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Hacking Inc. /// The New York Times Magazine explored an emerging industry of paid hacking operatives. Firms, like one called Hacking Team, initially gained traction by aiding government surveillance. They have since been deployed in political espionage, leveraging email spear phishing techniques to access campaign accounts and communications. Ironically, insights into their efforts were unearthed when Hacking Team itself was breached by hackers, exposing its internal communications, technology, passwords and client list.
Give Cash /// Researchers and global aid organizations are finding that cash transfers, as opposed to in-kind donations, may be the best response to humanitarian crises and poverty alleviation. In one example, a four-country study found that 20 percent more people could be helped using cash transfers as opposed to direct food aid. The widespread adoption of mobile phones and digital payment systems in the developing world have made cash transfers even easier and enables organizations like GiveDirectly to track and evaluate impact.
The Apprenticeship /// An essay in Foreign Affairs outlines the technical demands of manufacturing jobs in the United States, and the inadequate supply of trained workers to fill those positions. One survey by Deloitte found 82 percent of manufacturing executives expect they will be unable to hire enough people. The authors argue that the United States — like Germany, where 55 percent of students attend technical schools — should encourage more young people to pursue vocational schools and align education providers with employers to offer apprenticeship programs.
Rapid Response /// A reporter offers tips for responding to and fact-checking tweets from President-elect Trump within seconds after they have been issued. These tactics, along with adding account notifications via the Twitter app, can be used for engaging with any major personality on the platform. Another app called Trigger notifies users when Trump tweets about a publicly traded stock they own.
Aiming to Reduce Pollution /// The Department of Defense is inviting proposals to produce biodegradable training ammunition. The rounds of ammunition will be loaded with seeds, which when left behind, will grow into plants that will further break down the biodegradable material. One condition for the proposals is that contractors must develop the material so it can be used in the commercial sector, such as construction materials or food packaging.
Tech in 2017 /// Wired offered predictions for what is to come this year for the tech industry. The list includes a bump in tech IPOs, a pullback in investments in on-demand startups and the return of blogging in the Trump-era.
We the People /// Pew Research Center analyzed five years worth of petitions created on the White House’s “We the People” tool, which allows citizens to petition the Administration on any issue they care about. Most common petition topics included health care, military and veterans’ issues, illnesses, and immigration.
New Media Archives /// ArchiveSocial has built an extensive social media archive of the Obama White House. The tool allows users to search keywords and topics discussed on over 100 official White House social media channels. In a separate effort, Internet Archive has collected over 700 speeches by President-elect Trump. The collection, which includes more than 520 hours of footage, is meant to help reporters fact-check Trump’s future statements.
Instagood /// Nonprofits are leveraging Instagram’s Stories feature to promote their work in creative ways. UNICEF and TakePart have both produced mini-documentaries, and Charity Water created a tutorial on making movie snacks to market a film it was debuting on Facebook. With the added functionality to link to outside sites, organizations are using this content to solicit donations and drive other actions, or simply build trust and loyalty with their followers.
Clips Worth Clicking /// The New York Times used television preferences and 50 heat maps to demonstrate the cultural divide across the United States. President Obama made the case for criminal justice reform in the Harvard Law Review. Vice President Biden again made a dull swearing-in ceremony entertaining.
Upcoming Events /// NYC BigApps 2017 launch on January 12th in NYC. General Assembly panel on “Digital Philanthropy” on January 31st in NYC.
Director, Socrates Program /// The Aspen Institute /// DC
Associate Director of Media Relations /// The Hub Project /// DC
Director, Learning and Instruction /// General Assembly /// NYC
Social Media Assistant /// Center for American Progress /// DC
Politics and Government Outreach, Associate Manager /// Facebook /// DC
Communications Associate /// The Malala Fund /// NYC, DC, or London
Program Analyst, Corporate Partnerships Program /// Environmental Defense Fund /// DC
Creative Production Manager /// Everytown for Gun Safety /// NYC