Sponsored content, or "native advertising," is increasingly becoming a source of revenue for the financially strapped news media. But this can be dangerous territory since native advertising is often made to resemble the actual editorial content. Bob talks to Steve Rubel, chief content strategist at the PR firm Edelman, about an ethical framework for navigating the murky waters of sponsored content partnerships.
A military coup is essentially a military action that transfers government power from one entity to another. This sounds a lot like what happened in Egypt with the military's removal of President Mohamed Morsi, but the new Egyptian leadership - and the Obama administration - are refusing to call it a coup. Bob talks to Harvard law professor Noah Feldman about using the C-word.
A new tv news show launched in New Jersey this week, called Chasing NJ. It’s supposed to revolutionize local news by modelling it after syndicated celebrity-gossip show TMZ. Chasing NJ has already sparked outcry from Jersey politicians who want the FCC to rescind the license of its broadcast station, WWOR. Bob talks to the Brian Stelter of the New York Times about the new show.
During the past couple months, the media have been scrambling to cover all angles of the impending birth of Kate Middleton's "royal baby." Included in those angles: What clothes the pregnant Duchess wears, what the baby's gender will be, and just how Kate Middleton will give birth. Bob reports from London on the royal baby media frenzy.
There is a scientific consensus that the oft-claimed link between vaccines and Autism simply doesn't exist. And yet, after a decade of no convincing evidence of a link many in the public are still scared and vaccination rates are down. In an interview that originally aired in 2011, Bob speaks to Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus, about why it’s so hard to dislodge misinformation and fear.
Some academic journals have embraced a “gold open access model” of publishing, wherein the scholars whose work appears in the journal pay for the privilege. Bob speaks with Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado Denver who has assembled a list of "predatory journals" - journals that may be more interested in profit than academic contributions.
On Wednesday, journalists discovered that Edward Snowden was an avid poster in their online forums. For more than ten years, he posted under the name TheTrueHOOHA. Ars Technica's Joe Mullin has been reading Snowden’s posts. He tells Bob that, taken as a whole, they trace the thinking of a precocious teenager into a tech-savvy geek into an opinionated adult.
Last year, an anonymous Fox News employee started writing for the news and gossip website, Gawker. The pen-named Fox Mole was associate producer Joe Muto of the O’Reilly Factor. Bob talks with Muto about his years with the network. Muto has written a book about the experience, An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal's Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media.
This week saw several revelations about US government surveillance of both Americans and foreigners. Brooke and Bob talk to Washingtonian writer Shane Harris and co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, Elizabeth Goitein, about the what we can glean from the information that became public this week.
Historically, Prime Minister Erdogan has consolidated much of his power by raising fears about the threat of domestic terrorism and the so-called “deep state,” a covert network of military and civilian elites who for decades have stifled any perceived threat to a secular Turkey. It’s a kind of cabal of unseen hands, often violent, that smacks of conspiracy theory. Except, as The New Yorker staff writer Dexter Filkins tells Bob, it actually exists.
Next week, Iran is holding its first presidential election since the one in 2009 that sparked the protests in the street known as the Green Revolution. The Iranian government is hoping to avoid a repeat of what it saw in 2009, in part by restricting the free flow of information in the country. Bob speaks to Golnaz Esfandiari, a senior correspondent for Radio Free Europe and editor of the Persian Letters blog, about what the Iranian media landscape is looking like in the run up to the election.
The Turkish protests of the last two weeks have seen the rise of citizen journalists using social media to tell the story. Early on mainstream Turkish broadcast media paid no attention to the demonstrations. Turkish journalist and Al-Monitor columnist Tulin Daloglu explains why. Daloglu runs the Twitter feed @turkeypulse.
The name George Plimpton is synonymous with a kind of all-in participatory journalism. Plimpton played quarterback for the Detroit Lions and triangle for the New York Philharmonic, and was badly beaten in the ring by boxer Archie Moore. Bob talks to Luke Poling, one of the creators of the new documentary Plimpton!, about who George Plimpton was and how he got that way.
How do you get to Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe, the launch pad of dozens of country music's biggest stars? If you're Bob Garfield - and you're trying to make it big in country music in less than 36 hours - "practice, practice, practice" is not an option. Luckily, Bob has chutzpah, and a brilliant song, just waiting for a record exec to bite. In this piece from 1996, Bob goes on a journey to pen the next country music hit.
To hear the full piece, click here.
Creating an interesting comment space can take a lot of time and energy. In an interview from December, 2011, Bob speaks to The Atlantic senior editor and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates about his approach to internet comments and his own heavily moderated comment section.
What if your email service could tell you, before you even press send, just how aggressive or angry your email is? In an interview from September of last year, Bob talks to Josh Merchant, CTO and co-founder of Lymbix, a Canadian software company whose program ToneCheck promises emotional spell-check for overheated emailers.
JD Samson & Men - Life's Half Price
Journalist Paul Lukas runs a website called Uni Watch, which has a fairly active cadre of commenters, including at least one relentless troll. To his surprise, when Lukas asked the troll for an interview, the troll agreed. Bob talks to Lukas about his six year relationship with his website's most persistent, most creative troll.
There's a small group of men and women - "Deciders" - at big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter who make decisions everyday about what offensive speech is pulled from their sites. The huge scale of those sites gives those Deciders enormous influence over the state of free speech on the web. Bob speaks with George Washington University Law professor Jeffrey Rosen, who wrote about the Deciders and their many decisions in The New Republic.
In covering acts of terror, like the gruesome Woolwich killing last week in London, how should the press report the story without giving those responsible the overwhelming amount of attention they seek? Bob considers the British media's coverage of the Woolwich attack and the decision by most British outlets to air the video of one suspect's diatribe.
Jim James - All Is Forgiven