From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Thursday, May 22:
The National Association of Realtors reports on April sales of existing homes.
The White House will host a ceremony for the United States Postal Service's new Harvey Milk Forever Stamp, in honor of Harvey Milk Day.
And it was indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood. On this day in 1967, "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood" premiered on PBS with the late Frederick McFeely Rogers.
The newly released "positive experience index" of 138 countries finds that people in Paraguay had the rosiest outlook (again). The U.S. made the top 20 in the annual Gallup index.
"Everyone must leave something behind," the author once wrote. Also: Philip Roth retires from sandwich eating. And Jane Fonda is writing a novel.
Thank heavens it's not pretty, not thirsty, not useful, not a bother, not nearby. It looks like a mess of rope. But, oh my, is this plant old. Really, really old.
Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his sons were charged with embezzling millions of dollars in public funds.
T-Mobile is offering three new cell phone plans that start at $30 a month and include 100 free minutes to some countries in Latin America. T-Mobile’s partner in the plans is Univision, the Spanish language broadcast network. If you sign up for a new Univision Mobile plan, you’ll get access to exclusive content.
Luis Miguel Messianu, president and chief creative officer at Alma, a Hispanic and multicultural advertising firm in Miami, says the strength of Univision’s brand could help bring success.
"Why would I leave my AT&T plan and move to this new venture if it doesn’t give me additional perks?" he asked.
Messianu notes that Latino consumers want good content and prices, and that others have failed in targeting them in the past, like ESPN, J-Lo and Verizon.
T-Mobile wants Latino consumers, and it's easy to understand why. Messianu calls them "the original social network." A telecom industry analyst, Roger Entner, says Hispanics are spending more on their smart phones than the average. He notes that the market for Latino smartphone users is worth about $30 billion a year in service revenues.
But when it comes to Latinos, T-Mobile will have to overtake AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
JP Morgan Chase's $100 million dollar pledge to invest in the Detroit community follows a $15 million investment by Goldman Sachs late last year.
Robin Boyle, a professor of urban studies and planning at Wayne State University, says the investments don't necessarily signal that Detroit is the new darling of Wall Street, but the funds could help the bankrupt city focus on the future, while city managers grapple with billion dollars of debts.Terry Simonette, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners, a non-profit community development financial institution that is receiving $20 million in loans and $5 million in grant money from Chase, says the group will use the money to help spur development in three Detroit neighborhoods: Northwest, Southwest and Jefferson East. "As people re-occupy those neighborhoods they need food, bakery, they need coffee shops, they need supermarkets," says Simonette.
In 1983, the high court ruled judges can't jail someone because they're too poor to pay their fines and fees. But an NPR investigation found judges still use jail time as punishment for non-payment.
When you think of the iconic images of New York City, certainly the yellow taxi cab comes to mind. It makes sense - NYC makes up 40 percent of the for-hire vehicle industry's business in the United States. It's why Michael Ibrahim, CEO of a startup called Whisk, thinks his business couldn't have gotten started anywhere else.
Unlike other phone apps with on-demand car services (think Uber or Lyft), Whisk doesn't deal in recruiting drivers to be part of its service. Instead, it serves as a platform for users to locate the nearest black car or livery business vehicles. Also, unlike its competitors, users can watch their ride fare in real time on their phone, not unlike riding in a yellow taxi.
Ibrahim says that working with multiple businesses that offer cars for hire allows Whisk to avoid a common problem found in other ride-sharing programs:
"There’s actually a predicative problem about knowing where rides are going to come from at what time and helping to deploy drivers. And what we get, because of our model, is we have all these partners that are helping us do it."
The recent FDA approval of an HPV test to screen for cervical cancer has ignited debate among doctors. Some say the viral test will catch cancers earlier. Others warn it increases needless biopsies.
Legal pot sales are growing in Colorado, and the state has a marijuana DUI blood standard for drivers. But without a pot breathalyzer, it's hard to measure how high someone is.
Hoboken, N.J., has experienced several major floods since Hurricane Sandy. Mayor Dawn Zimmer says her city isn't waiting to prepare for the effects of climate change.
The plastic beads in some face soaps look a lot like fish food when they end up in the water. Two states are close to banning the beads, which researchers say can spread toxins through the food chain.
Coffee prices have spiked this year because of drought in Brazil and a disease that's crippling coffee production in parts of Central America. Coffee traders says prices could rise to $3 a pound.
Many of sports history's greatest athletes never led their teams to a championship victory. So why should it be a requirement for basketball stars today?
Now that the Nigerian military seems to be serious about rescuing girls kidnapped by Islamist extremists, relatives worry that firepower alone won't save them. They want the government to negotiate.
Indulge me for a second here, while I digress, would you? (I know, I haven't really said anything to digress from, but let's not get hung up on the details, shall we?) There's a fistful of business and/or economic stories I could touch on right now: Credit Suisse and its guilty plea, AT&T buying DirecTV, Jamie Dimon and his pay raise, GM's latest recall... and so on and so on.
But the truth is, these daily stories can be a dime a dozen. You wake up, you report something, you tell people about it. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The bigger issue for me this week, honestly, has been systemic.
Largely lost in the news of Jill Abramson being fired from the top job at the New York Times was the leaking of a long and sophisticated report (by a team led by A.G. Sulzberger, the son of the man who fired Abramson, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger) on the Times' digital future. Companies, both inside and oustide journalism, come out with "Our Digital Future" memos all the time.
But the Times being the Times, this one's going to resonate. As it should. It's well researched, clearly written, and insightful. I want to pull out two related but separate points:
1. "Audience Development." It used to be that we'd put a story on the radio (or a newspaper would put the story in the paper), the audience would come listen or read it, and that would be it. Distribution made simple. Catch is, of course, that it's waaaaay more complicated now. We're all so distracted and pulled at and tugged on by Twitter feeds and Facebook and all the rest that we (journalists, that is) have to figure out a way to get you to pay attention. The Sulzberger report (and many many others, to be fair) calls it 'audience development.' So here's what I want to know from you guys:
How do you want to be... developed? (Courted, if you will.) If I tweet at you, will you come? Shout-outs to our website? Are you a podcast person and are we making that available enough to you?
2. Ummm... money. Here's the equation, in public media, anyway. Far and away our audience (and revenue) is tied to what goes on the radio. Which makes sense. That's what we've been doing and doing well for decades. It's not, however, where the future is. Mobile, digital, portable and personal is where we're going, yet the audience and the money aren't there yet. So how do we at least balance the scales?
How do we drive digital content that meets our standards but can't yet pay for itself?
What should we not do that we used to do? (So that we can start doing the things we have to do.)
Newspapers are trying to figure it out – all the way up to the New York Times – and so is public media, both APM (the company that owns Marketplace) and NPR. It is, honestly, kind of an existential question.
In other news, a couple of quick shoutouts from Marketplace coverage this week. First of all, the Morning Report team is in London for a special look at income inequality in the (other) global financial center. Mind the Gap, it's called – get it? Also not to be missed is a two-parter from David Weinberg about the rebirth of American craftsmanship, risk-taking, and a really cool motorcyle.
Sen. Mitch McConnell's large victory in Kentucky suggested that he could have a fairly unified party behind him come November.
The document written by David Barron lays out the legal justification for the overseas targeting of American-born terrorist suspects. Its release could clear Barron's nomination to the federal bench.
The appeals court granted a stay hours before Russell Bucklew was scheduled for lethal injection.