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First POST: Records

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, December 11 2014


  • Has the citizen journalist of the mid-2000s morphed into the online vigilante of today? That seems to be the argument of Charlie Warzel on BuzzFeed, though he does also say that "at its very best, it [citizen journalism] gives voice to the disenfranchised."

  • In Washington state, police dash-cam videos are public records subject to freedom of information requests, but the need to redact personal information before releasing them has overwhelmed local agencies. That paradox has led to a fascinating and unfinished partnership between the Seattle Police Department and an anonymous 24-year-old programmer, reports Nina Shapiro for the Seattle Weekly. Her story raises all kinds of timely questions about the use of police video.

  • Speaking of which, here's an interactive map to more than 800 verified citizen video reports of human rights abuse across the world in 2014, curated by Witness' Human Rights Channel.

  • The FOIA Improvement Act appears dead in Congress, reports Alex Howard, who has tried hard to raise awareness about the bill.

  • Taylor Owen previews a new Tow Center project that he is overseeing, exploring the potential of "virtual reality journalism." Looks very cool. Methinks "immersive journalism" will make a much better catchphrase.

  • In the Columbia Journalism Review, Ann Friedman recalls her brief two-year sojourn working as the executive editor of GOOD magazine, being buffeted by the outlandish ambitions and shifting plans of its youthful tech-dazzled founders. She notes, "It’s been difficult for me to read the news about the mass exodus at The New Republic and the implosion at First Look Media and not feel a certain level of affinity with the editors involved."

  • The World Wide Web Foundation's annual Web Index is out, with several major findings about global trends: online censorship is rising, laws preventing mass surveillance are lax or missing, women are using the web in powerful ways but online gender-based violence isn't being tackled enough, and only 1/4 of countries enforce any meaningful kind of net neutrality. Who's number one overall? Denmark. Our Miranda Neubauer digs further into the details.

  • Tech mogul and activist Ron Conway of San Francisco gets some unwelcome attention from the SF Weekly's Rachel Swan for tweeting his support of the CIA in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report.

  • Peter Sunde, the co-founder of Pirate Bay, has written a rant for Wired UK about the "spoiled, lazy and naive parts of our internet community." He writes, "I went to jail for my cause and your TV shows. What did you do?

  • Chinese netizens are passing around the video of President Obama's recent appearance on the Colbert Report, and as Alexa Olesen reports for Foreign Policy's Tea Leaf Nation, they're using it for an oblique conversation about their own leader, President Xi Jinping.