Judith Newman’s delightful article in the NYT describes how Apple’s speech-recognition software is helping her autistic son to communicate.
Most of you have probably heard by now about how the technology reporter Mat Honan’s accounts were hacked and how he lost his Google Mail, his Apple and Amazon account, his Twitter account and the contents of his iPhone and laptop. All in under one hour.
What’s fascinating about this story is that we know how it was done: there was no heavy brute-force attack on weakly-encypted passwords, no SQL injections on his company’s website. The hackers had no animosity towards him; they didn’t know who he was, they just liked his three-letter @mat Twitter ID. In other words, this could easily happen to you too!
You should probably listen to this if you, say, use the Internet…
Joy Rosen comments on the new NPR Code of Ethics and Practices. Extract:
In my view the most important changes are these passages:
In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.
At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been considered and represented fairly.
With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of “he said, she said” journalism. It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being “fair to the truth,” which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.
© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser