American Textbook Wars in Texas

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Get the full story on NPR’s Latino USA.

In Texas, where half of all public school students are Latino, the State Board of Education (SBOE) is in the process of approving a new Mexican American studies textbook. The proposal for the textbook was approved two years ago after a petition for a separate curriculum for Mexican American studies was denied in 2010.

“The official curriculum in the state of Texas underrepresents and misrepresents the historical presence of Mexican origin people in this country as well as women and African Americans,” said Emilio Zamora, a professor of Mexican American history at the University of Texas at Austin.

That’s important, because Latino students who learn about their cultural history are more likely to graduate from high school, according to a University of Arizona study in 2015. In the United States, the dropout rate for Latinos is almost three times higher than it is for non-Latino whites.

Only one textbook has since been submitted for review, but it has attracted scrutiny for its contentious handling of Mexican American history. Zamora fears that it will cause more harm than good.

“It was very offensive that they would select people that are not trained or professional historians in the field of Mexican American history,” he said.

The textbook has been submitted by a new company called Momentum Instruction.

Cynthia Dunbar, a member of Momentum Instruction who also served on the SBOE in 2010, says her company hired authors who could review the history fairly.

“They did not want a biased or a skewed viewpoint, they did not want liberally biased, but neither did they want conservatively biased. They wanted people who were willing to just go out and exhaustively review every side of the issue,” she said.

Texans have until November to submit comments about the book, at which point a committee will review them and make recommendations to the SBOE. If recent history is any indication, it’s going to be a big fight.

Unemployed Oil Workers Find New Home in Solar Industry

Eighty thousand workers have been laid off across the country as the price of oil has plummeted. In Texas, some out-of-work rig hands, pipe fitters and engineers are finding employment in solar energy.

David Webster has been managing the Mission Solar warehouse in San Antonio since February. Before finding work in the solar sector, Webster spent 10 years shipping oil out of rigs all over the world. Now, he makes sure that the solar panels are packaged and distributed to customers across the U.S.

Transitioning to solar energy was an adjustment.

“Learning about the different types of [panels], learning how the whole process works, that was a learning curve,” Webster said. “The warehouse portion and the management people, not so much.”

Something else that’s different about his new job — the money. “Over a year’s period of time, it’s about half,” Webster said.

Mariela Cruz, a hiring manager at OCI Power, said that a 50 percent pay cut is pretty typical for people transitioning from oil and gas to solar energy.

“Not to say that we don’t pay well or anything like that, but definitely we know that there is a pay differential for those employees,” Cruz said.

An entry level job in solar pays about $50,000 a year. At the peak of the oil boom, rig hands could be making six figures. But warehouse manager David Webster said it was a hard life. Spending 28 days on the rig and 28 days off took a toll on him. The recent uncertainty in the oil market convinced him to take a pay cut.

“The stress of not knowing if you were going to get laid off, that was worse,” Webster said. “I don’t have any stress here.”

The recent downturn in the oil market has made solar energy jobs more attractive. When Mariela Cruz posts an opening for a solar technician, for example, she gets about 100 candidates, of which 25 percent come from oil and gas. Her challenge is to weed out those who will leave once oil prices go up again.

“You can generally tell that they’re trying to make a different transition, that they maybe are tired of the ups and the downs,” Cruz said. But she says some people are less genuine.  “There are some that will actually candidly tell you, well, I’m only looking for something until the market changes, and you’re like okay, thank you.”

The Solar Foundation says Texas will add 900 solar jobs this year. That’s about one percent of the people who recently got pink slips in oil and gas. John Tintera is with the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. He says there’s no way this new industry can absorb all of those displaced workers.

“We’re simply not seeing solar having that level of employment,” Tintera said. “If solar continues to grow then I think at least a 20 percent coverage would be something that would not surprise me if I saw that figure in the future.”

But for now, hiring manager Mariela Cruz says getting a job in solar energy is more competitive than ever. She has one bit of advice for oil and gas workers wanting to make the transition: don’t pretend to be a tree hugger and all about renewable energy after a whole career on oilfields.

“After you’ve done [oil and gas] for 20 years it’s kind of hard to say,” Cruz said. “Can I really take that with a grain of salt or not?”

Cruz hopes that the people she hired this year will stay on board, even when oil prices go back up.

Are Gap Years Just For Rich Kids?

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Check out this story that I reported for Hobsons, a monthly education podcast.

For many students, taking a year off between high school and college to travel the world is considered a rite of passage. In the UK, 5 percent of students deferred college admission for a year. But in the U.S, gap years are still the exception. Just one percent of the more than 2 million high school seniors destined for college, decide to take a break. But this may be changing. Malia Obama’s decision to take a gap year before heading off to Harvard shows that idea finally seems to be catching on stateside. The reason? The benefits it can have on a future college experience.