Twitter Releases Workforce Diversity Numbers: Expect The Expected


From Mother Jones:

“Twitter today followed in the footsteps of Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Facebook by releasing statistics on the race and gender of its workforce. The company certainly deserves credit for voluntarily making its diversity stats public, unlike, say, Apple. “Like our peers, we have a lot of work to do,” Janet Van Huysse, its VP of diversity and inclusion, admits on the company blog. But perhaps that’s an understatement; Twitter actually lags far behind its peers on some key measures. For instance, only 1 out of every 10 Twitter tech employees is a woman (…).

In case you’re wondering, other large tech companies have significantly better gender diversity (though it’s still abysmal compared to professions such as law or medicine). At Facebook and Yahoo, 15 percent of tech workers are women. At Google and LinkedIn, it’s 17 percent. In 2010, Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News found that women held 24 percent of computer and mathematics jobs in Silicon Valley and 27 percent of those jobs nationally (though those categories may be broader than how they’re defined by leading tech companies, as Tasneem Raja explores in this great piece on America’s growing gap in tech literacy).

More MoJo coverage of diversity in tech.Silicon Valley Firms Are Even Whiter and More Male Than You ThoughtIs Coding the New Literacy?Charts: Tech’s Pipeline ProblemSilicon Valley’s Awful Race and Gender Problem in 3 Mind-Blowing ChartsUnlike its peers, Twitter can’t entirely blame its dearth of female coders on the talent pipeline: About 18 percent of computer science graduates are women. Instead, Van Huysse points to a slew of efforts to “move the needle” at Twitter, such as supporting the groups Girls Who Code and sf.girls and hosting “Girl Geek Dinners.” (…)

As other reporters have noted, major tech firms started releasing their workforce data shortly after I obtained a batch of Silicon Valley diversity figures from the Labor Department and began asking them for comment. But pressure to release the stats has also come from a campaign by Color of Change and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition, which have demanded the stats during a string of private meetings with Valley execs, and last week launched a Twitter-based campaign to urge Twitter to make its diversity numbers public. Strikingly, only 1 percent of Twitter’s tech workforce and 2 percent of its overall workforce is African-American (…).

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Colbert Disses Amazon, Amazon Sponsors Colbert


From Wall Street Journal:

“Television satirist Stephen Colbert over the past few weeks has pointed the finger – sometimes literally – at, blaming the retailer for unfairly dragging Hachette authors into its e-book pricing spat with the publishing house by limiting pre-orders or delaying delivery on many titles.

That has proved no deterrent to Amazon’s drive to promote its forthcoming Fire smartphone. The Seattle company ran an ad for the handset during the 30-minute show on Monday, right after a segment in which Colbert promised to “wipe the smirk right off [the Amazon] box’s face.” (…)

Colbert took credit for helping Lepucki’s debut book, “California,” rise to No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, before acknowledging Amazon’s financial support. “Amazon is a sponsor of tonight’s show, so I accept your apology gentlemen,” said Colbert.

Colbert has been among the more outspoken critics of Amazon, at one point last month comparing Chief Executive Jeff Bezos to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series. He has asked viewers to buy Lepucki’s book at independent bookstores.””

Glaad: Gay Characters In Drama and Action Flicks Can Be Counted On One Hand


From New York Times:

“In its annual assessment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in Hollywood movies, Glaad on Tuesday said it could find only four significant L.G.B.T. characters in 43 action, science fiction and fantasy films monitored last year. By contrast, eight of 19 comedies, and five of 28 dramas had such characters, making the action/fantasy genre, by Glaad’s count, a weak spot for such diversity.

The studio review by Glaad, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, gave a favorable rating to Sony Pictures Entertainment, which included a gay character in its dance drama, “Battle of the Year.” But the group gave a failing grade to Paramount Pictures, for instance, for “the violent attacking of disposable gay male characters” in both “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Pain & Gain.””

Journalist Rifling Through MH17 Dead Passenger Suitcase Makes NSA Look Blind In Comparison


From The Sydney Morning Herald:

“The Sky News journalist who rummaged through a child’s suitcase at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has apologised, acknowledging he made a “serious error of judgment”.

In an opinion piece for the UK Guardian, Colin Brazier said he was so affected by the horror of the scene that he crossed a line.

“I can smell the nauseating scent of death that clings to me still. I have seen burned bodies before…but nothing on this scale,” he wrote. (…)

Brazier said the TV crew’s priority during the live broadcast was to avoid pointing a camera at a corpse. But personal effects, he wrote, were an alternative way to illustrate the tragedy.

“They told a story of lives – swimming trunks, laptops, duty free, books – snuffed out in an instant. They provided the backdrop for me to ask why victims were being left to rot in the sun.””

Half Mobile Users Enjoy Not Being Stalked

tracking(Photo credit: Sprintometer)

From Advertising Week:

“Attention retailers: shoppers are not as interested with beacons and in-store tracking as you think they are, according to a new report from digital marketing platform Punchtab. The findings come at an interesting time as marketers are beginning to share new case studies and launch location-based programs.

The “Mobile Tracking: Are Consumers Ready?” report surveyed 1,153 consumers on how they feel about handing over information about themselves in exchange for some form of personalized messages. While 50 percent of participants did not want to be tracked, 27 percent of the consumers surveyed said they were open to it—but only under certain circumstances. The remaining 23 percent of consumers in the study did not care if they were tracked or not.

Of the 50 percent of participants who didn’t want to be tracked online, privacy was the No. 1 reason offered, at 51 percent. Another 13 percent didn’t want to receive too many messages and 8 percent were wary of irrelevant messages.

An additional 5 percent of users were afraid a marketer would manipulate their information or send inappropriate and uninteresting messages.Within the 27 percent of consumers who opted in to location tracking, 88 percent said that they would give over information in exchange for a coupon or special offer. Shorter checkout times (72 percent), personalized alerts (69 percent) and checking the status of points and rewards (58 percent) were other top reasons.

The research also looks at specific types of retailers where consumers are willing to give up their location data. Eighty-four percent were interested in being tracked at superstores, and 78 percent were inclined to get deals from department stores (likely to help them either navigate or find offers).”

CNN Host Tears Into Jon Stewart


From Washington Post:

“Interviewing Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) from the battle zone, Cuomo asked if the congressman could “shoot down” the notion that Ukrainian forces had shot down the airliner. Even though Cuomo said “excuse the pun,” some media sites wrote citations. Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show” chose Cuomo’s pun as a “Moment of Zen,” a quick segment that often highlights cable stumbles.

“I made a mistake,” says Cuomo. “In terms of who reacted to it and how, it’s strictly a case of consider the source.” Stewart is a comedian who indulges in takedowns of the mainstream media, and bloggers “are what they are — they traffic in snark and negativity,” says Cuomo. Later in the chat, Cuomo circled back to that comedian: “If it seems like I’m being disrespectful of Jon Stewart, it’s only because I am. He’s funny but he doesn’t do the job we do and he shouldn’t pretend he does.””

Al Jazeera: Israel ‘Explosion’ Targeted Us

Stefanie Dekker
From TV Newser:

“Al Jazeera English correspondent Stefanie Dekker, currently in Gaza, is reporting on the shots fired this morning at the network’s bureau there.

“At one point from the sky through the live position and into the office, which is where the kitchen is, we had a big explosion. So we were all startled and trying to figure out what it was  — maybe someone thought it was an electricity explosion, something like that,” Dekker said. “And then straight after another shot came in. So it was very clear, two very precise shots straight into our building.”

Yesterday, the Israeli foreign minister said they were working to prevent the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera from operating within its borders. An Al Jazeera spokeperson tells TVNewser the network holds”the Israeli authorities fully responsible” for the shooting.”

Gunshots Inside Gaza Al Jazeera Bureau

Al-Jazeera journalists evacuate their building in Gaza

From Al Jazeera:

“Gunshots have been fired into Al Jazeera’s bureau in the Gaza Strip amid an intensified bombardment campaign on the Palestinian enclave.

The shots caused panic among the civilians living in the same building but no casualties have been reported in the incident on Tuesday morning.

“Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building”, Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the bureau in Gaza said.

“We are high up in the building so we had a very strong vantage point over the area. But we have evacuated.”

The bureau is situated in a residential area of Gaza City.

The attack came a day after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted by local media as saying his country will work to close down Al Jazeera in Israel.

Al Jazeera “has abandoned even the perception of being a reliable news organisation and broadcasts from Gaza and to the world anti-Israel incitement, lies, and encouragement to the terrorists,” Lieberman said.

Al Jazeera has been covering the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that started on July 8.

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White House Criticizes Reporters For Anonymous Sources, Journos Reply Something Something Kettle Black


From Poynter:

“In a briefing Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticized a Washington Post story for relying on anonymous sources. According to a transcript of the briefing, McClatchy reporter Anita Kumar pushed back at Earnest, noting that the Post didn’t have anyone at the briefing to defend the story. (…)

Earnest later allowed that there were people on the record in the story, which says White House aides knew a year ago that a crisis was developing on the U.S.-Mexico border, but they instead “focused much of their attention on political battles, such as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and the push to win congressional support for a broad immigration overhaul, that would have been made more difficult with the addition of a high-profile border crisis.”“[Y]ou criticize anonymous sources, but we have anonymous sources from you all every day,” Kumar said.

“I’m not suggesting that they shouldn’t run their story,” Earnest said of the Post. “It’s not my place to suggest that the people who represent that empty seat right there can make their own decisions about what stories to run. They’re entirely entitled to doing that.” He continued:

What I think is important is that greater weight should be granted to those who are willing to put a face and a name with specific claims. Cecilia Munoz, who’s the president’s top immigration adviser, is in that story, conveying exactly the White House position. And I’ve spent the last hour in here talking to all of you because of putting my face and my name with this administration’s positions.And in the course of reporting, I think it’s important, based on my own personal view, for those kinds of quotes and those kinds of stories to be given greater weight than just anonymous sources.

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Weird Al Colonoscopy-Invasive These Days Because…


From Advertising Age:

“”People with internet connections have probably noticed a lot of Weird Al Yankovic songs popping up in their feeds lately.

Every day for the past seven days, the reigning king of pop parody has released a new music video, each produced in partnership with a different content studio or artist, to promote “Mandatory Fun,” his first album in three years.

Some videos were produced with some of the largest content portals on the Internet, including College Humor, Funny or Die, Yahoo Screen and Nerdist, which worked on “Tacky,” the star-studded parody of Pharrell’s “Happy.” Others, like “Word Crimes,” were produced by independent artists like Jarrett Heather, whose work Mr. Yankovic admires.

In each case, the partner entity footed the bill for production, and in most cases gets to keep any ad revenue the video generates. (…)Today, the last video of the bunch, “Mission Statement,” goes live, capping off a promotional push that’s worked out tremendously well for an artist nearly 30 years into his career — the videos have piled up more than 20 million views in just a week’s time.

“I think I kind of stumbled on my formula for the future,” Mr. Yankovic said.

Music videos have been tremendously important to Mr. Yankovic’s career. His parodies of hits like Michael Jackson’s “Bad” (“Fat”) were mainstays on MTV during the ’80s and ’90s, and fan interest in that side of his work has endured; to date, Mr. Yankovic’s Vevo channel has piled up more than a quarter billion views, or about a hundred million more than modern viral video masterminds OK Go.

So when Mr. Yankovic’s label, RCA, informed him that it was unwilling to pay for videos to promote “Mandatory Fun,” he realized he’d have to find partners willing to help create them instead.

Mr. Yankovic chose to work with numerous content partners rather than just one for a number of reasons.”I’ve got relationships with lots of portals,” Mr. Yankovic said. “I thought it would have overburdened one portal to be responsible for all of them.”

“Not only is it sort of hedging my bets, but it allows me to involve as many people as possible.

“Even though he didn’t have a finished product ready, and even though he’d be sharing the work with lots of others, content providers lined up to work with Mr. Yankovic.

“He comes to the table with an incredible amount of credibility,” said Aaron Borns, who handles Mr. Yankovic’s marketing at RCA.

Not getting a cut of ad revenue is an arrangement that Mr. Yankovic is familiar with. He has never seen a dime of the ad revenue some of his most famous videos have generated now that they live on the web, and he never will. Those videos are the property of his label, RCA, and the label takes that ownership seriously.”

I get a cease and desist notice when I try to put my own videos on my YouTube channel,” Mr. Yankovic said.Moving forward, Mr. Yankovic said he will be looking to build a more robust video presence on his own YouTube channel.””