Showing posts with label journalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journalism. Show all posts

Friday, March 25, 2022

From the Hindu Kush to Franklin - Conversation with Chris Woolf (audio)

FM #758 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 758 in the series. 

This shares my conversation with Franklin author Chris Woolf. I met Chris when he did the Second Sunday Speaker Series at the Franklin Historical Museum. He talked of his adventurous trip to Afghanistan and we scheduled to get together at the Franklin studio to explore more of his story.

Links to Chris’s web site, the book link, and he and his wife’s voiceover company are included in the show notes. 

Let’s listen to my conversation with Chris as we follow his life journey from Britain, via Afghanistan, to the US, and ultimately to Franklin.  Our conversation runs about 35 minutes. Audio file ->


Chris Woolf 

The Voice Depot   (voiceover company)

Bumbling Through the Hindu Kush - A Memoir of Fear and Kindness in Afghanistan 

Video link to Historical Museum presentation to be added when available from Franklin.TV 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

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If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


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Chris Woolf, left in 1991, right in 2021
Chris Woolf, left in 1991, right in 2021

“Bumbling Through the Hindu Kush - A Memoir of Fear and Kindness in Afghanistan”
“Bumbling Through the Hindu Kush - A Memoir of Fear and Kindness in Afghanistan”

Thursday, February 10, 2022

“What do you think is the strongest argument for the other side?”

"In recent years, the number of nonprofits and initiatives that could be categorized under a concept called “bridging” has expanded in the U.S.: Millions of Conversations, The People’s Supper and Good Conflict are just a few. Some efforts build on conflict resolution practices at a large scale (think social psychology) or individual (think marriage counseling), and all aim to create strong conditions for talking and working together across various fault lines.

Looking at this expanding list, it’s easy to wonder what journalists — who are faced with their own challenges in reaching people with shared conversation and facts — might learn from them. But why, amid all other pressures on their work and livelihood, might they want to?"
Continue reading the article online



Thursday, February 18, 2021

What good journalism does

"Revealed: chemicals giant sold Louisiana plant amid fears over cost of offsetting toxic emissions"

"Chemicals giant DuPont decided to sell a plant in south Louisiana that emits a likely cancer causing pollutant, citing “major concerns” that government agencies would regulate its emissions to protect the community living nearby, internal documents seen by the Guardian reveal.

The documents show the multibillion-dollar company worried in 2011 about the potential cost of offsetting its emissions of the “likely human carcinogen”, chloroprene, and so moved to sell the plant, the Pontchartrain Works facility.

The company codenamed the sale “Project Elm” in an apparent bid to keep the deal, completed in 2015, secretive. It is also alleged the company withheld details of its own research to offset emissions from the plant’s new owners."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"Fake Doctors, Fake Documents: How a Russian Doping Lie Fell Apart"
"If the cover-up was to work, the high jumper Danil Lysenko realized far too late, he had better familiarize himself with the Moscow hospital where Russian track and field officials had insisted he had undergone a battery of medical tests.

The details mattered. The tests were the centerpiece of Russia’s explanation for why antidoping officials had been unable to locate Lysenko in the spring of 2018.

The punishment mattered, too: Athletes found guilty of so-called whereabouts failures — effectively failing to make themselves available for random drug tests — can face suspensions of up to two years. Those caught lying, falsifying documents or obstructing investigators risked even worse. Either sanction, though, would most likely keep Lysenko, a talented high jumper who has just turned 21, from representing Russia at the Tokyo Olympics."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"It’s the megaphone that makes the government work better"

Rep. Lori Ehrlich (@RepLoriEhrlich) tweeted on Tue, Feb 16, 2021:
Terrific article by @KamiRieck with insight from @dankennedy_nu @BrendanCrighton & @jasonpramas. TY Speaker @RonMariano for this important new law and for appointing me to the new 23-member commission. I look forward to digging in!
"The growth of “news deserts” in Massachusetts and the possible solutions to improving local journalism in underserved communities will be the focus of a new commission approved in the final hours of the last legislative session.

The initiative by Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, and Sen. Brendan Crighton, D-Lynn, was part of the massive economic development bill approved by lawmakers and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker last month. It will examine the sustainability of local press business models and the sufficiency of news coverage in communities across the state.

“Local journalists tell the community stories that bind us together,” Ehrlich said. “They tell us who we are, and where we’ve been and where we’re going. Local news is also essential to ensuring a healthy democracy.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Spear Phishing makes the news (again)

"A prominent TV news anchor in India, Nidhi Razdan was looking forward to starting her new job as an associate professor of journalism at Harvard University in September.

Just one setback. Harvard doesn’t have a journalism program.

After months of delays that she attributed to the pandemic, Razdan had a jarring realization: the faculty position, it turns out, doesn’t exist. The offer she thought she had accepted was nothing more than an elaborate ploy to access her personal information, she said."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Cyber security: inside the hack of a journalist; extent of US Government penetration not known

From The Guardian: inside the hack of a journalist
"A series of abusive text messages sent to an Al Jazeera investigative programme were the first crumbs that eventually led to the discovery of an unprecedented hacking operation against dozens of staff from the Qatar-based media network, according to one of the journalists who was targeted.

Researchers at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto claimed on Sunday that the UAE and Saudi Arabia used spyware sold by an Israeli private intelligence company to access the phones of at least 36 journalists, producers and executives from Al Jazeera, as well as that of a London-based reporter with the Al Araby network.

Traces of the cyber-attack were unearthed in July when a phone used by an Al Jazeera programme, The Tip of the Iceberg, exhibited suspicious network activity that was undetectable to its users."
Continue reading the article online

From the New York Times: extent of US Government penetration not known
"The Russian hackers who penetrated United States government agencies broke into the email system used by the Treasury Department’s most senior leadership, a Democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee said on Monday, the first detail of how deeply Moscow burrowed into the Trump administration’s networks.

In a statement after a briefing for committee staff members, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has often been among the sharpest critics of the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, said that the Treasury Department had acknowledged that “the agency suffered a serious breach, beginning in July, the full depth of which isn’t known.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
From the New York Times:
"President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. accused President Trump on Tuesday of “irrational downplaying” of the widespread hack of the federal government and American industries, saying that the current administration was denying him intelligence and warning Russia that he would not allow the intrusion to “go unanswered” after he takes office.

“This assault happened on Donald Trump’s watch when he wasn’t watching,” Mr. Biden said at a news conference in Delaware. “It is still his responsibility as president to defend American interests for the next four weeks, but rest assured that even if he does not take it seriously, I will.”

The direct critique was a remarkable departure from tradition, in which incoming presidents are careful about not second-guessing the actions of the incumbent. But Mr. Trump’s refusal to recognize Mr. Biden’s election victory, and his effort to subvert the results, has clearly poisoned elements of the transition process."
 Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
These articles add to the listing of "what we know and don't know" about the cyber attack

Sunday, October 11, 2020

What Is Pantherbook?

From Pantherbook we share the following: 

"Many of you may be wondering what is Pantherbook and how is it run. This article will explain everything Pantherbook does, how it operates, and how you can join if interested!

Pantherbook started many years ago at FHS but it was much different compared to the Pantherbook we know and love today. Pantherbook used to be a hard copy newspaper that was printed out weekly for students and teachers to read.

Believe it or not, Pantherbook is the way it is today because of Facebook! At the time Facebook was the new sensation, so the staff decided to move the school newspaper online to save paper but also make it easier for staff and teachers to view it as technology was on the rise. The play on words is “Panther” panther pride and then “Book” because of Facebook!"

Continue reading about Pantherbook
Halle Goldsmith (right) and Elise Ravech (left) representing Pantherbook at Panther Pride Night!
Halle Goldsmith (right) and Elise Ravech (left) representing Pantherbook at Panther Pride Night!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Unsupported = "fact-checkers opted to say there was 'no evidence'"

From the Poynter Institute we share this article:
Public data is the raw material with which fact-checkers work every day. Without it, the credibility of rating information as false — without being able to show the reasoning behind the decision — is weakened, no matter how obviously false the content seems. But there is a way to navigate this, even if data is not accessible. 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when conspiracy theories and misinformation related to vaccines, thermometers, and miraculous prevention methods are gaining steam on social media, the fact-checking community has found a simple – and honest – way to say something is probably not 100% true. 
Fact-checkers are posting articles with intermediary rating labels such as “unsupported” and “no evidence” to alert audiences to highly dubious content. 
In the list of more than 7,800 fact-checks published by the CoronaVirusFacts alliance (, the collaborative project that since January brings together 99 fact-checking organizations from around the world, there are at least 107 articles in which fact-checkers opted to say there was “no evidence” regarding the truthfulness of a certain piece of information rather than flagging it as completely “false”. One-third of these checks were produced in the last two months.

Continue reading the article online

Franklin radar picked up via Twitter

Unsupported = "fact-checkers opted to say there was 'no evidence'"
Unsupported = "fact-checkers opted to say there was 'no evidence'"

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What is the citizens agenda for Franklin?

One reason many folks are happy the election is over is the end to campaign ads. One problem remains in that the media which has been demonized by the President needs to change. 

We can not continue without folks actively participating in a real civil discourse and expect to get anywhere. Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at NYU has a proposal that coincidentally ties in with something I have started doing and will do more of. It is not a new idea, it actually originated in 1992.

He proposes a single question for campaign coverage. "What do you want the candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes?" I would modify that question for Franklin to be one first asked by Eamon Earls: "What should Franklin look like in 2028?" 2028 would be the 250 anniversary of our founding.

"It’s called a citizens agenda because that’s what it is, a list of action items and declared priorities. What campaign coverage should achieve is serious discussion (among candidates, journalists, campaign observers… and the public) of the stuff on the citizen’s agenda. Election year journalism succeeds, in this model, when it raises awareness, clarity, knowledge and the overall quality of discourse around the various items on the citizen’s agenda. It fails when it permits confusion, ignorance, neglect, demagoguery and silence to prevail on those same items. Truth, fairness, accuracy and non-interference in an outcome that should be determined by voters, not the media: these remain bedrock principles. But there is an agenda here. Journalists should not hesitate to take action on it. They should be clear with themselves and up front with voters about what they’re doing. This isn’t the View from Nowhere."

You can follow the tweet thread here:
'Campaign coverage: the road not taken.' There was a path the American press could have walked, but did not. This alternative way was illuminated as far back as 1992. Our political journalists declined it. And here we are. This thread is that story. 1/

As an alternative, you can read his blog post with the proposal

The 'election collection' can be found here

Election Information for Nov 2018
Election Information for Nov 2018