New news outlet embraces “advocacy journalism” — The term “advocacy journalism” is not one that most reporters want attached to their names. Politico’s Patrick Gavin reports that the founders of a new outlet, however, embrace the term. David Darg and Bryn Mooser (we assume that’s his real name) partnered with actors Ian Somerhaider and Sophia Bush to launch RYOT.org, which calls its readers into political advocacy after reading news stories. A story about a surfer’s “insane trick,” for instance, encourages readers to “check out the Surfrider Foundation,” an organization that works to protect beaches for surfers. Darg said the model is “maybe a little radical” but he thinks the younger generation will embrace it, while older generations “may be a bit stuck in their ways.” So far, traffic to the site has been growing much faster than Darg and Mooser expected.
George Orwell was scared of more than surveillance — Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked information on NSA secret surveillance programs, sales of George Orwell’s “1984” on Amazon.com spiked. But as Gus Lubin of Business Insider reports, Orwell’s “central fear went far beyond government spying.” The British author, in addition to his most famous dystopian work, wrote novels on war, imperialism, capitalism, commercialism and many other isms. Lubin runs through a few popular Orwell novels, including “Burmese Days,” “A Clergyman’s Daughter,” “Keep The Aspidistra Flying,” “Coming Up For Air” and, of course, “1984.” It’s also the author’s 110th birthday today, though he died in 1950, a year after publishing “1984.” Happy birthday, George. Thanks for scaring the crap out of us.
WikiLeaks volunteer gets Google data seized — Dana Liebelson of Mother Jones reports that Google informed a bearded, Icelandic 27-year-old last week that the company had handed over contents of the University of Iceland student’s inbox, and other data stored on Google’s servers. The man in question, Herbert Snorrason, who volunteered for WikiLeaks as a chat moderator for two months in 2010, received a “spammy” looking email from Google informing him that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia had requested the data and the company had complied. A subpoena was issued in August of 2011 seeking Snorrason’s data between November 1, 2009 and Decemeber 31, 2010. Two months later, a search warrant was issued for a comprehensive collection of Snorrason’s data, including deleted information. Gag orders placed on Google were lifted in early May of this year, so the company was able to inform Snorrason of the subpoena and warrant. Snorrason said he doesn’t expect the government to find anything other than that he is “a rather boring person,” but expects many others with WikiLeaks connections to be subjected to the same type of intrusion.