In the summer of 2009, Neda Agha-Soltan became the face of the Iranian Green Revolution after her tragic death by gunshot was caught on cell phone camera and uploaded online for the whole world to see. The international media rushed to put a face to the victim--but the face they used was that of another Iranian woman by the name of Neda Soltani, who was still very much alive. In a piece that originally aired in November of last year, Brooke speaks to Neda Soltani, author of My Stolen Face: The Story of a Dramatic Mistake.
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.
The Oklahoma tornado pressed pause on coverage of the scandal blitz, but only briefly. Blogger Andrew Tyndall of the Tyndall Report found that the tornado filled 91% of the three network evening news hole on Monday, and all of it on Tuesday. But by Wednesday, Tornado coverage dropped to just a third, and scandal crept back in. Brooke talks to political scientist Brendan Nyhan about what it takes for a natural disaster to overwhelm scandal coverage.
In September 1966, Gene Roddenberry dispatched the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage through space and time and into the American living room. It was an inauspicious start, but almost fifty years later the Star Trek universe is still expanding. The new film debuted last weekend with a $70 million opening. In a piece we originally ran in 2006, Brooke explores the various television incarnations of the franchise and the infinitely powerful engine behind it all: the fan.
Star Wars Theme/Star Trek Theme
This week a group of Catholic nuns and priests joined forces to form Catholic Whistleblowers; their goal is to hold the church accountable for the ongoing child sex abuse scandal. Most of the founding members have themselves blown the whistle about abuse in the church. Brooke visits one of them, Sister Sally Butler, to talk about the role of truth-telling, transparency and honor among the faithful.
Last week, it was revealed that journalists at Bloomberg News were using financial terminals sold by their parent company, Bloomberg LP, to spy on (and report on) their users. Brooke speaks with the Washington Post's Neil Irwin about Bloomberg's secret sauce for making money.
Music: Beacon - Late November
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice revealed that it had subpoenaed the phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors over the course of two months in 2012. Many in the media were not pleased at what the AP called an "unprecedented intrusion." Brooke talks with University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone who says, unprecedented or not, the DOJ's actions were certainly legal.
This week, to help insulate journalists and their sources from government surveillance, The New Yorker launched a new service. It’s called Strongbox, and it enables people to send messages and documents to journalists anonymously and untraceably. It was developed from code created by programmers Kevin Poulsen and the late Aaron Swartz. The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson explains to Bob how it works.
Music: John Lurie - Horse Guitar
The AP story should be a reminder not only to journalists, but also to sources, that leaking information is increasingly complicated. Brooke talks with Nick Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, about ways people can safely turn information over to journalists. Weaver gave advice to sources in Wired this week.
Niero Gonzalez is the founder of a video gaming site called Destructoid. As the site's readers increased, advertising revenue leveled off and Gonzalez soon realized that almost half of his tech-savvy readers were using ad-blocker software. So he asked his readers "what now?" Brooke talks to Gonzalez about his search for new revenue streams.
This month saw two big crowd-funding successes, as films by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and actor Zach Braff were put into production based on pledges from fans. Brooke talks crowdfunding past and future with Roman Mars, host of the show 99% Invisible, who used Kickstarter to fund his third season.
Citizen King - Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out)
As eyeballs continue to shift from TV to streaming online video, it remains doubtful that digital ad dollars will ever rival their analog predecessors. Meanwhile, companies like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube continue to experiment with subscription and advertising models. Brooke sits down with Peter Kafka of All Things Digital, to ask him what the future holds for shows like Mad Men, and for YouTube stars like Ryan Higa.
After its release in 2006, a browser plug-in called AdBlock Plus gained hero status as an open-source effort to save consumers from obnoxious ads. But in 2011, AdBlock Plus began poking holes in its filter, adding a whitelist of "acceptable ads" that it lets through--some of them for a fee. Brooke talks with Till Faida, AdBlock Plus’ managing director, about his company's policy.
5ive Style -- Outta Space Canoe Race
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to limit public records requests to only residents of that state. Brooke talks to Mark McBurney, one of the petitioners in the case, and Mark Caramanica, Freedom of Information Director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Modest Mouse - Here It Comes
As the Supreme Court decides whether genes can be patented, one geneticist has taken matters into his own hands. Dr. Robert Nussbaum is less worried about the owning of genes and more concerned about the monopoly that private companies have over genetic intellectual property – specifically what the mutations in a gene might mean for his patient's health. He tells Brooke how he’s challenging the stranglehold on that information one patient at a time.
We contacted Myriad for comment and they responded:
“Nothing is more important to Myriad than helping to save and improve peoples’ lives and more than one million patients have benefitted from Myriad’s BRACAnalysis test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. As a result of Myriad’s $500 million investment in R&D, today more than 95 percent of patients in the U.S. have access to the BRACAnalysis test through private insurance or other coverage, and patients’ average out-of-pocket cost is only $100. Myriad also offers financial assistance programs or free testing for uninsured patients or those in need."
Modest Mouse - Here It Comes
For more than 30 years Cyndi Lauper has been a creative force, as a singer, songwriter, author and now composer of the music and lyrics for a hit Broadway play. Brooke Gladstone talks to Cyndi Lauper before a live audience in NYC about her life, her art and where she draws her inspiration.
NBA center Jason Collins drew media attention when he came out on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. And while there were a few scattered criticisms, the response - from athletes, managers, and the general public - was mostly positive. So can we expect more active athletes to come out of the closet? Brooke talks to ESPN reporter Kevin Arnovitz about what we can expect to see from major sports teams and the journalists who cover them.
Throughout the more than six-decade celebration of Jackie Robinson's desegregation of baseball, the journalist who brought Robinson's story to the world has remained unknown. Brooke talks to Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Plashcke, who recently penned a portrait of writer Wendell Smith, who helped secure Robinson's place in American history.
On the Media talks with the Grammy Award-winning artist about her Queens upbringing, colorful career and venture into theater with "Kinky Boots." Watch on-demand video.
Between battling for high profile legislation on guns and immigration and consoling a nation, Obama had to walk a tightrope this week. Brooke talks to Glenn Thrush, Senior White House Correspondent for Politico, who says that reconciling what was happening inside and outside Washington, was not as hard as it might seem.