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.

 

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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

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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

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June 7, 2017

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June 6, 2017

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June 5, 2017

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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

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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

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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

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March 23, 2017

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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

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March 17, 2017

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March 15, 2017

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March 13, 2017

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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

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March 3, 2017

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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

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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.

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.

medium.com

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.”

Oil bust forces Texas H-1B visa holders to exit country

Check out the full story on Marketplace.

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Twenty thousand workers have been laid off this year in the oil and gas industry across the country as the price of oil has slumped. The cutbacks are especially hard for foreign workers here on what are known as H-1B visas. For them, getting laid off doesn’t just mean leaving the office, it means leaving the country.

Scottish-born Graeme Slaven loves living in Katy, Texas.

“We like the fact that it’s easy to make friends here, we like the fact that the education system is fantastic,” Slaven said. “We enjoy being able to live in a house that for the same price back in the U.K. would be about a third or a quarter of the size.”

Slaven had survived several rounds of layoffs at the oil and gas security company where he worked for seven years. When his bosses called him into their office a few weeks ago, he wasn’t surprised. “I wasn’t in shock then, I could read the situation,” he said.

 The same thing had happened to a lot of the friends he met at his local golf club. In just a few months, he saw his entire expat community shrink.

“I actually got to the point where I couldn’t face going to any more going-away parties,” Slaven said. “They were happening with increasing regularity.”

Before getting a pink slip, Slaven was in line to get a green card. He owns a home, his sons play on local soccer teams. His youngest, Niall, who’s 9, has lived here since he was a toddler. “There are only, like, two people that I know in Scotland,” he said.

Slaven and his expat friends used to play golf at the Willow Fork Country Club.

“Every Friday during Lent we had fish and chips, and we had a big crowd that showed up for that,” club manager Richard Rowell said. “You know, if an Englishman tells you the fish and chips are pretty good, you have a thumbs up.”

The exodus of foreign oil workers has hit the club pretty hard in the last few months.

“Eighty to 100 families have relocated to their home country primarily because of job changes and changes in the economy,” Rowell said.

Graeme Slaven has a type of visa called an H-1B. Eighty-five thousand of them are allotted every year to professional workers through quotas to different countries.

Immigration attorney Ken Harder said once a foreign worker is laid off, they have few legal options.

“Much like Capt. Kirk might be beamed up by Scotty, in theory, when an H-1B worker is terminated from employment, he should vaporize and disappear,” Harder said.

Harder’s firm has seen the impact of low oil and gas prices directly.

“I would say since 8 a.m. on January 4th, the first business day this year, we’ve been furiously busy dealing with inquiries both from companies that need to downsize, as well as individuals who have been or are about to be downsized, so it’s been a real profound issue given the local economy here in Houston these last few months,” Harder said.

Slaven has a slim margin of hope. If he can find another employer willing to sponsor him, he can stay — but he knows that’s unlikely.

“The best-case scenario is a miracle,” Slaven said, “that somebody else is interested in employing me. The chances of that at this point in time are slim.”

A quick search on a job board turns up just a few companies willing to sponsor H-1B visas. Most of those companies are in IT, which is not a field Slaven has experience in.

Right now he’s trying to figure out a way to stay in the U.S. until the end of the school year, before he moves his family back to Scotland — a move he’s trying desperately to avoid.

Why This Small Coffee Business Doesn’t Need to Compete on Price

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Every coffee company has an angle.

Folgers made it fast. Nabob made it romantic. Starbucks made it hip. And today, artisanal coffee is making it expensive. But how do you convince someone to pay a lot more for their coffee? The answer is actually pretty simple: all you need to do is tell a story.

We sat down with Helen Schafer, owner of Tiny House Coffee Roasters, to find out more.

In this interview, you’ll…

  • Find out how a great story can help you charge more for your products
  • Discover an easy way to tell your story (without an advertising budget)
  • Learn about product positioning and why it’s your key to boosting sales

Check out the full interview below:

Want to hear more? Listen to the rest of episode six now.

Lessons For Sale: A New Marketplace for Teachers

school-supplies

Get the full story on the Texas Standard

Think of it as Etsy for educators. That’s how CEO Adam Freed says some people describe it.

“You can buy so much on Teachers Pay Teachers,” Freed says. “You can find worksheets and activities that are supplementary curriculum…. You can find supplies you’d use in your classroom like cool posters or new ways to tag books for different levels of readers in your classroom,” he says.

Teaching has always been more of a challenge than most non-teachers realize. San Antonio first grade teacher Reagan Tunstall says with state and district requirements changing almost every year, teachers feel endless pressure to keep their material fresh.

“All of the extra things that we need to do – planning for the next week – all happen in the evenings and it takes away that precious family time,” Tunstall says. “So, I think when the state changes things – which they often do…it’s more of a time stealer. We’re planning what we’re doing next and when things are unfamiliar it just takes longer to make sure that we’re hitting all of those objectives and expectations for every student. So, it can be very difficult especially when the year is in full swing and we’re already filling that time crunch.”

Tunstall says she thought ‘I should be compensated for this work.’ She says it was frustrating that all the work that went into planning was used just once.

“In the end, I upload everything. The basic idea is that it’s based on about 10 cents a page but really it kind of depends on the content and the time spent. As a teacher I know budgets are tight so I try to price it very affordably,” Tunstall explains. “Just knowing that other teachers are using it is a huge, just amazing fulfilling feeling, so that’s really what I get out of it.”

If a student buys an essay online, it’s considered cheating. But fourth grade teacher Nina Gufstason says buying lesson plans online isn’t cutting corners.

“It’s definitely different, because you are paying for someone’s ideas,” she says. “I think you’re working smarter not harder. And I think that is where teachers need to move – is to work with each other and not just depend on having to do everything themselves.”

Gufstason says the days are long, she gets to school at 7:15 a.m. and leaves around 7:15 p.m. And the lesson plans are not the only thing on her plate.

“The number one thing is my students and making sure that they’re, you know, taken care of and they’re learning and they’re having fun,” she says. “And so if I can use other people’s great ideas and make that happen, that’s what I should do.”

Gustafson says being a fourth grade teacher comes with a lot of challenges, long hours, rowdy kids, and big messes. But the best part, she says, is knowing that other teachers have your back.