Good Job, Media: East Bay Express & The Power of Alt-Weeklies

Alt-weeklies used to be a reliable staple. When I lived in L.A., the LA Weekly was my social bible. From the news to cultural events to movie listings, the LA Weekly was informative, stimulating, educational, and most of all, wrote compelling articles highlighting misdeeds, the voiceless, injustice and corruption.

Since those halcyon days, most alt-weeklies have either folded, been absorbed by larger media conglomerates or are mere shells of their former selves. Alt-weeklies used to be exactly what their name implied – the alternative, independent voice to the bigger corporate (and oftentimes, toothless) publications like the L.A. Times or the San Francisco Chronicle. Like most print publications, alt-weeklies (and the reporters whose work fuels the interest)  have been thinned out by a lack of advertisement dollars and funding.

That doesn’t mean they’re all dead. In our hometown of San Francisco, the SF Weekly has turned out some of the best San Francisco reporters – bylines by the likes of Rachel Swan, Chris Roberts, Joe Eskenazi and Julia Carrie Wong (with the exception of Roberts, all have moved on to bigger outlets) have played a big hand in spotlighting issues that San Franciscans should care about. Along with the SF Weekly, there’s another alt-weekly across the Bay that has consistently turned out excellent journalism.

 

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The East Bay Express has always been a powerful voice but their work in the past two weeks investigating and exposing the beleaguered Oakland Police Department and their exploitation of a teenage sex worker has been on another level. The scandal itself is stomach-turning and not only involves abuse of power but a cover-up of a possible murder disguised as suicide. No one’s hands are clean, not even the wife of a former police chief. The whole thing is despicable and encapsulates everything that is wrong with not only the OPD itself, but the infrastructure and power dynamics of police departments in general, a narrative that we’ve all been seeing play out on a national level.

The investigative reporting of East Bay Express reporters Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston has even led to the OPD spokesperson inadvertently outing one of the police officers previously unnamed in the scandal. They’ve made the entire department that flustered. It’s investigative journalism at it’s absolute finest.

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If you can swallow your disgust at the abuses committed by these men (and a few women) in power, read the entire series that EBX has published. Their work deserves to be read, and changes demanded.

Go here: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/badge-of-dishonor-top-oakland-police-department-officials-looked-away-as-east-bay-cops-sexually-exploited-and-trafficked-a-teenagerdepartmen/Content?oid=4832543

By Katy L.

3 Things I’ll Be Filming With My Drift Compass Camera

Drift Innovation's new Compass camera
Drift Innovation’s new Compass camera

We’ve been pretty giddy to show off our client, Drift Innovation‘s new wearable camera, the Compass, and now the day has come for us to post endless photos of our cats #ShotWithDrift.

I mean, just look at it! It’s wearable tech that actually looks good – good enough to win the 2016 Red Dot Product Design award already – and won’t make the wearer self-conscious (unlike my Crocs, which have been banished to the back of the closet).

Wearing a Drift Compass is guaranteed to give you a good hair day
Wearing a Drift Compass is guaranteed to give you a good hair day

The Compass is all kinds of rad for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s so tiny and cute! The fact that it packs so much technology and features in a sleek little design makes me think Elon Musk is right and this is all some sort of joke. The camera weighs just 1 oz and can fit on my wrist if I wanted it to, without making my arm feel like I’m training for the CrossFit Games.
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I’ll never make it as a hand or wrist model 🙁
  • The battery is great and can shoot up to 2 hours of 1080p HD video (which is about how long I will be shooting my cats for), or I can film 50 days of timelapse video on a single charge.
  • Once you download the free Drift Life app on iOS or Android and boot up the built-in WiFi, you can livestream whatever you want (in my case, it’s cats. Lots of cats).

The Compass comes just in time for wanderlusters to partake in summer travel. Instead of viewing your vacation through a smartphone, the Compass lets you be hands-free and enjoy #LifeUnfiltered. Besides travel adventures, here are a few other things I’m looking forward to shooting with my Compass.

I already started! Check out my first cat video clip on my Drift Life page.
I already started! Check out my first cat video clip on my Drift Life page.
  1. Cats. Yup. Lots and lots of cat videos. I’m a proud crazy cat lady and my entire Drift Life page will likely be filled with cat videos. That’s just how it’s going to be. DEAL WITH IT. The Compass is so lightweight that I can easily clip it on to the one cat (yes, I have more than one cat – I’m that lady) that tolerates collars and bow-ties, and score some sweet cat POV videos.
  2.  Film For Safety. I’ll be clipping the Compass to my top while I walk and bike around the streets of San Francisco. I love to walk around my beautiful city, but it’s crowded and no matter how many times I look twice, many car drivers don’t. Pretty much every single time that I go out for a walk, I nearly get hit by a car doing something illegal. It’s like the wild west on the city streets and having my Compass record while I do my thang should result in extra evidence for San Francisco’s #VisionZero pedestrian safety program.
  3. Livestreaming events. When I officiated a friend’s wedding a few years ago, I saw the photographer struggling to get a good shot of the bride and groom’s teary-eyed faces as they were facing me. I had the best angle of all and was tempted to reach out, grab the camera and snap a few pics for her. The officiant always has the best seat in the house, so why not clip on a Compass and livestream the wedding for friends and family members who can’t attend, especially destination weddings? The chic design won’t clash with the formal wear and friends and family who didn’t hop on a plane will still get to experience love…from a livestream.

     

There’s a lot more I can do with my Compass and I’ll be happily sharing all of my adventures on the ole social media. Be sure to follow @DriftInnovation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and tag #LifeUnfiltered or #ShotWithDrift so I can see all of your cat photos and videos as well!

By Katy L.