New York Times Magazine Live Debut

On Sunday, June 7, the New York Times Magazine held it’s first live discussion over Design and Technology with founders of various companies. The guest speakers included Ayesha Barenblat founder of REMAKE, Wences Casares founder and C.E.O of Xapo, Jalak Jobanputra founding partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, Mike Krieger co-founder of Instagram, and Stephan Thomas C.T.O. of Ripple Labs.

The discussions were broken up into different sections concerning the professions of the speakers. The first panel discussion was hosted by Nathaniel Popper, Business Reporter for the New York Times, was concerned about the growth of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a service that allows people to send and receive money through an address that is only used once for security reasons. Wences and Stephan both agreed about the strength of the cryptographic translation of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin site was successful when, according to Stephan, 6 out of 10 professors said it was impossible. Wences mentioned Bill Gates was skeptical of Bitcoin because of the criminal implications he associated to the currency. Wences attempted to persuade Bill Gates on the security and the practically of the crypto currency.

The second discussion over design secrets hosted by Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art Columnist for the New York Times. Mike Kieger discussed the popularity of hashtags in America and the interesting ways in which global users used Instagram. Mike found an interesting trend in Japan where users photograph everything but their faces. Instagram could also be used as a service where people can buy and sell various goods. Mike spoke about a fascinating user that sold sheep. Instagram was a Silicon Valley development but it has expanded and is now 70% international users.

The final discussion, hosted by Jenna Worthman, Technology Writer for the New York Times, was about how businesses succeed overseas. Ayesha spoke about the importance of knowing the people who create the clothes you’re wearing. Her company encourages connectivity between consumers and the individuals that produce their goods, which she calls digital storytelling. Jalak spoke about enabling innovation with limited resources that under-served markets can produce. These innovations are created by different types of technology that give different markets a competitive advantage.

The discussions on design and technology were very insightful and engaged a diverse audience. Jake Silverstein, the Editor in Chief for the New York Times Magazine, mentioned that NYT Mag Live will host events in Los Angeles and New York soon so look out for a talk in your area.

Going “Global”

UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Nicolas Dirks and a board of directors have made a decision to create the Berkeley Global Campus in Richmond. The campus will be three-fourths the size of UC Berkeley made up by lab and research facilities. The funding for this project comes from a group of anonymous public-private investors. Dirks and many other top officials, such as the Richmond City Council, have kept this issue free of mainstream press. 

This past Wednesday, the Respect Richmond Campaign, a coalition of many campus organizations including: Student Labor Committee, CalSERVE, ASUC, Black Student Union, et al. held a “Richmond Speak Out.” This forum allowed a few Richmond residents and panelists to express their opinions about the Berkeley Global Campus. The Panelists included Melvin Wells an Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) activist, Edith Pastrano also an ACCE activist, Tamisha Walker a Safe Return Project activist, and Maricruz Manzanarez a campus worker and union activist. Melvin And Edith shared the sentiment that Richmond residents need protection from displacement, their group is working hard to prevent housing finances from soaring in Richmond. Tamisha explained her efforts to get councilmen to agree with the demands through Richmond ‘s Working Group. Maricruz has worked for the campus for 16 years, fearing that her children will never get to benefit from Berkeley’s countless resources. 

The Respect Richmond Campagin has called for the campus officials to sign a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that advocates against displacement, providing local training for campus jobs, aiding local small businesses, and creating a youth program to encourage students to strive for higher education. After a few rounds of questions were answered by the panelists, the group of campus organizers lead a thrilling protest to Dirks’ house to tape a cloth on his front door that included the CBA demands and a list of signatures. The group will have another demonstration on April 30th, Rally for Richmond, that will meet at Sather Gate at 4:30pm. With the end of the school year approaching, the group and myself really encourage students, Richmond residents, and anyone who believes in the cause to have their voices heard before the UC decides to start building the campus over the summer. 

Public Opinion

On Tuesday Trish Hall, the Op-Ed editor for the New York Times, paid a visit to the School of Journalism here at Berkeley. She is a UC Berkeley alumnus and she used to write for the Daily Californian. Hall actually realized, as she was talking, that a number of the people she works with at the Times are associated with Berkeley. 

 The setup of the talk was a forum in which Hall left it open for the audience to ask questions and she would answer. She described any form of writing as biased because of the ways in which information is gathered and the decision is made to choose certain stories over others, but it is important to keep traditional and opinion pieces separate. Hall finds it very important that her team work collectively as a group in order to get pieces published in print or online because the process is very time intensive. She apologetically mentioned that some opinion pieces are not responded to for 1-2 years. When the editorial is appropriate, she and her team will run it. 

Engagement with the material in the form of comments and shares online are very important because the impact of the editorial is directly shown. Hall provided insight on new developments that were occurring in the opinion pieces. There is now a way in which videos and documentaries are shown through UpDocs which are 5 to 30 minute videos of opinion pieces. She was very excited to state that UpDocs was Emmy nominated this year. She also mentioned the various growth and importance of foreign editorials and facilities. Overall the talk was inspiring and very informative.

Analysis of the Dress’ Coverage

Having access to any social media site, I’m sure you heard of a dress that went viral this weekend due to a over exposed photograph. People from all walks of life were debating the color scheme of the dress. Some people debated it was white and gold others said it was blue and black. I personally believed that the dress was white and gold, that might have been a bias I had because that would have been my preference for the dress itself. But as it turns out, I was wrong, the dress was actually blue and black.

What surprised me about this particular topic is, not that it went viral because there have been many mundaine things that have gone viral, but the fact that it got so much attention from the press. I expected Buzzfeed to cover a story like this, it fits the tone of the many things that are posted on this site. However, I was taken aback by the New York Times covering it as a front page story. It is an interesting debate for the many eyes of the Internet but was it really front page worthy? The dress even got coverage on talk shows such as the Ellen DeGeneres show. Ellen gave the family a stipend of $10,000 for reasons unknown other than for them to “start their lives.”

This dress got far more attention than the family expected. In no way would they have expected the dress to end up on the Times or to receive a sum of cash with an all expense paid vacation. But it is one of the many wonders of the Internet. This viral photo shows that the Internet, as a hyper networked technology, has a way of connecting a diverse populous.

Photo credit to

Dearly Missed

This past Friday, a well-known columnist of the New York Times died. Carr was a heavy cocaine addict, but this did not deter him from becoming “the embodiment of the New York Times” (Goldstein). He made an impeccable climb from his history of drug abuse to become one of the most celebrated columnists at The New York Times. Overcoming his struggles and building a strong reputation as columnist is what made him truly inspiring. His credentials were always there but as he wrote in his memoir “The Night of the Gun,” it was an unexpected turn from were his life was at the moment.

I did not know of Carr before this past week. Throughout Tuesday and Thursday I was able to watch Page One, which is a documentary of the inner workings of the New York Times. In watching the documentary I instantly connected with Carr. He had such a lovable personality. He was humorous and sassy.

In a speech that he gave to the Journalism School at Berkeley, he encouraged up and coming journalists to be present, attentive, and willing. Instead of filling his speech with exhausted advice, he gave a fresh spin to how these journalists should approach their careers and life in general. What I will remember from that speech is that if you think you can find a story in something you feel is important you should pursue it, or in his own words: “someone should write a story about that.”

Journalism or Popular Interest?

Today it was announced that Brian Williams, an NBC News Anchor, was suspended by the network for exaggerating on events that happened when he was in Iraq about a decade ago. He has been suspended for 6 months, without pay. It just goes to show that people on the news are just not as impartial as they could be. In his self interest, Brian spoke about an incident of RPG’s hitting the helicopter he was in. However, it turns out that he was not in the said helicopter, he was in the following aircraft.

In a recent paper I turned in for my journalism class, I quoted Paul Starr saying that a citizen journalist cannot be considered true journalists because their reports may be considered propaganda and biased. But it seems that these statements can be extended to those that are undeniably paid and recognized as true journalists. Brian spoke on the events in Iraq in his own self-interest. Could I have been wrong about who a true journalist is? Could a blogger like myself be more of a journalist than those in the face of the media that only practice the profession in their own selfish interests?

It can be hard quantify who is a real journalist and who is not. True journalism is a respectable career because it requires that said person to be trustworthy. At the very least, I hope I can work to be a respectable and trustworthy journalist someday.