Law and Legal
“Automation is splitting the American labor force into two worlds. There is a small island of highly educated professionals making good wages at corporations like Intel or Boeing, which reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit per employee. That island sits in the middle of a sea of less educated workers who are stuck at businesses like hotels, restaurants and nursing homes that generate much smaller profits per employee and stay viable primarily by keeping wages low…”
Poynter: “As online advertising lags, many local news organizations are shifting their strategy to focus on reader-based revenue models, especially digital subscriptions, as a path to financial sustainability and greater community service. That pivot is redefining the goals for many news outlets. Rather than chasing viral “clicks” to boost ad revenue, they are trying to establish their value to subscribers. New strategies require new insights into local digital audiences. That’s why a major new Northwestern University analysis of reader and subscriber data from three big-city news websites asks a more nuanced and essential question: What behaviors make readers willing to pay? The researchers’ answer: News organizations must get their readers into a regular habit to keep them as digital subscribers. The study showed that frequency of consuming local news is the single biggest predictor of retaining subscribers—more than the number of stories read or the time spent reading them. “
This research illustrates a sea change in the relationship between local news organizations and their readers,” said Tim Franklin, a senior associate dean at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. “As the industry moves to a business model more focused on digital subscriptions, local news organizations need to create a value proposition for readers that leads them to become frequent, daily consumers of their news and information. “Our data analysis shows that in this new era for local news, metrics like page views and time spent on articles – two commonly cited benchmarks – are not nearly as important as the number of readers who are frequent users. With that knowledge, the question then becomes: What are the tools and types of news and information that local outlets can generate to grow a daily reader habit?” said Franklin, former president of The Poynter Institute and a former top editor at the Indianapolis Star, Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun…”
“Pulse is a project of the General Services Administration that measures how U.S. government domains are following best practices for federal websites. Pulse is also an experiment built on automated tools, and is probably not perfect. Pulse measures domains over the public internet using open source tools, and its results can be reviewed by anyone.Frequently Asked Questions
analytics.usa.gov: “This data provides a window into how people are interacting with the government online. The data comes from a unified Google Analytics account for U.S. federal government agencies known as the Digital Analytics Program. This program helps government agencies understand how people find, access, and use government services online. The program does not track individuals, and anonymizes the IP addresses of visitors.
Not every government website is represented in this data. Currently, the Digital Analytics Program collects web traffic from around 400 executive branch government domains, across about 5,700 total websites, including every cabinet department…”
Pew – In emerging economies, technology use still much more common among young people and the well-educated: “Mobile technology has spread rapidly around the globe. Today, it is estimated that more than 5 billion people have mobile devices, and over half of these connections are smartphones. But the growth in mobile technology to date has not been equal, either across nations or within them. People in advanced economies are more likely to have mobile phones – smartphones in particular – and are more likely to use the internet and social media than people in emerging economies. For example, a median of 76% across 18 advanced economies surveyed have smartphones, compared with a median of only 45% in emerging economies.
Smartphone ownership can vary widely by country, even across advanced economies. While around nine-in-ten or more South Koreans, Israelis and Dutch people own smartphones, ownership rates are closer to six-in-ten in other developed nations like Poland, Russia and Greece. In emerging economies, too, smartphone ownership rates vary substantially, from highs of 60% in South Africa and Brazil to just around four-in-ten in Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria. Among the surveyed countries, ownership is lowest in India, where only 24% report having a smartphone…”
engadget: “Given the frequency of hacks and data leaks these days, chances are goo at least one of your passwords has been released to the wild. A new Chrome extension released by Google today makes it a little easier to stay on top of that: Once installed, Password Checkup will simply sit in your Chrome browser and alert you if you enter a username / password combination that Google “knows to be unsafe.” The company says it has a database of 4 billion credentials that have been compromised in various data breaches that it can check against…”
DuckDuckGo Report: “Most browsers have a “Do Not Track” (DNT) setting that sends “a special signal to websites, analytics companies, ad networks, plug in providers, and other web services you encounter while browsing, to stop tracking your activity.” Sounds good, right? Sadly, it’s not effective. That’s because this Do Not Track setting is only a voluntary signal sent to websites, which websites don’t have to respect. Nevertheless, a hefty portion of users across many browsers use the Do Not Track setting. While DNT is disabled by default in most major web browsers, in a survey we conducted of 503 U.S. adults in Nov 2018, 23.1% (±3.7) of respondents have consciously enabled the DNT setting on their desktop browsers. (Note: Apple is in the process of removing the DNT setting from Safari.)..”
Greenville Online – In South Carolina, civil forfeiture targets black people’s money most of all, exclusive investigative data shows“. The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail examined these cases and every other court case involving civil asset forfeiture in South Carolina from 2014-2016. Our examination was aimed at understanding this little-discussed, potentially life-changing power that state law holds over citizens — the ability of officers to seize property from people, even if they aren’t charged with a crime. The resulting investigation became TAKEN, a statewide journalism project with an exclusive database and in-depth reporting. It’s the first time a comprehensive forfeiture investigation like this has been done for an entire U.S. state, according to experts. The TAKEN team scoured more than 3,200 forfeiture cases and spoke to dozens of targeted citizens plus more than 50 experts and officials. Additionally, the team contacted every law enforcement agency in the state.
This yielded a clear picture of what is happening: Police are systematically seizing cash and property — many times from people who aren’t guilty of a crime — netting millions of dollars each year. South Carolina law enforcement profits from this policing tactic: the bulk of the money ends up in its possession…That money adds up. Over three years, law enforcement agencies seized more than $17 million, our investigation shows…”
“Key moments throughout U.S. presidential history have been captured on YouTube, from visiting American troops and celebrating life’s achievements, to taking the oath of office and hosting world leaders. As President Trump begins his third year in office, this tradition continues. As we have done since 2010, YouTube will live stream the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5 at 9 p.m. ET, as well as the response. This year, you can tune in to live streams in both English and Spanish. Here are the channels where you can follow the coverage:
News Life Span: Which stories stay longest in the public view, and which ones fade away? – “In today’s “attention economy,” attention is a resource. Furthermore, trust in the media is at an all-time low—arguably the effect of the polarization of the political landscape and the spread of “fake news” in the Trump Era. Given this shifting media landscape, which stories still hold our attention? Knowing which events persist in public memory and which ones fade away can give us greater insight into the direction society is evolving. One way to gauge public attention is by measuring a story’s “search interest” over time, based on Google search data. Due to its volume, search interest can be a good proxy for the public’s interests. This visualization explores search interest across the United States around various news events, curated by Axios. In addition, the stories are aggregated by category, including Politics & Elections, Natural Catastrophes, Environment & Science, Social Issues, Violence & War, and Obituaries. The form and size of the search interest plots depict how public interest unfolds over time. Examining where searches occur can reveal regional differences in event interest. News stories for natural catastrophes tend to attract the highest interest from the places most affected. For example, the greatest concentration of searches for Hurricane Florence came from regions along the eastern seaboard directly in its path. Events that influence the whole country, like the Midterm elections in November 2018, exhibit more uniform search interest across the entire United States…”
The New York Times: “The federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic access to what are meant to be public records. A pending lawsuit could help tear that wall down. The costs of storing and transmitting data have plunged, approaching zero. By one estimate, the actual cost of retrieving court documents, including secure storage, is about one half of one ten-thousandth of a penny per page. But the federal judiciary charges a dime a page to use its service, called Pacer (for Public Access to Court Electronic Records). The National Veterans Legal Services Program and two other nonprofit groups filed a class action in 2016 seeking to recover what they said were systemic overcharges. “Excessive Pacer fees inhibit public understanding of the courts and thwart equal access to justice, erecting a financial barrier that many ordinary citizens are unable to clear,” they wrote. The suit accuses the judicial system of using the fees it charges as a kind of slush fund, spending the money to buy flat-screen televisions for jurors, to finance a study of the Mississippi court system and to send notices in bankruptcy proceedings…”
The Denver Channel: “A bill championed by Sen. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, is the most accessed bill on the Colorado legislature’s website and could eventually change how the United States chooses its president. “The bottom line is that every Coloradan should have their voice heard,” said Foote.” Senate Bill 19-042 …makes] Colorado the 13th state to join what’s known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact. States in the compact agree to award all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, no matter which presidential candidate wins in their state. But there’s a trick. It only goes into effect when enough states representing 270 electoral votes sign on, which is the number of votes a candidate needs to win the presidency. So far, 12 states with a total of 172 electoral votes have already joined the compact. Colorado would bring nine more, so 89 more electoral votes would be needed if the Colorado proposal passes and is signed by Gov. Jared Polis…”
Economic Policy Institute – No reason for local policymakers to let Airbnb bypass tax or regulatory obligations. “…In our cost-benefit analysis, we find:
- The economic costs Airbnb imposes likely outweigh the benefits. While the introduction and expansion of Airbnb into U.S. cities and cities around the world carries large potential economic benefits and costs, the costs to renters and local jurisdictions likely exceed the benefits to travelers and property owners.
- Airbnb might, as claimed, suppress the growth of travel accommodation costs, but these costs are not a first-order problem for American families. The largest and best-documented potential benefit of Airbnb expansion is the increased supply of travel accommodations, which could benefit travelers by making travel more affordable. There is evidence that Airbnb increases the supply of short-term travel accommodations and slightly lowers prices. But there is little evidence that the high price of travel accommodations is a pressing economic problem in the United States: The price of travel accommodations in the U.S. has not risen particularly fast in recent years, nor are travel costs a significant share of American family budgets.
- Rising housing costs are a key problem for American families, and evidence suggests that the presence of Airbnb raises local housing costs. The largest and best-documented potential cost of Airbnb expansion is the reduced supply of housing as properties shift from serving local residents to serving Airbnb travelers, which hurts local residents by raising housing costs. There is evidence this cost is real..”
Politico Explainer – “Every president will likely agree: speechwriters are the forgotten heroes behind almost everything they say in public. And no matter who the president is or what party he’s from, the writers have a huge lift for the State of the Union: to craft, arguably, the biggest speech a president will give all year. “It’s not just a speech it’s not just to get applause. It’s really a state paper. You start weeks or even months in advance. Every word matters,” Michael Waldman, the current president of the Brennan Center for Justice, said. Waldman worked in the Clinton White House from 1993-1999. And for the majority of his time, he was the Clinton’s chief speechwriter, either editing or writing almost 2,000 speeches and being the lead on four State of the Union addresses. POLITICO sat down with Waldman before President Trump’s second State of the Union to get a behind-the-scenes look at how speechwriters help prepare the president for what will be their most watched speech all year.” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Lebovits, Gerald, How to Succeed in Legal Writing by Really Trying (September 1, 2018). Gerald Lebovits, The Legal Writer, How to Succeed in Legal Writing by Really Trying, 90 N.Y. St. B.J. 61 (Sept. 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3277191 – “This column addresses how to make someone competent at legal writing if they currently are not and how to teach someone to be excellent if they already are competent.”
Via LLRX.com – LinkedIn 2019 Talent Trends: Soft Skills, Transparency and Trust – Global Industry Analyst Josh Bersin addresses critical employee workplace analysis validating people skills as highly rated employer HR and talent requirements. In professions for whom continuous delivery of outstanding customer services using collaborative and dynamic team efforts is the norm, Bersin’s data driven analysis is a benchmark to expand upon organizational mission, vision and values.
Via LLRX.com – The implications of the difference between facts and knowledge – Using the foundational paper, Facts or Knowledge? A Review of Private Internal Reports of Investigations by Fraud Examiners, Bruce Boyes succinctly identifies the difference between facts and knowledge to clarify why organizations should engage in knowledge management.
Consumer Reports: “…CR tested 45 popular fruit juices sold across the country—including apple, grape, pear, and fruit blends—and found elevated levels of those elements, commonly known as heavy metals, in almost half of them, including juices marketed for children. “In some cases, drinking just 4 ounces a day—or half a cup—is enough to raise concern,” says James Dickerson, Ph.D., CR’s chief scientific officer. Our test focused on cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic (the type most harmful to health) because they pose some of the greatest risks, and prior research suggests they are common in food and drink…The chart below shows the juices we tested and the daily serving sizes that pose potential health risks for adults and children. Here, we look into why heavy metals are dangerous, why so many products have high levels, what manufacturers are doing to lower those levels, and how parents can protect their children—and themselves…”
“The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) has just launched a Cyber Policy Portal that serves as an interactive, ‘at a glance’ tool for policymakers and experts. For the first time on a single site, users can access concise yet comprehensive cyber policy profiles of all 193 UN Member States, as well as regional and international organizations. Individual profiles summarize and link key cyber strategy documents, responsible agencies, legislation, and multilateral agreements. While governments are increasingly making their cybersecurity strategies and policies publicly available, policy-makers and experts seeking to develop an overview of national and international cyber policies often still need to piece together data from disparate sources. They attempt to identify relevant information in foreign languages, scour lengthy printed reports, and maneuver past complex assessment scores.
The sleek new Portal improves access to this critical information in a single, user-friendly tool. Search filters and a compare function allow easy analysis of progress across States and regions. Additional features include sharable and printable profiles, and feedback mechanisms to allow timely updates. All data is from open source and voluntarily submitted material with links to primary sources accessible within the Portal. Check out this short video to learn more and let us know what you think!”