M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘msnbc-com

Can you scientifically quantify social media opinion?

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Over at NBCNews.com, we’ve started publishing daily charts tracking what people are saying about the presidential and vice presidential candidates on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s today’s for the weekend (click here for the full-size version):

Full social media chart Aug 26 2012

In my analysis, I write:

In recent weeks, Obama has generally led Romney by two to seven percentage points in national polls, which carefully select their samples to reflect Americans most engaged in the election and registered to vote.

The picture is different among Americans who have gone online to talk about the election, however — NBCPolitics.com’s analysis indicates that that narrower but more diverse sample of the country prefers Romney by 36 percent to 32 percent overall and by 51 percent to 49 percent when they’re compared head to head:

'Intent to vote' sentiment Aug 26 2012

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Nope, I haven’t changed jobs, or: Welcome to NBCNews.com

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But my employer changed names:

NBC News has acquired full control of msnbc.com and its digital network from Microsoft Corp. and is immediately rebranding the site as NBCNews.com.

Many details of the arrangement remain to be worked out, and financial terms weren’t disclosed.

But NBC News President Steve Capus said the site — one of the news industry’s earliest and most successful online operations — would become part of NBC News Digital, a new division led by Vivian Schiller, the former president and chief executive of National Public Radio. Schiller joined NBC News as chief digital officer last year.

Full story (M. Alex Johnson/NBCNews.com)

Written by Alex

July 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Police Blotter of the Day: Cop twice uses Taser on mom at Mississippi middle school

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A police officer working as a school resource officer in northern Mississippi twice stunned the mother of a Guntown Middle School pupil with a Taser during a heated argument at the school Wednesday morning.

The woman — identified as Michele Lee Eaton, 39, of Saltillo, about 15 miles north of Tupelo — was arrested on disorderly conduct, public profanity and other charges.

Guntown is where Adam Mayes, who allegedly killed a Tennessee woman and one of her daughters before  killing himself earlier this month, was spotted on a convenience store surveillance camera.

Full story (M. Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

Written by Alex

May 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Surprise! People are sophisticated

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Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET: Over at msnbc.com, I have a piece looking at how people have followed the Trayvon Martin case online. This is one of the projects we’re doing with Crimson Hexagon’s Forsight social media tools, which are explained in this post.

Although you might get the impression from news coverage of the case that the American public wants George Zimmerman’s head on a stake, what the American public has been saying on Twitter and Facebook and in online forums is much more nuanced.

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Hack or no hack?

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Over at msnbc.com, I’m tracking the attack on the CIA’s website, allegedly by Anonymous.

There’s an interesting language issue here. Several major news organizations are reporting that Anonymous “hacked” the CIA. Maybe; maybe not. The CIA isn’t commenting.

Initially, it appeared that a straightforward DDoS flood knocked out cia.gov. That’s not a “hack,” which implies some sort of infiltration of the host or its servers. It’s an attack from outside.

(You can read the Wikipedia definition for DDoS here.)

As of this writing, the site has been down more than four hours, which is an unusually long time for a robust agency to recover from a DDoS attack. That raises the possibility that the site remains down for some other reason. It could be some other kind of penetrating operation, which you could call a hack. Or it could yet have been a DDoS assault, and the CIA may be keeping the site down while it investigates and scrubs it for security holes. Not a hack.

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Written by Alex

February 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Can you even copyright porn in the first place?

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Over at msnbc.com’s Open Channel blog, I have a follow-up to a story I did last year explaining how law firms threaten to sue people who allegedly illegally download porn — and out them as porn fans in court documents — unless they settle for a few thousand bucks.

One of those people has a new counter-strategy: She argues in a suit filed this week that porn is obscenity, and obscenity is ineligible for copyright. Therefore, porn can’t be copyrighted, so even if she did download it without paying — which she denies — it’s not “piracy” in the first place:

Open Channel: Internet piracy suit asks: Can you even copyright porn?

Do you think that’s a legitimate argument? Read the full piece and let me know in the comments.

Written by Alex

February 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Is American intelligence on the right track?

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Over at msnbc.com, I have a report on the annual national intelligence assessment. In it, National Intelligence Director James Clapper told senators that al-Qaida could be receding to purely symbolic status, leaving the United States with the challenge of confronting numerous new, harder-to-get-a-grip-on security threats.

Read the details here and let me know whether you agree. And if so, how should Washington refocus its intelligence resources?

We also have a poll on Facebook: Is the U.S. safer today?

Written by Alex

January 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Police Blotter of the Century: For suspect, gun is a .38-caliber pain in the …

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Authorities believe Michael Ward concealed this .38-caliber revolver by hiding it where the sun don't shine. (WITN-TV)

A man pulled who was pulled over for a traffic violation in North Carolina was found this week with a gun in his jail cell — a big gun that authorities believe he hid in his rectum.

Deputies said the man — who claimed he was disabled and couldn’t walk — was searched and strip-searched both at a hosital and at the Onslow County, N.C., jail before he was placed into a holding cell. Jailers even made him perform what they call a “squat and cough” procedure.

No gun.

Only later did the .38-caliber revolver — 10 inches long, with a 4½-inch barrel — turn up.

Ward was taken back to the hospital Friday for examination of “possible injuries that may have occurred” to his rectum.

Full story (M. Alex Johnson/msnbc.com with WITN-TV and WNCN-TV)

Written by Alex

January 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Police Blotter of the Day: Suicide by crossbow? Police say it can’t be ruled out.

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A 53-year-old Michigan man was found dead Tuesday morning with an arrow in his chest.

The man, Chris Martin Allen, was found lying in the corner of a parking lot in Howell, about 30 miles east of Lansing. The arrow was protruding from the left of his chest, and a crossbow was found next to his body, police said.

The police report said investigators considered Allen’s death a homicide, but Police Chief George Basar told NBC station WILX of Lansing that suicide couldn’t be ruled out.

“It’s physically possible,” Basar said. “We have discussed that, and it’s physically possible.”

Full story (Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

Written by Alex

January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Michigan man may have intentionally infected hundreds with HIV

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Leon Hendrix of NBC station WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Mich., spoke to one of the possible victims.

Update: Smith’s attorney says he plans on “exploring all options” in defending Smith, saying specifically, “I am concerned about his mental health.”


Over at msnbc.com, I have the bizarre story of a Michigan man with HIV who’s been charged with sex crimes after he told police he intentonally set out to kill as many people as he could by having sex with them.

According to documents on file with Grand Rapids 61st District Court, Smith claimed to have had sex with “thousands” of partners, intending to kill them by infecting them with HIV. Some of those people are from outside the Grand Rapids area, including people Smith met over the Internet, he told police, according to documents.

Smith faces separate preliminary hearings on the two charges on Jan. 4 and Jan. 9. He remains in the Kent County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Smith’s attorney did not answer calls seeking comment.

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Written by Alex

December 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

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