Nov 12

Lets Put Internet Users First in Advancing President Obama’s Open Internet Goals

This week, President Obama published his principles for the Open Internet on, noting: “More than any other Jason_Llorenzinvention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally.” The President’s principles for ensuring this treatment of Internet traffic for the future calls for “no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency, and no paid prioritization,” along with development of careful rules to ensure these principles, by regulating the Internet as a public utility for the first time in history. Almost everyone agrees on the majority of those principles. But let’s take a step back to think about the needs of real people – real Internet users – in the midst of this drive to protect access to content. Today’s Internet users have access to all available, free content, without challenge. Our most significant Internet challenges lie elsewhere. Millions of Americans still cannot afford to access the Internet on their platform of choice, and, that too few Americans have 21st century skills necessary to compete and create in the digital economy. Hispanic, African American, poor and rural communities remain staggeringly separate from Internet wealth. Retooling schools and teachers for the 21st century to fix this is a significant priority. Jobs and economic opportunity is also a priority. Unless government is going to foot the entire Internet infrastructure bill, we need continued private sector investment in the technologies of the future, which include ever faster wired broadband, and innovative satellite and wireless Internet that will one day be a viable competitive option to a home broadband connection. What is missing from the net neutrality debate is this connection to the needs of real people. A robust, equitable Internet ecosystem requires a lot of investment – billions of dollars annually. The Internet has been governed smartly, not as a utility, but as an information service by Section 706 of the Telecom Act for decades in order to facilitate that investment. The framework has been successful. Real people have benefited from the millions of middle class jobs (including blue collar jobs) and everyday access to the modern Internet. What differentiates the Internet from your utilities is that the Internet must get better year over year to meet our 21st century goals, and beyond. Utilities, in contrast, do not advance the way the Internet has. Your water company is not attracting investment and growing year by year. But the Internet has, especially because it lives in a different regulatory category. Thoughtful proposals from national organizations including MMTC and others have called on the FCC to advance President Obama’s main principles, but to go further, calling for strong protections for everyday Internet users, through a working mechanism for complaints for throttling or blocking. They have also called for establishing an assumption against paid priority, which would leave open limited opportunities for innovative partnerships that would not put the entire cost of innovative Internet offerings on you and me, and our monthly bill. Putting Internet users’ real needs first would not create rules that foreclose the kind of innovative options making wireless Internet more beneficial, including so-called “zero-rated plans” that allow unlimited use of certain app(s) of choice, without eating into a poor family’s monthly data. These kinds of choices make the Internet more accessible, and more beneficial to everyone. These options would not be available under a strict net neutrality regime. Putting the needs of real people first means protecting their right to access all content on the Internet, AND it also means crafting rules that don’t foreclose what has worked to make the modern Internet better. It should not mean eliminating the mechanism through which the Internet has gotten faster year by year, by treating it instead as a stale pipeline left to crumble under last century’s telephone rules. To achieve the President’s primary principles, and prioritize the needs of every day Internet users, let protect access to content through smart rules because today’s politics are calling for it. But lets also create real, nimble consumer protections. And the FCC must find a middle ground that, instead of retrofitting century old utility rules on a modern miracle, keeps the Internet evolving, innovative, open and getting faster. This would be the best way to meet the needs of real people, and solve real problems online.  

Nov 11

We Salute all our Veterns on this Special Day of Rememberence.


veterans-day-300x249 (1)FAST FACTS
Each year, Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11, honoring the veterans who fought in the World Wars I and II. The holiday was first celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919 – on the first anniversary of the end of World War I – when it was called “Armistice Day.” It became a national holiday in 1938 – twelve years after Congress passed a resolution making Nov. 11 a day for annual observance. To learn more about the holiday, here are 7 interesting Veterans Day facts:


1. President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.


2. Veterans Day was not always celebrated on Nov. 11. The Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress in 1968, which mandated the holiday be celebrated on the fourth Monday of October, and went into effect in 1971. But taking the historical significance into consideration, President Ford changed the holiday back to Nov. 11 in 1975.


3. The United States was not the only country that took part in the World Wars I and II and as such, is not the only country that celebrates veterans. For example, Canada celebrates Remembrance Day and Britain celebrates Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November.


4. According to 2013 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 23.2 million veterans in the United States. Of them, 9.3 million are over the age of 65 and 1.6 million are women.


5. There are 39,890 veterans of World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War still living.


6. On Nov. 11, 1921, the first unknown soldier was reburied at the Arlington National Cemetery in a tomb inscribed with: “Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.”


7. On May 28, 1984, an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was reburied in the Arlington National Cemetery. DNA analysis was able to identify the soldier’s identity in 1998. He was 24-year-old pilot Michael Blassie and was shot down on the border of Cambodia in 1972. (Latin Times)


“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy


Nov 10

Verizon Statement on White House Title II Announcement

verizon-logo-primary“Verizon supports the open Internet, and we continue to believe that the light-touch regulatory approach in place for the past two decades has been central to the Internet’s success. Reclassification under Title II, which for the first time would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open Internet, competition and innovation. That course will likely also face strong legal challenges and would likely not stand up in court. Moreover, this approach would be gratuitous. As all major broadband providers and their trade groups have conceded, the FCC already has sufficient authority under Section 706 to adopt rules that address any practices that threaten harm to consumers or competition, including authority to prohibit ‘paid prioritization.’ For effective, enforceable, legally sustainable net neutrality rules, the Commission should look to Section 706.”
View this post on the Verizon Public Policy Blog


Nov 10

The Internet has been One of the Greatest Gifts our Economy says President Obama.

wh   The President’s Statement Barack An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known. “Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality. When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach. The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe.

These bright-line rules include:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness. The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks. To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data. So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies. Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet. The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.

Nov 10

What Separates Internet Advocates?

J-LlorenzIn a week of political showdowns, it seems appropriate to reflect on the faceoff in the Internet advocacy world. On the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd ended a 14 hour, 13 minute address. The arguments over the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had given Americans the example of the modern filibuster. Meaningful national policy is hardly made with ease, nor without due acrimony. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed the forward-leaning Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1996, legalizing millions of immigrants in the process — after the Act had failed in conference committee just the year before, in 1985. We fight over the big issues. A truth emerges. Compromise follows the big arguments. Internet policy worked this way once upon a time.

In 1996, Congress codified principles for the then-nascient Internet in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, codifying several important ideas, including its recognition that after six decades, the Internet could not be regulated by the principles of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, which was intended for a national monopoly telephone service; that universal service would be an evolving concept, and that the evolution of the new Internet would take immense private capital to spread from coast to coast, and continue its evolution through innovation and investment. Today’s conversation about the Internet and how to regulate it has new challenges, a mighty helping of acrimony, and a new kind of populist zeal separating advocates and scholars in a way that only the 140 -character social media world can bring to life.

The modern Internet has challenges. But the most important ones aren’t at the center of the national conversation. Two decades into the Internet experiment, the infrastructure of today has sprouted through a trillion dollars in private capital. We’ve spread wire line and wireless Internet to meet exploding demand from coast to coast. Fiber experiments in the heartland have changed the conversation about fast and super-fast Internet even further.

Rural broadband remains a challenge in the most hard to connect areas. (That’s called our 5 percent problem). But Internet infrastructure is not the big challenge of the day.

The Internet’s most troubling problems have little to do with speed or availability. Its that 15 percent of Americans remain disconnected by choice. There is a 10 percent gap in Internet use by race. Only 2-3 percent of silicon valley tech jobs at companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are inhabited by African Americans and Latinos.

Internet wealth is also too concentrated in a few urban places. Those least likely to be American Internet users tend to be poor, and less educated rural and urban dwellers. The non-users also tend to be older, and black or Latino. Rust belt cities and rural towns are behind in incubating digital startups to participate in the creation of new jobs where they are most needed. Inner cities are playing catch up, yet again.

The most troubling issue facing the Internet is the dire stratification of digital wealth — we billions of users and sharers, feeding a millionaire and billionaire economy of a concentrated, too homogenous group of entrepreneurs. It’s the new reality of the Uber and Airbnb economy — firms valued at more than $10 billion each, but small on jobs, while delivering record shareholder value, with little need for the kind of capital investments, nor number of employees of the businesses of yesteryear.

This stratification is the issue of the Internet age. And it can be fixed.

Closing the new digital divide — not just creating a new generation of Internet users, but inspiring diverse generations of makers and entrepreneurs, creating and innovating in dispersed SILICON EVERYWHERE communities from California, through the heartland, and to the east and south — will determine whether the digital economy harkens a new feudalism, or lives up to its potential as the democratizer of capital and opportunity.

But today’s arguments about the Internet don’t seem to focus on this issue. What advocates have been caught up in, is the question of regulation of the relationships between the largest of Internet businesses. Should Netflix be allowed to negotiate for a direct connection to a network? Should a network be allowed to partner with a novel health care startup to create a super-fast telehealth offering? These questions have inspired exhausting digital reams of argument, advocacy, and more curse words than ever filed in official FCC documents.

But what about our 15 percent problem? What about the digital divide? What about digital equity? And what will any new rules from the FCC mean for them? These issues seem too far away from the debate, and too unimportant to some advocates.

Acrimony and argument is expected in Washington. It is part of the process. But as the FCC looks to the future of Internet regulation, and Congress may be again pushed into the spotlight to update an Act that seems to have outlived its effectiveness, what will separate the voices on this matter will be the attention paid to the following:

What policies, have, and will actually help to address our real Internet problem, grow an innovative Internet for the future, and advance the goal of digital equity?

Jason Llorenz is an attorney and professor. He teaches at the Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. Follow on twitter: @llorenzesq

Nov 10


cybersecurity-2Nearly everyone agrees there’s a shortage of cybersecurity professionals across government.

 But quantifying the precise cyber talent gap remains an inexact science.

“We always hear from agencies that they need more cybersecurity people, but they have a very difficult time pointing to what those positions are,” Tim Polk, assistant director for cybersecurity in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told members of a science advisory board on Oct. 23.

It turns out, agencies today haven’t even managed to measure the total number of cybersecurity professionals they have on staff currently, let alone gauge the gap in positions they need to fill.

Unlike for federal interior designers, bartenders or cemetery caretakers, there’s no governmentwide federal job description for cybersecurity.

Some lawmakers worry the disarray over job descriptions is holding back efforts to develop the ranks of federal cyber defenders.

“One of the things that had concerned me was that it appeared as though we’ve neglected to professionalize the various levels of occupation within the cybersecurity framework,” Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., said in a recent interview with Nextgov.

Clarke is the sponsor of the Homeland Security Boots On the Ground Act, passed by the House this summer. The act would require the Department of Homeland Security to more concretely spell out its cyber workers’ roles.

Bungled Start to Building Cyber Jobs Database

Governmentwide, the Obama administration has been pressing agencies to determine which of their positions are cyber friendly and recoding them to match a broad set of cyber skills and specialties developed by National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, or NICE as it’s known.

Data culled from agencies will be collected into a single federal cyber jobs databank.

But it hasn’t been a seamless process.

Agencies were supposed to finishing identifying and reorganizing their cyber jobs, by Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2014. But about a fourth of them were unable to do so, in part, because of software problems, Polk told members of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board.

And the information collected clearly has missing pieces. For example, the data turned over by agencies indicated only three mathematicians across the entire federal government had any cyber responsibilities.

“I’m pretty sure we have more than three mathematicians at NIST who do computer security work,” Polk said.

Even after the data is properly unscrambled, the scope and utility of cyber jobs databank will be somewhat limited.

“We need to be measuring the workforce we want,” Polk said. “We will have a database that will tell you about the people that we have hired that are doing cybersecurity work. What I don’t know is which positions we are unable to fill.”

Framework Gives Standard Definition to Cyber Jobs

There’s no shortage of problems facing cybersecurity workforce efforts in government: salaries that aren’t keeping pace with deeper-pocketed industry, a vicious cycle of talent poaching between the private sector and government and agencies themselves and a hidebound, compliance-driven view of cybersecurity that hinders many would-be hackers from joining federal service.

Government auditors have long maintained carving out a specific job description for cybersecurity with a corresponding pay scale would better help agencies get a handle on their nascent cyber workforces.

Still, the Office of Personnel Management, although it supports better organization of cyber roles in general, has demurred on creating an entirely new classification standard.

Such a description could become quickly outdated anyway, experts say. After all, a key qualification for federal bartenders — the standards were last updated in 1974, though they remain operational — is the ability to make a mean Singapore Sling cocktail.

So, the administration has taken a middle ground: re-indexing current cyber jobs (in whatever OPM categories they fall under) according to the broad outlines of the NICE cyber workforce framework.

“Nobody has the same definition of cybersecurity, and that’s what the framework is trying to harmonize, so that everybody’s talking from the same set of vocabulary,” Karen Evans, former federal chief information officer during the Bush administration, said in an interview with Nextgov.

Evans is now the head of U.S. Cyber Challenge, which helps connect talented hackers with the government and industry using ongoing series of competitions and challenges in addition to more static measures such as certifications and resumes.

Experts: Focus on Mission-Critical Cyber Jobs

Still, experts hope quantifying the cyber workforce doesn’t devolve into purely a paper-pushing exercise.

Alan Paller, the founder and director of research at the SANS Institute, helped lead a 2012 task force on cyber skills at DHS, aimed at identifying ways the department could boost its cyber workforce. The key takeaway of a report from the task force was to focus not on every possible job with a cyber component but on “mission-critical cybersecurity roles and tasks.”

“There are hundreds of other jobs you can call cybersecurity jobs, but whether you do them or not isn’t what stops these attacks,” Paller toldNextgov. “What actually protects the information the government’s trying to protect is these mission-critical jobs.”

What are those most critical of jobs? Highly technical positions staffed by true experts who can identify infections and contain or eliminate breaches once they’ve happened, Paller said.

Those types of positions are still largely unfamiliar to most agencies.

“The majority of our cybersecurity workforce has been focused on compliance, for forever,” said Dan Waddell, director of government affairs at (ISC)2, a cybersecurity training nonprofit.

“Because of that, a lot of the technical what we call cyber warriors types were converted into compliance, check-the-box analysts,” he said.

Despite the bungled start to building the cyber jobs data bank, official stress the importance of starting somewhere. And in the future, officials hope the cyber jobs repository they’re now building can be used by agencies to identify gaps in their workforces and design remedies to plug them.

“We have to prioritize,” Cheri Caddy, the National Security Council’s director for Cyber Policy Integration, said at the board meeting. “We can’t even begin to determine how we focus our limited dollars. Do we need more forensics specialists? Do I need more — scares me to say it — cyber lawyers? Yes, I do need more cyber lawyers … I need as many as I can get.”

Read More:

Nov 09

Nation’s Capital has Lessons for Tech Industry Diversity. As Seen in USA Today


 MCLEAN, Va. — Silicon Valley may be the technology center of the high-tech world, but 3,000 miles to the east, the nation’s capital has something that Silicon Valley can aspire to: a more diverse tech workforce.
Blacks hold about 17% and women hold 31% of tech-related jobs in the DMV, a metropolitan area that covers the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Those are among the highest percentages of tech diversity in the nation, according to Census data, and could serve as a model for Silicon Valley as it strives to improve the diversity of its workforce, which is overwhelmingly white, Asian and male.
From Apple to Google, Silicon Valley companies are looking to include more women and minorities as they compete in a global marketplace.

The DMV’s edge: a more diverse population.

African Americans make up half of the population in the nation’s capital and 25% in the metro region.
And women are in the majority here, too, where they account for more than half of Washington’s residents and 51% in the region.

There’s a tradition here of women and minorities in leadership, in part because the federal government and the military have long been held to equal opportunity standards. Blacks and women have also been visible, thanks to local and national politics.
“People come to D.C. … and they see a diverse community — men, women, black, white, young, old — and they see that our culture is ‘give, then get’ and they want to be a part of it,” says Jordan Lloyd Bookey, co-founder of children’s app and book curation company Zoobean.

Women and minorities still face many of the same challenges that they do in Silicon Valley. To foster inclusion, the tech start-up community has agreed not to participate in industry events that lack diversity, says Donna Harris, co-founder and co-CEO of 1776, a tech incubator based in downtown Washington, within two blocks of K Street, the city’s lobbying center.   
“Our tech community is not only paying attention to the numbers, the leaders in the tech community make it a priority to fix the ratios,” Harris says.

Other DMV employment trends also parallel Silicon Valley: Asians hold a high proportion of the tech jobs (19%) and Hispanics a lower portion (4%), compared with their percentage of the populace.

Angel investor and tech CEO Tien Wong thinks that some business owners do see the benefits of a diverse workforce. His Herndon, Va.-based company, Appnetic, consists of at least 55% women and more than 40% people of color.
“When we interview, I am consciously looking for people from different backgrounds and experiences,” Wong says. “I don’t want everyone thinking the same. It’s not just politically correct, I’ve gotten value out of having a diverse team.” DMV angel investor and tech business owner Tien Wong, CEO of Appnetic in Herndon, Va. (Photo: Courtesy of Tien Wong)

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kapor Capital has already invested in four start-ups in the greater D.C. region — and more on the East Coast — and has opened an office in Baltimore to accelerate their prospecting in the region.

“You are more likely to find black tech entrepreneurs in the greater D.C. area because there are 10 times more black tech professionals here than in Silicon Valley,” says Ben Jealous, a Kapor Capital partner and former president and CEO of the NAACP.

Other hotbeds of diverse entrepreneurship include Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Austin, he says.

Beyond Silicon Valley he is finding more start-ups focused “on building solutions for urgent problems facing the unemployed, the underemployed, the working poor and working families,” Jealous says. “We are committed to helping get those ideas to the marketplace and in front of a wider set of investors.”

Noble Ackerson, CEO of wearable fitness app company LynxFit, says successful local entrepreneurs could do a better job of paying it forward. (Photo: LynxFit)

Successful local entrepreneurs could do a better job of paying it forward, says Noble Ackerson, CEO of wearable fitness app company LynxFit.

That is something the region can learn from Silicon Valley, where there was “almost a proactive need to help,” says Ackerson, who spent the past summer in San Francisco working on his business plan with an accelerator.

Bookey and her Zoobean co-founder, husband Felix Brandon Lloyd, moved back to Washington because its tech industry is “a reflection of the city, more-educated and forward-moving,” says Lloyd, who grew up in the city.

Their company supports programs to encourage girls and women in computer skills. “It’s a long-term pipeline issue,” Bookey says. “It takes time to make the face of tech change.

Snider_MikeMike Snider”

Technology writer Mike Snider, w ho joined USA TODAY in 1990, covers the ongoing digital revolution in home entertainment. His favorite devices? His HDTV and high-def DVRs.


Nov 01

Maria Hinojosa Is ‘Less Afraid’ Of How The U.S. Will Deal With Demographic Change. by Carolina Moreno

maria.coverThe days of a majority-white United States are coming to an end. But it’s not something the country should fear, according to award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.

In her new TV series “America by the Numbers,” Hinojosa, a Mexican-born anchor and executive producer of “Latino USA” on NPR, delves into the data behind the major demographic shift that Census Bureau projections have said will make whites a minority by 2043.

Census projections released in December 2012 say the country’s non-Hispanic population will peak at 200 million in 2024, while the multiracial population is projected to more than triple by 2060.

America By The Numbers,” which premiered last week on the World Channel and PBS, aims to cover the issues facing both white America and these newer diverse groups, who make up what the Hinojosa calls “the new mainstream.” The eight-part series was produced by Hinojosa’s organization, Futuro Media Group, which is also behind “Latino USA.”

The series will run until the end of November and cover topics such as Guam’s forgotten veterans, Asian-American dropouts, the oil boom on a Native American reservation, the rise of whites in one of Idaho’s small towns and more. The Huffington Post spoke to Hinojosa about the project.

The Census projections were released in 2012, following the important role the Latino vote played in President Barack Obama’s re-election. Is that what prompted you to produce “America by the Numbers”?

Well, what’s funny is that I conceived this program about four years ago. With my team, we came up with this notion of doing data-driven reporting on massive demographic change because we were looking at the 2010 census that had just come out. Of course, they’re not the only provider of data, but it was clear that the future of this country was increasingly of color and that Latinos were playing a leading role in this demographic change.

So as a Latina journalist who has been part of the mainstream, it was kind of like, well, this is my moment to really helm a national television series talking specifically about all of this demographic change. When we talked about this four years ago, to be honest with you, people kind of looked at us like “What?!” … Four years later, people understand what we have been saying, which is that the numbers tell the truth. That’s why we named the series “America by the Numbers.”

The data is there: This country is increasingly becoming more of color, more immigrant, more LGBT, more diverse, less Anglo-white. And we need historic change in our country. It’s going to change us forever, but we haven’t really had consistent, deep journalism into what this means.

Once you take a look at each episode, though, you can see that this isn’t a “Latino series.” It’s about all of these different groups and their role in this major demographic shift. How did you guys decide which eight issues to tackle?

The television series [is] talking about what we call “the new American mainstream” — all of it, all of the change. We knew we were going to be basing all of our stories on data. So we knew that we were going to be telling stories about these different communities and the different demographic changes happening with these communities. But I’m also a journalist who loves to tell underreported stories. I love to tell stories around social justice issues … [The series] really gives us a breadth of opportunity to report and really try to get away from the urban centers so it’s not New York, Chicago, Miami, L.A., you know. It’s really about what’s happening in other parts of the country that are not major urban cities.

With data-driven reporting, I’m always curious about methods and sources. Where did most of your data come from?

We have several researchers. We are triple-checking all of our numbers and our facts and our data … Pew Research Center was one of our sources. We also hired a researcher who is creating proprietary research for us [and] gathering research from other places. We’ve been kind of collating some of this research so we can begin to create our own numbers. And also our friends at EthniFacts [were] key in getting us some numbers.

In your first episode, you ask a white man if he feels like he’s the minority now. While you were producing the series, did you get a sense that Anglo-whites felt like minorities? Were they afraid of this change?

Well, I think it’s hard to generalize. I mean, I think the generalization that I would make is that probably most of the mainstream news [reports have], up until now, really put a lot of this into a context of “change signifies fear.” I think what we’re trying to do with our television series is in fact put a mirror up to our country. And if we are already in fact the country that is incredibly diverse — in many cities, already majority non-white — then why are we fearful for something that is already happening?

Part of the impetus is to say, ‘There’s no reason to be afraid, because actually this America that you’re worried about in the future — the future is already here.’ And there’s really nothing to be afraid of. Do we have major challenges? Oh, absolutely. Do we have major issues around racial inequity? Absolutely. Does this inequity lead to huge challenges for us as a society? Just look at Ferguson [Missouri]. I mean, we didn’t do Ferguson, but we did do Clarkston [Georgia]. And Clarkston was looking at a place that was majority-white, then became minority-white. But [...] the political institutions didn’t change with that demographic change.

So there are lasting and deep consequences for our country if we are not acknowledging that this change is happening. And yes, it means that power is going to shift, but it’s not something that at this point that we have to be afraid of. And also — we weren’t able to do this particular segment, but while white America is becoming a minority, white America also continues to maintain the economic majority. So the wealth is still concentrated in Anglo-American hands, and that is something that eventually is going to change, but it’s changing a lot slower than everything else.

I wanted to ask about your personal experience with the series. What was the most surprising thing you learned while doing this?

Huy m’ija, I think for me this series has really changed me because it took me to places that I had never been to. I actually think that the thing that impacted me the most was my reporting on the Native American Reservation in North Dakota in Fort Berthold … The fact that the stories of what’s happening on our reservations are not being told really says something about who we are as a country and as a people. So this was very, emotionally for me, very powerful.

As well as my time on Guam. The people on Guam said to me over and over again, “Oh my God, we just wish we were Puerto Rico.”


I mean, they would repeat it: “We just wish we were Puerto Rico.” And I would look at them, after all of my experience reporting from Puerto Rico, and I would say, “Why do you want to be Puerto Rico?” And they said, “Because at least then the mainland knows where we are, knows that we exist.” So to be with American citizens who are my equal, but who feel completely invisible and not recognized, was also very powerful. So those were probably the most traumatic experiences …

And I’m less afraid of the future of this country because of this reporting. I’m more convinced that people across our country are open, [and] do want information that helps them understand the times they’re living through. They don’t want the simplistic black-white, we-love-you-we-hate-you. They don’t want that. They really want more information that helps them to understand how our country is changing — because it is, that is for sure. And we just want to name it and say it.

I mean, in the first two minutes of our television series we say, “White America is becoming a minority.” Most news programs don’t start like that. But what we love to also say is, “Hey, the definition of ‘minority’ is going to change too.” So everything is changing, and we all have a role to play in this, and it’s all about creating dialogue as opposed to fear.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Nov 01

LISTA Guest Blogger: Crystal Thies Asks Who Should You Invite on Linkedin?

CrystalAfter you’ve finished building out your LinkedIn profile in a prospect and customer-centric way—you HAVE done that, right?– then next step is to grow your 1st degree Connections.

Ideally, you do not want to build your network until you’ve fully built out your profile. Inviting someone to connect is the one time that you can almost guarantee they will read through your entire profile, so you want to have everything in place so you don’t lose that messaging opportunity.

The real money level of your network is the 2nd degree; not the 1st – because that’s the direct referral relationship. You’re going to vet all new people you meet as client material anyway, but the gold is in the people they are connected to who you don’t know yet.

However, you’re not going to find good prospects in the 2nd degree if you don’t have a sizable and continuously growing 1st degree network.

It’s important to be smart about who you invite to connect. LinkedIn’s philosophy is that you should only invite people to connect who you know.

The definition of “know” can vary. For me, if it’s someone I’ve engaged with outside of LinkedIn or inside LinkedIn, then that means that I “know” them.

For others, “know” means that you’ve actually met them and had at least one in depth conversation. I’ve even met some people with very elaborate criteria.

So, what should you do?

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what your “networking philosophy” is going to be and it should line up with what you’re trying to accomplish by using LinkedIn.

If you only connect with people you believe to be prospects already, then you’re limiting your prospect pool to your 1st degree and not focusing on the 2nd degree which I called the money level above.

If you connect with anyone and everyone, then you don’t have a true relationship with most of your 1st degree meaning that they aren’t going to introduce you to their connections (your 2nd degree) or that introduction is not going to be very convincing and you’ll have a lower success rate.

I recommend inviting people to connect who you’ve met or engaged with online AND who would be willing and open to introducing you to their connections.

The #1 criteria is, “Are they willing to help you?” 

This means that you need to temper any assumptions on how helpful they may be. You never know who someone is connected to and how strong their relationship is.

So, if you meet someone who is less than your ideal target market – say a coffee shop barista – don’t assume that they can’t and won’t help you. People who buy $6 lattes on a daily basis have some money! If the barista will introduce you, then she’s a valuable connection.

Whenever you invite someone to connect, you should ALWAYS customize the message inviting them to connect. It doesn’t have to be very elaborate and LinkedIn only gives you 300 characters, so you can’t be very verbose anyway.

Simply remind them of where you met or how you’re connected outside of LinkedIn. If it’s someone who may not recall you, I would also add a sentence about your intention or motivation behind wanting to connect – and it shouldn’t be because you want them as a client! Build a relationship first.

YES, you should connect to your clients. It will make asking for referrals much easier because you can tell them who you’d like to be referred to.

NEVER drop a connection’s name as a reason to connect without that person’s permission. Ideally, you want that person to introduce you via LinkedIn first before you invite a mutual connection to connect anyway.

ALWAYS invite the new people you’ve met or encountered to connect on a weekly basis. Block it into your calendar or add it into one of your processes – such as adding someone to your CRM. This will ensure that you continually have new prospects just an introduction away.

Crystal Thies, The LinkedIn Ninja, is partnering with Art Sobczak, author of Smart Calling, on a free training webinar, “Seven LinkedIn Mistakes that Kill Sales, and What to Do Instead, And What to SAY to Get Through, Get In, and SELL!” REGISTER FREE HERE. 


Oct 10

LISTA Supports the Federal Communications Commission and Designated Entity (DE) program.

fcc-logo-100066756-largeLatinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) share our public support of the Federal Communications Commission as they release the Notice for Proposed Rulemaking focused on the Designated Entity (DE) program. Latinos continue to increase in their use of mobile devices and wireless services.  We see today’s release of the NPRM as the next step in ensuring that Latino consumers not only use these services, but also contribute to the production and ownership of wireless assets.  As the Commission proceeds with this NPRM, we hope that enough time is allocated to gather comments for the record that demonstrate the need to incentivize small businesses, especially those owned by Latinos, to participate in the agency’s upcoming spectrum auctions. LISTA looks forward to participating in the public conversation about the possible overhaul of the congressionally mandated DE program and applauds the Commission for their ongoing attention to this very important challenge of increasing minority spectrum ownership.

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