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NYT vs. WSJ: Now in CGI

The Taiwan-based animation company, Next Media, has cast its cyborg gaze upon the ongoing media battle between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to hilarious effect in this viral video. High points include a balletic fight sequence between a finger-snapping Rupert Murdoch and Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. in a “West Side Story”-inspired rumble.

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Photo: Today in history, New Amsterdam became New York in 1664

New York City's Pennsylvania Station in April 1962, two years before it was demolished. Photo: Cervin Robinson

Disaster tourism

Five years after Hurricane Katrina and still in the wake of the BP oil spill, my husband and I decided to take our 10-month-old baby Declan on vacation to New Orleans. Spending our tourist dollars in the Gulf region seemed like the patriotic thing to do, and, as journalists, we figured we’d blog about the experience. But after arriving to find Brian Williams reporting live from the French Quarter, a CNN van parked semi-permanently outside the Café du Monde, and every tourist kiosk in town hawking “Katrina tours,” we realized that our time was probably better spent eating, drinking, listening to music and soaking up atmosphere rather than trying to find something new to say about the twin tragedies that have devasted this unlucky corner of the country. Still, I wanted to share some photos — of disaster, recovery, and my 10-month-old son posing with a bunch of drag queens.

Declan and his dad in the Lower 9th Ward. A day after the Katrina anniversary, the area was deserted — the only people we saw were a young couple from Florida there, like us, to survey the destruction, and an older man who biked in from another neighborhood to look out at the water where he used to go crabbing. Read All »

Wednesday morning roundup

Photo: Flickr/onepotscreamer


In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeff Goldberg, former boogeyman Fidel Castro says that his replacement, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, should “stop slandering the Jews.” Look out for part II of Goldberg’s fascinating story about his meeting with Castro on his blog later today.

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Internet killed the video star

For as long as I can remember, the big knock on MTV has been that “they don’t play videos anymore.” And while that’s mostly true, and the network has shifted its focus to other kinds of “programming,” MTV is still a major outlet for (usually major label) artists on the verge of breaking through. But there are a lot more music videos out there than programming hours, and as a result, the Internet is taking over the medium.  Initially artists and labels took to the Web because in a post-”Real World” world, they simply needed a place to go.  On the Web, you can curse, you can run long films in support of a three-minute song, and you can distribute with the click of a mouse.  OK GO’s now-legendary treadmill routine exploded on YouTube, not on television, and brought the band a new level of celebrity. But now, the Web is transforming the music video into something far more interactive and non-linear. Read All »

Photo: Mount Sinabung erupts

Mount Sinabung releases volcanic ash into the sky in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: AP/Dedy Zulkfil

Reveal, rebuild, reconsider

Welcome to the Daily Need. Ever since we began to imagine what Need to Know would be, we’ve expected our website to include a blog that featured robust, lively, provocative conversation, all day long, between you out there and us in here, at PBS. The Need to Know website launched the first of May, and while we love our website and appreciate the hard work of everyone who posts original stories, videos, blogs, photo galleries and the like…we did feel that something was missing. We really wanted a blog.

So here it is. The NTK staff will be posting news, opinion, funny stuff, awkwardly revealing information about ourselves, and more, every day. We hope you’ll respond, a lot. Read All »

Tuesday morning roundup

The Isaar II nuclear powerplant in Landshut, Germany. Photo: Flickr/WaveCult


Germany agreed to extend the life spans of its 17 nuclear reactors by an average of 12 years, giving rise to protests from the country’s environmental activists.’s Eban Harrell chalks up Germany’s reversal as “one of a string of recent, if small, victories for nuclear power.”  Read All »

As peace talks begin, the Hamas question remains unresolved

Not too long ago, after a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla killed nine activists and sparked international outrage, Need to Know spoke with some veterans of the Middle East peace process who had been asking the question: What should the world do about Hamas? The Islamic militant organization won elections in Gaza in 2008, and consolidated its hold on the region in 2009, when the opposing Palestinian political faction, Fatah, withdrew from the territory.

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