I used to live with two packed suitcases: One at home, one at the office. Whatever I needed for a week on the road if a big story broke. When I left for the BP oil spill, I didn’t come home for four months.
Breaking news can exhibit a mysterious pull over those of us who do this for a living: the need to see things up close, ask questions, witness scraps of history.
In that life before Marketplace, one of the things I covered was aviation. And so I am sadly riveted to the story of Malaysia Airlines flight 17. Exchanging emails with old sources, looking at debris, and imagining the cruel depths 298 families now find themselves in.
Layered on top of the Israeli military invasion of Gaza, so much tragedy and death can be overwhelming. As a prolific social media consumer, I have to say that this post from the satirical @thetweetofgod felt achingly poignant:
I have lost control of the situation.— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 17, 2014
Sometimes, at moments like these, we turn away for our own self-preservation.
I’d like to advocate against that.
We live in a remarkable time for storytelling. News outlets are experimenting with all sorts of ways to do journalism. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so many other services let us experience what other people see, think and hear. There is vitriol out there, sure. But there are opportunities for human connection and empathy.
So here are my rules of thumb for a moment like this:
1) Trust the pros. Breaking stories move fast, and even the best news coverage is never perfect. But professional journalists will do their best to verify, distill, and double check.
2) Never forget the watching witness. Abraham Zapruder captured perhaps the very first iconic piece of “crowd-sourced” video. A bystander or someone with a cell phone may witness history (I trust services like storyful.com to verify social content).
3) Remember to be human. Take a moment to learn about those passengers. Each one was loved by someone – probably many someones. Every person on board changed lives, and indeed, at least one altered history.
Each year, nearly half a million teachers switch schools or leave the profession altogether. Eric Soule, who landed his first full-time job at a charter school in Riverside, California, in 2013, spent years as a substitute teacher in public schools.
"It really seemed like the school districts were stringing me along," Soule said. "[They said] 'Oh, at the end of the year we can hire you on.' And that happened year after year."
Ellen Moir, CEO of the New Teacher Center, says young teachers, in particular, frequently leave fast.
"Mostly they're getting placed in urban districts or rural America, in some of the toughest schools and some of the most under-served communities," Moir said. "And they are given a sink or swim method."
Many of them swim in the same direction.
"Typically the path is toward higher-wealth, whiter districts, where students can predicatably perform better," said Susan Moore Johnson a Research Professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.
Moore says her research shows that a school's culture plays a huge role. It also indicates that teachers will stay in schools where they have good leadership and feel supported.
Most of the mobile display ads that pop-up on our phones don’t mean a thing -- We ignore them and keep on tapping and swiping. But a study out of Columbia Business School sheds light on what consumers pay attention to in this booming mobile advertising industry.
Miklos Sarvary, the report's co-author, directs the Media Program at Columbia Business School. He says if advertisers want mobile users to think twice about their ads, they should offer up useful items.
“These would be products like cars, or refrigerators, or lawn mowers, so pretty high ticket items, generally,” says Sarvary.
He says important purchases get more attention than pop ups for pleasure items like movie tickets and jewelry.
“What happens is that when a little ad like that pops up, it kind of makes you think about the decision again,” he says. “So, it reminds you of the information you already store in your mind.”
Jim Davidson is Director of Research at Bronto Software, which connects retailers with customers on mobile devices.
“Mobile really encompasses a lot of different technologies in a lot of ways that folks shop, and it’s really up to marketers to find the best way to have that conversation,” Davidson says.
Sarvary’s report shows nearly $17 billion was spent on mobile advertising last year, a figure that is expected to quadruple by 2017.