National / International News

Whisk offers a different model for getting around town

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-05-21 01:00

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."

McIlroy ends engagement to Wozniacki

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:53
Two-time major winner Rory McIlroy ends his engagement with former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

Man held after body found in river

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:51
A man is arrested after the body of a woman is recovered from the River Clyde in South Lanarkshire.

Obesity op rules stricter in Wales

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:34
People in Wales needing bariatric surgery to help lose weight have to meet stricter criteria than patients in England, a report finds.

Greens' message resonating - Bennett

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:30
The Green Party of England and Wales is "on track" to make gains in Thursday's European elections, its leader says.

Search for missing boat resumes

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:28
The search for a fishing boat missing off the north east coast of Scotland resumes, as the two men on board are named locally.

Is bubbling property really the greatest threat?

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:28
Is bubbling property the greatest threat to UK’s recovery?

Arrests in Syria charity fraud probe

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:28
Counter-terrorism police arrest five men in West and South Yorkshire over suspected fraud at a Syrian aid charity.

Jailed voyeur teacher still gets pay

BBC - Wed, 2014-05-21 00:15
A deputy head teacher starting a five-year jail term after admitting filming pupils in the toilets of his school is still receiving his salary.

Minaj files to dismiss wig claim

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:40
A former hair stylist for Nicki Minaj sues the star for $30m (£18m), accusing her of selling wigs based on his designs without permission.

VIDEO: Can animals beat students' exam stress?

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:24
As exam season gets under way, one university is using some unusual stress reduction techniques, including massage and petting animals.

Should HPV Testing Replace The Pap Smear?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:24

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.

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Without A Marijuana Breathalyzer, How To Curb Stoned Driving?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:21

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.

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For N.J. Mayor, The Time To Adapt To Rising Sea Levels Is Now

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:20

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.

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Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:20

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.

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Double Trouble For Coffee: Drought And Disease Send Prices Up

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:18

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.

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Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:17

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?

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Relatives Of Kidnapped Girls: Bring Them Back — But Alive

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:16

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.

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If I tweet at you, will you come?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:12

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.

The Full New York Times Innovation Report

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?

Lemme know – tweet me @kairyssdal or the show @marketplace. Or comments below, I guess.

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.

Thai army chief to meet key players

BBC - Tue, 2014-05-20 23:09
Thailand's army chief to hold talks with key players in the political crisis, a day after declaring martial law in the protest-hit nation.
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