Author: Meredith Whipple

Information is the Product; Outreach is Our Defense

In the aftermath of Google’s recent announcement of changes to its privacy policy, the media has been abuzz about personal security online. A Wall Street Journal investigative series entitled “What They Know” had the same effect in April 2010 when it reported that the 50 most popular U.S. websites installed an average of 64 pieces of tracking technology onto visitors’ computers, usually with no warning. Public concern is reasonable and expected; the idea of information secretly being gathered to be used for who knows what is a disturbing thought for many consumers. But this is nothing new. Google has always been gathering information about its users in order to improve its services through more relevant advertising, better functionality and more accurate search engine results. The information Google collects will not change or increase due to changes to the privacy policy and the company will still not sell users’ personal information. Google will simply consolidate the information it gathers among its services and offer a single, easier-to-understand privacy policy. Don’t like it? Create different usernames, sign out of your Google account when you use the search engine or watch YouTube, or just stop using a Google account all together. Too inconvenient? You could get your money back – but the service is free. Like it or not, Google is a business – and our information is its product. The fact...

Read More

How the Media Responded When the World Changed

  In the 1973, as U.S. involvement in Vietnam ended and the truth behind the Watergate scandal unfolded, journalists in America had a revelation; relentlessly questioning the actions of government leaders was an essential part of their role, as was preserving the integrity of the political environment. In the years following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, a similar revelation occurred. The event no doubt caused the nation deep grief, fear, confusion and a greater sense of nationalism, among other compelling emotions. These emotions, however, contributed to a long-term failure of The Fourth Estate. Reporting the aftermath of September 11 must have been unimaginably difficult, and on the day and the days that followed, it was an exemplary display of noncommercial observing, truth-seeking and communal grieving. Many journalists even risked their lives to fulfill their duty of reporting this event to the nation and the world. But the fear and emotion that overcame the nation hindered the ability of journalists to serve as a watchdog of government decisions. In 2003, the media failed to adequately investigate claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, leading to a war that eight years later is now nearly ubiquitous in its unpopularity among the public. As the war went on, we all saw the errors of their ways, as well as of the ways of our political leaders. The journalism of 2011...

Read More

Quick Jump