News Corp.’s Phone Hacking Scandal and the Public Interest

The last edition of News of the World on July 10, 2011

I am now writing a weekly blog post on media in the digital age for KCET’s The Public Note and will also be contributing posts on local policy at 1st and Spring in addition to occasional posts for LAist.

The ongoing “phone hacking” scandal in the UK may seem like a distant and isolated issue considering how limited the reporting has been in the U.S. press but it’s possible that the media is shying away because it hits too close to home.

What’s come to light in the past month in Britain may be indicative of unethical — if not unlawful — behavior that’s become pervasive across all Western media in the digital age.

At the center of attention is News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch. News Corp. executives will meet with board members in Los Angeles this week for the first time since the scandal, which had been brewing for years, finally broke.

Please click here to continue reading the full article at KCET.org. The following is a brief excerpt.

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Geolocation is a Two-Way Street Where Businesses Meet Consumers

geolocation
UPDATE: Watch video of the panel below.

For both businesses and consumers, geolocation apps and services are a dime a dozen these days. But many of these apps and tools serve to benefit both when used consistently and correctly. Much like social media itself, geolocation is a two-way entity.

“Geolocation makes it easier for consumers to get the services they want nearby and for local businesses to reach the consumers in their area,” Eli Portnoy, CEO of Culver City-based mobile marketing startup Thinknear told me matter-of-factly.

As consumers become increasingly engaged with smartphones and other mobile devices, geolocation will have a growing influence on commerce. For most businesses and services, location — and circumstance — means everything. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35 percent) are smartphone users according to a July 2011 Pew Internet report. Consumers are always on the hunt for quality goods and services at reasonable prices. As consumers grow accustomed to the “smart” aspect of always-connected, GPS-enabled mobile devices, the bargains appear at their fingertips and it only becomes a matter of convenience. As consumers discover the power of smartphones beyond texts, emails and phone calls, shopping habits change.

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Opportunity Gap: Does it Exist in Schools Near You?

los angeles schools pro publica opportunity gap

Pro Publica has published a database that makes it easy for you to compare your access to quality education and at what cost in an effort to provide insight into the opportunity gap demonstrated by economic difference in the classroom.

The data for L.A.-area school districts indicates that the higher the percentage of students who get free or reduced-price lunches the lower the percentage of students who take at least one AP course. For example, 76 percent of LAUSD students receive free or discounted lunches and 16 percent take at least one AP course. The data flips, however, for Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified: 1 percent get free/reduced priced lunch, and 41 percent take at least one AP course.

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Album Sales Up for First Time in 7 Years

lady gaga katy perry album sales up 7 years

Strong sales of new releases from the top ladies in song and multiple reissues of classic albums made the first half of 2011 the best 6 months for album sales since 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The one percent increase in sales is little more than a tiny bright spot for an industry which has gone into a tailspin over the past decade. The major labels failed to capitalize on emerging digital distribution models early on and do not look to be in a position to recover any time soon.

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Once-Mighty Myspace Acquired for Measly $35 Million

myspace acquired by specific mediaAfter months in search of a buyer, Myspace has finally been acquired. In an email to employees late Wednesday morning, CEO Mike Jones broke the news to employees in an email late Wednesday morning, according to TechCrunch.

Specific Media will acquire the fledgling social network turned social entertainment site for $35 million according to All Things D.

“Today, we are announcing that Myspace will be acquired by Specific Media, one of the world’s leading online media and advertising platforms,” Jones wrote in the email addressed to Myspacers. “Over the next few days you will be hearing from the team at Specific, including their CEO, Tim Vanderhook, regarding their exciting plans for Myspace and how it fits in with the overall vision of their company.”

Jones indicated in the email that a significant reduction in staff was imminent, adding that he would be stepping down as CEO of Myspace after assisting with the transition to Specific Media over the next two months.

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