Former Israeli Soldier and Journalist Arrested

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Former Israeli soldier turned journalist Anat Kam has been held under secret house arrest by Israeli authorities based on allegations that during her service she leaked classified military documents suggesting that the Israeli army violated laws related to targeted killings, reports Jewish and Israel News.

Kam was working at the Israeli website Walla at the time of her arrest, partially owned by Israeli news source Haaretz. Kam is alleged to have photocopied sensitive documents, which are believed to have served as a source for a 2008 Haaretz story suggesting army violations. Kam has denied all charges.

The arrest has been under a gag order in Israel, which prevents many details of the case from being publicly released, including the prosecution's reasoning for seeking a 14-year sentence, considered harsh in Israel.

Although Israel has a long-standing history of supporting freedoms of speech and the press, there is a taboo against relaying information attained while in military service. The fact that Kam was an active officer at the time she allegedly photocopied these documents may work against her.

The 2008 article revealed the existence of documents that defy the 2006 Supreme Court ruling against the assassination of wanted militants who might otherwise be arrested safely. Another document reveals that an Israeli general permitted open-fire procedures upon identification of any of three leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, even if it were not apparent that they posed a dangerous threat. Another document reveals that troops were only to withhold fire if they were unable to identify "more than one" passenger in a targeted vehicle. Both these orders violate the law, according to Haaretz's expert sources.

Dov Alfron, editor of Haaretz, denies any linkage between Kam's arrest and the 2008 article.

"Haaretz asked the court to lift the gag order, not just in the public interest but also to allow us to defend ourselves from this absurd allegation," says Alfron. "More than a year passed between the publication and her arrest, a year in which Uri Blau published several other front-page articles criticizing the army's conduct."

Both Kam's lawyers and the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment.


Online Coupons are new Social Media Phenomenon

Just like everything else, coupons are now part of social media.

50%-90% off products and services is the ridiculous amount that is typically saved.

Customers can find anything they want, from spa treatments to hot-air-balloon rides.

Some daily deal sites include:
Daily deal websites, like those listed above, partner with local businesses. Those businesses then offer products or services with a rather large discount. Consumers can then purchase deals online, print voucher, and redeem product or service from merchant.

Customers describe this online coupon phenomenon as "addictive". After receiving their daily email of deals offered they get on Twitter or Facebook to chat with friends about whether they should buy or not.

Too good to be true? Kind of. The catch is that customers have to pay for the deal up front before receiving their coupon. Then they usually have 24 hours to use their coupon.

Online coupons have given the retail industry a much needed boost. Local merchants get cash up front and even get to keep it if customer fails to redeem a coupon.

One problem for some merchants is trying to make that thrifty shopper a regular customer. Businesses can lose money when they spend a lot promoting it but don't get regulars in the end.

Love it or hate it, online daily deals looks like they are they new way to save.


Graphing Relationships on Facebook

It's Facebook official!
It's complicated.
An open relationship?

It's the way we find out who's dating who, and the way we hear of––gasp!–– the dreaded break-up.

It's the way we find information about our significant others. I have seen many relationships pop like bubble gum after an hour of a boyfriend or girlfriend creeping and viewing their beau acting a little too chummy with Monday's lab partner.

Countless status updates tell play-by-play news of a break-up or provide a way to make digs at a former sweetheart.

In a recent article, "Facebook Status Update Tells the Story of Romance Gone Awry," Mashable's writer Brenna Ehrlich posts a data visualization from "infographic wizard" David McCandless.

From past posts, you might remember that I am officially a sucker for data visualization. McCandless created one that shows "the most common times a year that people break up."

By looking at 10,000 status updates with the phrases "break up" or "broken up," McCandless concluded that

1) People commonly break up before Spring Break. There were also high numbers during summer.

2) Relationships often end on Mondays. Could this maybe be the result of bad choices on the weekend?

3) In the weeks before Christmas couples end it.

and finally 4) People actually have the audacity to break up with their honey on April Fool's Day.

It's almost comical how big of a role Facebook plays in our relationships. Makers of "Facebook Infomercial Parody" agree.

This YouTube video "pokes" fun at Facebook terms for relationships–– married, it's complicated, etc.–– as well as the stake people put into them.

Any time I see a relationship status move to "single," I clench my teeth. I always see comments responding to it saying "Why?" or "This better be a joke." Even worse, when the person actually responds and puts intimate information of his or her relationship on Facebook for all to see.

This is just too much. Why do users feel the need to press people for information about their personal lives on a social medium? If you really want to know that badly, call them up!

Furthermore, talking about how you "don't know why you broke up. He just came to my house and said it was over," will just make it awkward for former couples later when everyone knows every detail of their separation.

In the end, however, users of Facebook see status updates as a way to get through the tough times of a break-up. I can completely understand that. It's important for people to not hold all of their emotions in.

However, remember that this is a social medium. You should be cautious of what you all share on the topic.


LinkedIn Launches New Feature

LinkedIn the business-oriented social networking site has recently launched a new feature which allows members to see reviews of businesses of their products and services.

It is not only designed to benefit the members of LinkedIn, but also to give the companies a new form of publicity.There is 40 companies taking part in the premiere launch. Some are big name companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Volkswagen.

This is going to be a great feature for members of LinkedIn to have the companies they would like to know about right in front of them on on website. They can see all the information about the different products and be able to compare with other companies products.

Also, when people are inquiring about products the companies have the ability to state their strongest recommendation to the members.

Not only can the companies display their reviews to products and services. They can display videos and information about their products. This will become a new way of advertising for a lot of different companies.

With a huge number passing 80 million members on LinkedIn. I don't see why companies wouldn't want to be involved in this new feature. There are a lot of business people on LinkedIn and want to know about what products that can make their jobs just that much better and it can be right at the click of a mouse.

This one feature proves how technology is slowly taking over not only for communication, but for ways of advertising for companies. If they can save money by being part of a LinkedIN feature then why spend the money to be in all the magazine adds. When most likely the people interested in their services and products are on LinkedIN as well.


Coverage of elections flood social media

The day that many have been anticipating, but most have been dreading, has come and passed.

Election Day.

Amidst the sea of political attack ads, there have been efforts to actually enact change in the states this year via the voices of politicians leaving the same automated recordings on voicemails, activists and supporters hassling college campuses, and recently, candidates' usage of social medias to penetrate the desired voting demographics.

While this may seem like a valiant effort to stay 'up with the times,' in actuality, social media looks to be the most effective way of sharing information related to this year's elections.

Traditional broadcast news does a good enough job cluttering the airways and news stations with debate after debate and ad after ad, which can seem mind-numbing and mundane after months of over stimulation. But what social medias like Facebook, Twitter, & Foursquare are doing instead is making it possible for potential voters to have an active say in their voting activities.

When I logged onto Facebook this Election Day-morning, this is what I saw first: A vote counter. Awesome? Yes. It was.

After the initial annoyance-factor wore off, I realized, "Hey, this is a good reminder for 20 somethings like myself and other young people to vote. How clever, Facebook."

And guess what: I guarantee it worked for many people my age to go out and cast a ballot... But it didn't just stop there.

According to, big news stations and corporations like ABC, CBS, and CNN are taking advantage of the social media channels by making special Twitter feeds and encouraging self-reporting on sites like where users can update information on their Twitter accounts about their voting activity and poll sites. There was also a day-long trends of hashtagging #election, #votereport, or #ivoted to raise continuous support for the voting cause.

In addition to the Facebook voter count, there's also a link through Google Maps to find the user's nearest polling site. Foursquare also created an "I Voted 2010" badge for users who checked in at registered polling places.

Big news corporations are also projecting live polling results by the hour on sites 'broadcasted' over Twitter. This surge of advocacy over the ever-growing-popular social media sites has shown politicians and news corporations that in the future 2012 elections, THIS will be the target to hit, and not the traditional direct mail marketing schemes or attack ads on Primetime television.

So while some people may have thought they were in the clear from political campaigns, by hiding in their social media bubbles, they were sadly mistaken. It seems that the new trend of journalism in social media has only made it more possible for politicians to hit up these channels for their professional gains.

As journalism and the news industry evolves to fit cultural dynamics and changes, so do the politicians who participate in it to help uphold its 'values' by persuading the public to vote for them. And as votes become more important to keep those values in tact, so do the ways in which they are obtained.


New Focus for Journalism Students

Nearly every large business uses some kind of social media site to advertise and to tell their consumers the latest news. How does that information get on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you ask? It's someone's job.

Social media is on a whole new level in the classrooms. In today's job market for journalism students the knowledge of social media is a must. Schools today do not solely teach classes on Facebook and Twitter because students today already know the ins and outs.

Professors are now figuring out how this knowledge can be used to enhance the art of reporting the news by using social media, and to tell the story in the best way possible.

There are now ten ways that journalism schools are teaching their students how to properly use social media.

1. Promoting Content

Readers are brought to news sites through social media which usually increases the user's web-traffic. This isn't only through the news organization's media account, but also of their writers who tweet, post, share and send links. Each writer has a social network, and uses social media tools to promote and distribute content to increase the readership of the article being shared.

2. Interviewing

Although personally being taught to not do this unless extremely necessary, email interviews are becoming a regular way of communication by news reporters. This same concept can be done through Facebook messages and chat. Another very useful tool is Skype.

A conducting interviews via Skype is being taught at the University of North Carolina and is believed that Skype allows journalists to interview international sources quite easily - and affordably, not to mention that it adds a visual element to the story.

3. News Gathering and Research

Real-time search provides journalists with up-to-the-second information with the latest news throughout the world.

Search engine sites allow for quick research on uncertain stories.

4. Crowdsourcing and Building a Source List

Thanks to social media sites it is easier to get into contact with those who are a great source. This is done by simply sending them a Facebook or Twitter message.

5. Publishing with Social Tools

It's important for students to practice publishing information on Facebook and Twitter to know how social media works. Students should know how to use basic tools such as Wordpress to know how to blog and site build, Twitter for instant updates, Facebook to share articles and videos, Delicious for bookmarking, Flickr for videos and pictures, and Youtube for video.

6. Blog and Website Integration

There is a site called CoveritLive that incorporates live blogging. This is a great tool to ask questions to an expert, reporter, or editor at a news organization.

7. Building Community and Rich Content

Create a community through engagement. It's all about building a network around issues that matter to the community. Social networks are the new editorial page because these have great ideas and opinions.

8. Get Yourself Out There

Social networks can to used to "sell" yourself in the job market and give yourself a personal "brand". A journalist is representing their organization and not necessarily their own name. A reader doesn't neccesarily follow the writer, but the organization because of it's credibility.

9. Ethics

Yet there are no hard rules for ethics in social media currently, but what you share or post reflects on the person's judgement so you should always be cautious. Always be aware of jobs lost because of personal profiles and things that should have been pondered more before posting.

10. Experiment!

If one social media site does not meet your needs, try another one. Find what works best for you. Experimenting with these sites can benefit you once you get out into the workforce.


Facebook can be dangerous.

As we all know, cyber-bullying is becoming more and more of a problem in the online world, especially on the ever-popular Facebook. While it is not anything new for young people to be victims of cyber-bullying, suicide is not the only thing coming out of Facebook.

Last week the Atlanta's newspaper reported that a mother had killed her child after he interrupted her while she was on Facebook. This mother (the article does not state her age) was simply playing FarmVille, a popular Facebook game when her infant son started crying, drawing her attention away. She said that she shook him, smoked a cigarette in hopes of calming her nerves, and then shook him again.

Not only is this disturbing, but it makes me wonder how else people are affected by the social media that we spend so much time using. What would compel a mother to think that her game was that much more important than taking care of her baby?

People need to take a step back, and learn how to responsibly use all forms of social media. We cannot let our lives be consumed by these wonderful online technologies, especially now that we can carry them around with us on our phone.

I want to know your opinions on this. Are social media tools, such as Facebook, getting out of control? Or was this just a rare case that won't become a regular occurrence? If it is becoming a problem, what steps should be taken to help prevent more tragedies (whether they be Shaken-Baby-Syndrome or suicides by cyber-bullying) from happening?


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