National News

Shazam CEO: Introducing visual 'Shazaming'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:05

Before Apple came up with the App Store, Shazam was doing what it still to this day does best: helping people identify the music they are listening to. But, back in 2002, that didn't exactly work on flip phones the way it does on an iPhone or Android these days.

"Shazam was mobile before mobile was cool"

"We like to say 'Shazam was mobile before mobile was cool,'" says Rich Riley, Shazam CEO. "When it was originally launched, you would basically record a sound clip, text that to Shazam systems and it would return with the name of the song and you would pay like a dollar for that text."

Four years later came the iPhone.

"It took about 10 years to do the first one-billion Shazams and now we do a billion Shazams every 45 days or something like that," says Riley.

Top Shazam'd Songs of All Time: 15 million+

However, Shazam is not just about music anymore. Users can also Shazam television shows, movies and advertisements. The company also recently received $40 million from Mexico's Telecom mogul Carlos Slim for continued expansion.

"Most people now have this incredibly powerful device in their pocket. It’s only getting faster, it’s only getting more powerful and it’s the way they are going to want to connect to things around them," says Riley.

The company will soon announce "visual shazaming." Users will be able to Shazam things like print ads, quick response codes and packages.

"Say if it’s a DVD, for example, you can push Shazam and watch the full trailer," says Riley.

Shazam in five words or less

"Connect people to the world," says Riley.

Rich Riley's Bad Day at Work Playlist

"Blank Space" by Taylor Swift is the song currently stuck in Riley's head the most, he says, because his kids are obsessed with it.

Latest Charlie Hebdo will barely be distributed in US

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 11:00

The first issue of Charlie Hebdo published after last week's attacks hit newsstands in France today. The 3 million copies essentially sold out within hours.

Would-be readers in the U.S. will likely  have a tougher time finding a copy. They also might want to brush up on their French.

The magazine's distributor in the U.S. and Canada says just 300 untranslated copies will be sold here.

They'll arrive Friday morning on an Air France flight, CNN says.

Charlie Hebdo’s challenge to old media

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 10:20

It’s yet another sign of the growing distance between old and new media.

Many of the established stalwarts — including The New York Times, NBC News, CNN and NPR — declined to publish an image of the cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo,  the one featuring a  caricature of the prophet Mohammed holding a sign reading ‘Je Suis Charlie’ under the words ‘All is Forgiven.’ The cover, of course, is a response to the terrorist attack against the satirical magazine one week ago that killed 12 people, including its editor and five of its top cartoonists.

Most digital news outlets, meanwhile, rushed the image onto the Internet yesterday, after the magazine released it a day ahead of publication. The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and were among the sites prominently displaying it.

“We didn't even consider not publishing the new cover,” says Max Fisher, director of content at the news site Vox. “These cartoons have major news value as they are an important part of this story, so we feel it's part of our jobs to provide them to readers.”

Marketplace editors determined that the cover was of significant enough news value to warrant publication on

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The split isn’t absolute:  The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal used the cover, for instance. But many old-media editors argued that the decision not to publish came down to a matter of taste.

“Many Muslims consider publishing images of their prophet innately offensive and because we do not normally publish images or other material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities, we have refrained from publishing these images of Mohammed,” a spokeswoman for The New York Times told Marketplace.

That decision was controversial within the Times itself.

“The new cover image of Charlie Hebdo is an important part of a story that has gripped the world’s attention over the past week,” wrote Margaret Sullivan, the newspaper’s Public Editor in a piece published online Wednesday morning. “The cartoon itself, while it may disturb the sensibilities of a small percentage of Times readers, is neither shocking nor gratuitously offensive. And it has, undoubtedly, significant news value.”

What’s behind the split?

“There’s no question that there is evidence of a digital divide between legacy news brands and digital first news in publishing the cartoons,” says John Avlon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast. “I think the primary reason is due to the more bureaucratic, culturally cautious nature of older news brands versus the more aggressive and, in this case, principled stand that the younger generation of news brands felt free to pursue.”

What do the experts think?  “Personally, I think that this new Charlie Hebdo cover easily passes the test for a newsworthy image,” says Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. “Come on:  How Charlie Hebdo grapples with the murders of its editors and artists is of a matter of unquestionable political importance and cultural significance. It is also the truest test of satire--finding an image that is potent, compassionate and relevant in the face of unspeakable horror. This cover is news, pure and simple.”

After an initial print run of three million copies, partly funded by Google, Charlie Hebdo has gone back to press. The magazine is being distributed in 25 countries and translated into 16 languages, including Arabic. Charlie Hebdo’s normal print run is some 60,000 copies. 

Obama Pushes FCC To Expand Broadband Access

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 10:16

The president is asking the agency to address state laws that could inhibit competition for high-speed Internet service. The move could draw opposition from major cable and Internet companies.

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Early Test Of An Obamacare Experiment Posts Little Progress

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 09:21

Community groups getting federal funds to reduce hospital readmissions made improvements, an early evaluation finds. The experiment will run for five years.

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10 People Reported Dead After Prison Bus Falls Off Overpass In Texas

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 08:07

The bus was then hit by a train near a town in West Texas. The bus was transporting prisoners from Abilene to El Paso.

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Controversial French Comedian Arrested Over Facebook Post On Paris Attacks

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 07:46

Dieudonne's alleged crime: writing "Je suis Charlie Coulibaly" [I am Charlie Coulibaly]. He was one of 54 people held across the country; none has been linked to the deadly attacks.

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Mexico Charges Former Iguala Mayor In Missing Students Case

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 07:39

The country's attorney general also said that the mayor's wife had been linked to the organized crime group that police say likely murdered the students.

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Pope Francis Canonizes First Sri Lankan Saint

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 06:58

Francis is in Asia on a six-day tour intended to build the Roman Catholic Church's following on a continent that holds 60 percent of the world's population but only 12 percent of Catholics.

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Working Longer Hours Can Mean Drinking More

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 06:33

Working more than 48 hours a week makes risky drinking more likely, a study of people in 14 countries finds. And that held true for rich and poor, men and women.

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AirAsia Search: Singapore Ship Finds Aircraft's Fuselage

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 06:27

A Singapore official said images taken by a remote-controlled vehicle showed parts of the wing and words on the fuselage. Singapore has informed the Indonesian team that is trying to find the plane.

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What If Mitt And Jeb Really Do Go At It, Hammer And Tong?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 06:09

If Romney is serious, and follows through, it will fundamentally change the nature of the GOP primaries next year. And if both he and Jeb Bush run, they become each other's first hurdle.

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Quiz: Passing on a pledge of allegiance

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 06:03

President Obama endorsed student data-privacy pledge and proposed data protections during a speech at the Federal Trade Commission.

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A Tour De France First: An African Team Will Compete This Year

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 05:54

South Africa's MTN-Qhubeka received a wildcard from organizers of the world's most prestigious cycling race that begins in July.

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Gluten-Free Craze Is Boon And Bane For Those With Celiac Disease

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 05:24

Many people who don't have celiac disease have ditched gluten, thinking it will improve their health. That's created more dining options — and more derision — for those with the autoimmune disorder.

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Post-Attack Edition Of 'Charlie Hebdo' Sells Out In France

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 04:29

The satirical magazine said it would increase its run to 5 million. The cover of the magazine features a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.

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PODCAST: A bittersweet future for chocolate

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-14 03:00

We knew lower oil prices would depress the government's calculation of retail sales for last month. But taking out oil prices along with food and cars, retail sales still fell four tenths of a percent and that is a nasty surprise. More on that. Plus, college sports' governing body has its annual convention starting today in D.C. The White House has asked NCAA officials to come in and talk about a range of subjects including academic achievement by student athletes. Now that the college football championship game has come and gone, it could be time for a sharp shift to matters of policy. And with Valentine's day a week away, we take a look at the factors behind what could be a shortage of chocolate.

Far From North Africa, Berbers In The U.S. Ring In A New Year

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 02:19

For the indigenous people of Northern Africa, Jan. 14 is a day to celebrate their culture and religion. It reminds Berbers living in the U.S. of the struggle to preserve their identity far from home.

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Far From North Africa, Berbers In The U.S. Ring In A New Year

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 02:19

For the indigenous people of Northern Africa, Jan. 14 is a day to celebrate their culture and religion. It reminds Berbers living in the U.S. of the struggle to preserve their identity far from home.

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Harris Opens Bid For Boxer's Senate Seat, But Others May Follow

NPR News - Wed, 2015-01-14 02:18

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California announced that she won't seek re-election. State Attorney General Kamala Harris has said she'll run for the seat, but a number of Democrats are considering a run, too.

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