National Public Radio has announced that former Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher will take the reins as NPR's CEO at the end of March, following a conference ending her five month gig as CEO of Web Summit. NPR itself (maintaining its editorial firewall) introduced her as the former CEO of WMF, quoting her saying "There is a strong alignment in both [Wikipedia and NPR] around integrity and autonomy." The New York Times emphasizes the challenges currently facing NPR, and indeed most of the media, writing she "will take over at NPR during a critical period. Listenership of traditional radio is waning as Americans adopt alternatives ... pressuring NPR to reach its audiences in new formats." RTÉ, an Irish public service broadcaster, highlights her recent connection to Web Summit. Maher was formerly Chief Communications Officer at the WMF before her CEO role; she has resigned from the US Department of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board following her appointment to NPR, remaining Chair of the Signal Foundation and on the board of Consumer Reports.
The Signpost wishes her all the best. Congratulations Katherine!
The New York Post was shocked to learn that Katherine Maher, the new NPR CEO, had tweeted in 2018 that "Donald Trump is a racist". They consider the six year old personal tweet to be inconsistent with NPR's policy that they provide "fact-based reporting; opinion and commentary are secondary." The Post also seemed shocked that some time since 2018, Maher deleted the tweet, implying that she was hiding something.
They might also be shocked to learn that many people have called this guy that thing, since early in his term as president. In 2018 and 2019, a majority of Americans agreed with the statement "Donald Trump is a racist", according to two polls; in 2019, 84% of African-Americans agreed. Nevertheless, another 2018 poll had only 49% agreeing against 47% disagreeing; at any rate it's difficult to see this as evidence of extremism.
Media watchdog Media Matters for America reports on Matt Walsh's use of Wikipedia to verify the skin color of Nikki Haley, the other candidate for the GOP nomination for the U.S. presidency. Walsh's commentary is simply dishonest. He says he never noticed that Haley is brown skinned and had to "check Wikipedia" to see if it's true. With a sleight of hand he reports that Wikipedia confirms the fact that her parents are from India. (More precisely they are Sikh.) Then he says Haley's claims of discrimination in a 1980s South Carolina beauty pageant based on her skin color "strain credulity" and that all kids get teased about something.
What did he leave unsaid?
In less than five minutes, he puts race back into the presidential race. – S
In Il Post (in Italian), Viola Stefanello breaks down the last ten years of the evolution and decline of the open access movement in academic publications, focusing on the controversies involving "shadow libraries" such as Sci-Hub and Anna's Archive, the legacy of the late Aaron Swartz and the current state of Wikipedia.
Anna's Archive, a website which hosts some 25 million books and 100 million papers totally unencumbered by copyright law (generally by virtue of just not following it), has recently been blocked by AGCOM, at the request of the Italian Publishers Association.
Among the experts cited by Stefanello for her article, former Wikimedia Italy president and Wikisource admin Andrea Zanni stands out. Now a digital librarian for openMLOL and a journalist for several Italian media, as well as the co-author of an e-book about the life of Aaron Swartz, Zanni says the death of the American hacktivist is not the only reason why the open access movement has lost the momentum it had gained throughout the 2000s and the early 2010s. According to him, this also happened due to the different priorities many of the people involved had to focus on when transitioning to adulthood – Zanni left Wikipedia himself, in order to spend more time with his family – and a decline in interest by newer generations, whose best IT talents often choose to make a personal profit out of their skills, instead. The former Wikimedia Italy president also reflects on the changes that have made the Internet more "capitalistic" and "egotistic" than it was ten years ago, underlining the web’s "centralization" in just a handful of privately owned social and entertainment media, its "mobilization" as a result of the shift of most online traffic from computers to smartphones, and its "dopaminization" through the wide spread of personalized content and advertisements.
Zanni ends his reflection on a high note, celebrating the success and the very existence of Wikipedia for over twenty years as one of the "huge battles won" by the movement, a topic he already wrote about for Domani in 2021. Given the disputes related to open access and public domain we still witness worldwide and the challenges Wikimedia projects will likely face in the near future, perhaps his words should be taken as more than just a good omen to start from. – O