media

Microsoft — a company most associated with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets — is getting a makeover.

Under new leadership, the software developer is analyzing vast troves of data about its users to create social tools for the workplace. They've got the goods — just think of all those Office emails that bind us together — but the question is, will customers want to cozy up socially with Microsoft, on and off the job?

Old Data, New Strategy

Morning Edition is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week.

Over the years, many stories, voices and sounds have come and gone on the show. But there has remained one constant — our theme music.

The Morning Edition theme was written by BJ Leiderman in 1979. At the time, he was a struggling college student who wrote jingles on the side. He gave a demo tape of his music to a friend who worked at NPR.

On that tape was one little musical phrase that eventually became the Morning Edition theme music.

Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio's most popular personalities, died on Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 77 years old.

Tom and his brother, Ray, became famous as "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers" on the weekly NPR show Car Talk. They bantered, told jokes, laughed and sometimes even gave pretty good advice to listeners who called in with their car troubles.

If there was one thing that defined Tom Magliozzi, it was his laugh. It was loud, it was constant, it was infectious.

Chion Wolf

According to the latest Q-poll, a lot of Connecticut voters don’t like any of the candidates running in the upcoming gubernatorial election. But, they don’t have much choice in that race or any of the other state races that generally have 2 candidates -- maybe three if we’re lucky -- on the menu.

CDC Global / Creative Commons

Last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michel du Cille’s plans to speak at Syracuse University were unexpectedly halted when university officials “uninvited” du Cille -- citing concern over his recent trip to Liberia, where he’d been covering the Ebola outbreak. 

YouTube

A new report from the Wesleyan Media Project says Connecticut's gubernatorial contest is now the most negative race in the nation.

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley debated on Thursday before a panel moderated by WNPR's Colin McEnroe. A third candidate for governor on the ballot, Joe Visconti, was not invited to this debate. 

Hong Kong media are providing wall-to-wall coverage of the protests calling for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, but in mainland China there has been little to no mention of the unrest.

The contrast is an illustration of the "one country, two systems" policy that has been in place since the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

Vermont is known for its green pastures, farmsteads and roads free of billboards. The founders of the new social network Ello live in the state, and they want to bring Vermont-like serenity to the Internet.

"We set out to prove that a social network will survive and thrive that doesn't have a business model of selling ads to its users," says CEO and co-founder Paul Budnitz.

David Goehring / Creative Commons

We're back today after a one-week hiatus. 

Ben Nadaff-Hafrey is also back, this time as our Scramble SuperGuest.

We start today with a conversation about the embrace of U2 by Apple, and end with a chat about embraces in general.

So, leading off earlier this month, Apple had one of its special events. When people stop what they're doing to watch a big company roll out a new product, in this case the iPhone 6, Don Draper would be drooling in envy, right?

Bill Simmons, the ESPN commentator whose Twitter bio reads in part "Grantland boss + columnist, @30for30 co-creator, NBA Countdown co-host, BS Report host," will not be doing most of those jobs for three weeks after using the last of them — host of the podcast The BS Report — to call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar, and to dare ESPN to discipline him.

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

This has been called a long and tough week for the NFL. But ESPN's Hannah Storm asked some tough questions on Sunday's SportsCenter that show how hard the week has been for the league's fans — especially for parents who struggle to reconcile their love for the game with its off-field violence.

A lifelong football fan who's also the mother of three daughters, Storm didn't hold back on her emotions when discussing the NFL's response to what she calls the "horrific Ray Rice elevator video" – and how it also dominated conversations in her home.

You'll find spinning wheels at the top of Netflix, Etsy, Foursquare and other top sites today, as they take part in Internet Slowdown Day. While sites won't slow down for real, participating Internet companies will be covered with the symbolic loading icons "to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like," the organizers write on their website.

The NFL built its fortunes on a series of ever-expanding TV contracts worth billions of dollars showing hundreds of games to tens of millions of fans. Now a tabloid news shop has brought all conversation about the NFL to a standstill by posting a silent video lasting less than four minutes.

Gabriela Pinto / Creative Commons

Perhaps you've seen an option on Netflix, the video rental and streaming company, to share your movie watching habits with others via Facebook. Did you opt in? Like many people, perhaps you didn't. 

Netflix is now trying something new that it hopes will work better to let you share viewing interests with your social circle. 

(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)

Hank Mitchell / Flickr Creative Commons

Mark Coddington from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin joins us to talk about how events like Ferguson are reported on social media. Facebook and Twitter are not equal in what and how they cover news. Assuming Twitter is the best place to get breaking news, how does Twitter change the way it's reported? How does it affect the work of the journalist trained to see the big picture but forced to focus on smaller, always breaking details? Does the urgency of Twitter discourage them from carefully checking facts? How should Twitter handle graphic images, such as last week's beheading?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Radio has a very long and storied history, and is influenced by -- some might say ruled by -- some long-held, traditional practices.

Don't expect Secretary of State John Kerry to accept the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" anytime soon: Lawyers at the State Department have banned high-profile U.S. diplomats from participating in the fundraising phenomenon that has swept social media in recent weeks.

Happy 25th, Seinfeld!

Aug 20, 2014
Steve Harris / Creative Commons

Pop culture is ephemeral.

People eventually lose interest in music and television shows once a new fad surfaces and piques their interests. Not so for Seinfeld. It is still relevant after 25 years for a whole new generation of viewers.

But, it wasn't always that way. In the beginning, it didn’t test well with audiences. It had weak ratings, bad scheduling and creative differences. It survived under the wing of a lone NBC executive who believed in the show's emphasis on characters who felt like family.

Iconic TV Announcer Don Pardo Dies At 96

Aug 19, 2014

Fans of Saturday Night Live and the original versions of The Price is Right and Jeopardy! recognize Don Pardo's voice immediately.

They may not be able to identify his face, but his voice was famous.

Pardo died Monday in Tucson, Ariz. He was 96 years old.

An NBC spokesman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he died in his sleep.

Pardo began working for NBC in 1944 and stayed with the network for 60 years.

A Listener's Guide to Podcasts

Jul 24, 2014
arinahabich/iStock / Thinkstock

If you're interested in podcasts, but aren't sure what to listen to, have no fear. We're here to help.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Radio has a very long and storied history, and is influenced by -- some might say ruled by -- some long-held, traditional practices.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Amy Goodman’s radio, TV, and Web program Democracy Now! has a wide following among people who think the mainstream media doesn’t let us hear enough voices from those who protest against powerful interests. This week, she visits the Mark Twain House and Museum to discuss her new book The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope.

This hour, we preview that event, with a conversation about the state of the news media today. We also listen back to a conversation with a Hartford-based guitarist who celebrates the music of her home country, Puerto Rico, while also exploring the classical repertoire.

John McKinney / YouTube

State Minority Leader John McKinney's first television spot goes right after his primary opponent for governor, Tom Foley. McKinney uses (and re-uses) Foley's own words where he appears to say, "I'm not going to cut spending."

The Mighty Thor, the Son of Odin, the God of Thunder, the comic book god with the hammer is a woman.

Not quite — but here's the tweet announcing the new Thor:

"No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR," Marvel said in a statement.

The new Thor will be written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman.

Margaret Low Smith, a longtime NPR executive who has served as senior vice president for news for three years, is leaving the company to become the president of The Atlantic's live events business.

"Her departure will be felt as profoundly as any in recent memory," NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday.

He added that Smith's final day at NPR will be at the end of July. She joined the company in 1982 as an overnight production assistant on Morning Edition.

Wilson added that:

It's not just comedian John Oliver coming out against cable companies to support net neutrality. The world's largest Internet companies — Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and others — have officially chimed in, filing comments Monday to the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees Internet traffic.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I'm excited about today's Scramble. WNYC podcaster Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money, is our superguest, which means she gets to pick three topics for her conversation with me.

Her choices are LeBron James and the notion of going home, a new Jenny Lewis song about a ticking biological clock, and the long agonizing death of the husband of NPR broadcaster, Diane Rehm. At least on paper, that's a perfect combination for the Scramble.

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