NPR: Laura Sydell

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. She's covered politics, arts, media, religion, entrepreneurship, and most recently she became the Arts & Technology Correspondent for the NPR newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Sydell considers it incredibly exciting to be reporting on the ways in which technology is changing our culture. She enjoys telling the stories of everyone from high-profile CEOs, to small inventors such as a Berkeley man who developed a revolutionary book-binding machine in his basement that could transform the publishing industry. She sees the beat as an opportunity to help listeners understand how technology is changing the way we create and live.

As a senior technology reporter on Public Radio International's Marketplace, Sydell looked at the human impact of new technologies and the personalities behind the Silicon Valley boom and bust.

Before coming to San Francisco, Sydell was based in New York City where she worked as a reporter for NPR member station WNYC. There, her reports on race relations, city politics, and arts won numerous awards from The Newswomen's Club of New York, The New York Press Club, The Society of Professional Journalists, and others. She has also produced long-form radio documentaries that focused on individuals whose life experiences turned them into activists. American Women in Radio and Television, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and Women in Communications have all honored her documentary work.

After finishing a one-year fellowship with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, Sydell came to San Francisco as a teaching fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley.

Among her all-time favorite pieces are her profile of a private eye who found a way to incorporate Buddhist faith into her job by working exclusively on death penalty cases, and the story of a mother's devotion to a son charged with a brutal murder and the bus that carries her and others with incarcerated family members from New York City to a prison upstate.

Sydell has a bachelor's degree from William Smith College in Geneva, New York, and a J.D. from Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law. She lives in San Francisco and laments the fact that she is too busy to have a dog.

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12:07pm

Thu October 6, 2011
Digital Life

Steve Jobs' Greatest Legacy May Be Impact On Design

Steve Jobs introduces new MacBook Air models at Apple headquarters on Oct. 20, 2010. Some say one of his greatest legacies is his impact on design.

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Steve Jobs, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 56, was obsessed with computers from an early age. In 1975, when he was 20, Jobs was part of the Homebrew Computer Club — a group of early computer enthusiasts obsessed with making computers more popular.

"People [would be] all together in a room, jostling, bubbling with ideas, bringing in new technology, new chips, new displays, new networks, new software, everything new," says John Gage, a former member of the club.

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7:44pm

Wed October 5, 2011
Remembrances

Apple Visionary Steve Jobs Dies At 56

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:01 pm

Steve Jobs holds up an iPhone at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June 2010.

Paul Sakuma AP

Steve Jobs — the man who brought us the iPhone, the iPod and the iMac — has died. The co-founder of Apple was 56 years old. Jobs had been battling a rare form of pancreatic cancer for years.

"It boggles the mind to think of all the things that Steve Jobs did," says Silicon Valley venture capitalist Roger McNamee, who worked with Jobs.

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5:34pm

Mon October 3, 2011
Technology

Microsoft, Google Tussle Over Android Phone Patents

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 6:15 pm

The Galaxy S II is a Samsung smartphone that runs on Android. Analysts say Microsoft could be getting as much as $15 for each phone Samsung sells.

Jin Sung-chul AP

Apple's iPhone may be the most talked about smartphone on the market, but there are far more phones using Google's Android operating system — 40 percent of the U.S. market. Microsoft's Windows for Mobile comes in near the bottom, with around 5 percent.

But Microsoft says Android steps all over its patents.

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5:30pm

Thu September 22, 2011
The Record

Facebook Announces New Partnerships For Music, Movies And TV

Screengrab of the Facebook Music profile picture.
Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook took a leap Thursday towards making itself into what it hopes will be the social center for entertainment and media. You'll be able to see what movies and TV your friends are watching, what music they're listening to and what news items they're reading.

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12:11am

Tue August 16, 2011
Around the Nation

BART Defends Cutting Off Cellphone Service

Authorities in San Francisco had to shut down several city subway stations Monday after demonstrators tried to stop a train from leaving a downtown station.

The protesters were upset that the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency last week shut down cellphone access in the subway to prevent a protest.

BART police have been the target of protests over alleged brutality. Most recently, two BART officers shot Charles Hill, a transient man they said threatened them with a knife.

That shooting is one of the reasons that Jevon Cochran has come to this and other protests.

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12:01am

Thu August 11, 2011
Business

In Shift To Streaming, Netflix Customers Find Holes

It seems like Netflix is on top and it's everywhere. Users can watch it on their computers, game consoles, smartphones, or Internet-connected TV. Netflix boasts some 25 million subscribers, which is more than big cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner.

Although the company started as a mail order DVD service, these days it does the lion's share of promoting for its online streaming service. The company says it's the place to "watch instantly."

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4:00pm

Wed June 29, 2011
The Record

EMI Publishing Dumps ASCAP

Courtesy of EMI Publishing

The music business has undergone drastic changes during the Internet era, but until recently, one thing that hadn't changed was the role of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, known to the industry as ASCAP. This performance rights organization has helped songwriters and music publishers get paid when their songs are played in radio broadcasts, on elevators and in clubs for nearly 100 years. But as broadcasting moves online, ASCAP's future may be uncertain.

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4:10pm

Tue June 14, 2011
Business

Company Sues Apple Over Use Of iCloud Name

The website of iCloud Communications, which is suing Apple over the use of the name iCloud.
geticloud.com

Apple is being sued for trademark infringement over the name of its new Internet storage service, which it calls iCloud. A company in Dallas says it has been using that name since 2005.

Last week Apple introduced iCloud, a service that will let users store music, photos, calendars, e-mails and other content online. But iCloud Communications says Apple should have asked the Phoenix-based company before using the name.

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5:00am

Sat June 11, 2011
The Picture Show

Gertrude Stein Through Artists' Eyes

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:45 am

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Aix-les-Bains, France, circa 1927
Yale Collection of American Literature Contemporary Jewish Museum

Gertrude Stein, once one of the doyennes of American letters, is the center of two concurrent exhibitions in San Francisco. Both tread some familiar territory, like her friendship and patronage of Picasso and other artists. But the exhibitions also reveal some lesser-known sides of Stein.

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8:00am

Sat June 4, 2011
Business

Music Industry's Blessing Lifts Hopes For iCloud

On Monday, Apple will be the third big company to introduce a service that will let you access your music from a so-called cloud. Google and Amazon already have music services that make use of the cloud, but there's a difference.
Daniel Barry Getty Images

Apple CEO Steve Jobs will come back from medical leave to announce a new music service at the company's annual developers conference on Monday. The service will be called iCloud, and it's rumored to have been in the works for the last year. All indications are that, for the first time, the major record labels and music publishers have gotten behind a service that will let you access your entire iTunes collection from almost any Internet-connected device.

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7:35am

Sun May 1, 2011
Fine Art

Ai Weiwei's Artwork Travels, Despite Detainment

On Monday, 12 large sculptures by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will be unveiled in New York, but the whereabouts of their creator remain unknown.

Ai was taken into custody by Chinese authorities nearly a month ago and, according to his family, the government still has not told them where he is or why he was taken.

Ai has always been outspoken in both his art and his life, but recent events in China and the Middle East have brought greater government scrutiny to one of the country's best known artists.

A Visit With Ai Weiwei

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11:26am

Sat April 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Art And Consequence: A Talk With China's Controversial Ai Weiwei

This Sunday, at Chinese embassies all over world, protesters are planning a global sit-in to protest the detention of the internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai was taken into custody by Chinese authorities nearly two weeks ago for what government officials now say are questions about his finances.

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12:01am

Mon April 11, 2011
Digital Life

How To Save The World, One Video Game At A Time

Every week people across the globe spend 3 billion hours playing video games — but that isn't enough for Jane McGonigal. She told an audience at last year's TED conference in California that we need to play more.

"If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity," she said, "I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade."

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