The Week in Review: Marijuana Goes Mainstream

In recent years, American social policy became a very sticky subject. Issues ranging from gay marriage to gun ownership are hotly politicized, and candidates seeking office cannot hope to win without offering their stance on matters of personal freedom.

Pot is a complicated story. Long considered politically taboo, marijuana’s gone mainstream thanks to pop culture. Casually peppered throughout music and movies, the mere act of lighting up raises few eyebrows. Consider this: 45 years ago only 12% of Americans favored legalization; today that number has quadrupled.

While Colorado’s move to legalize recreational cannabis use this year was contentious and problematic, the eight-month-old program has been hailed a success—and a financially beneficial one at that. But that doesn’t mean the political perils have diminished.

It makes us wonder: which other once-verboten issues will lose their stigma? How will the political debate evolve? To find out, we took a look at some pressing social issues being debated on Flipboard:

High Time by The New York Times: The New York Times editorial board came out in strong support of marijuana legalization. For the past week they’ve been gathering up their reasons and rationales, all in one magazine.

Marijuana Today by timothyhites: How does the rest of the world feel about marijuana? And do they practice what they preach? You’d be surprised.

The War on Drugs: Consumption, Conflict, & Control: The war on drugs was a program enacted during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. But that was more than 20 years ago. Did it succeed? Read on.

Social Issues by ltpone: Some consider “personal freedom” a matter of public debate. And others think what they do in their own homes is their business. Where’s the line? See if you can spot it in this magazine.

Social Security and Social Policy by Keith Fitzgerald: Before other issues took the stage, social justice revolved around inequality. What’s changed? Take a look.

Gun Policy & Violence by urbanvole: If there’s a more contentious social issue than marijuana, it’s gun control. See what states are doing around the country to deal with this ongoing debate.

~ShonaS is curating “Engineered Garments

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What I’m Reading: The Splendid Table


It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that Americans are obsessed with food. But it’s a recent phenomenon. Where older generations didn’t deviate far from traditional American staples, our appetite today reflects the layered diversity of a modern nation—think salad bowl, not melting pot.

Today when we talk about food, we’re also talking about culture. Our consideration for the farm-to-table movement or the ethical treatment of animals is evidence that our hunger has developed alongside our intellect. We now want food writers and enthusiasts to share more than recipes: we want them to tell us about who we are as a people.

One of the most engaging and accessible programs to meet this broad charge is American Public Media’s The Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. In their celebration of food, the weekly radio program wants to “explore the culture, the science, the history, the back stories and the deeper meaning that come together every time people sit down to enjoy a meal.” We recently asked their web editor, Andy Kruse, to explain how The Splendid Table sifts through the world of food on Flipboard:

Flipboard started for us as an outlet for the links we used to share privately with each other. The Splendid Table only releases podcast episodes once a week and those spots are booked sometimes months in advance, but we wanted to provide a more lively stream of the topics we were reading about and considering for future segments. So now I round up all of the articles that our producers pass around in email, Slack channels and Gchats to make this curated magazine.


At first, I leaned heavily on the bookmarklet to flip from my desktop browser. Because that’s what I do all day: sit at a desk. We were export-only, finding good writing and good recipes via traditional means and passing them along.


Gradually, though, I started to use Flipboard not just to admire my work but also as a tool for discovery. I could kick back with an iPad and appreciate my Flipboard home screen as a way to filter Twitter — to cut out the jokes and subtweets and get right to the beautiful photography behind shared links.


So now, the first thing I tap on is the Twitter list of The Splendid Table’s staff and contributors. It’s a good check of what Melissa Clark is working on for The New York Times or what Noelle Carter is writing for The Los Angeles Times. But mostly, the list is populated by two prolific tweeters: Splendid Table producer Jennifer Russell, and David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria.


We always find good things from The Kitchn and Bon Appetit, from Modern Farmer and Garden & Gun. Andrew Schloss has some interesting takes on slow-cooking. The work J. Kenji Lopez-Alt does in his Food Lab is amazing. You have to flip a few more pages, but there are often food crossover reads from Wired, Fast Company, and our buddies at Marketplace.

The next magazines we’re planning to curate for Flipboard are in specialized niches, akin to Bon Appetit’s Sriracha Central. We have a DIY recipe category on our website that includes all the store-bought items that would be better made at home. It both dips into our archive and sees regular additions, so I think it would make a nice magazine. Also: Christmas cookies.

For more of The Splendid Table’s curated culinary finds, flip through their magazine on Flipboard:

~ShonaS is curating “Compulsive & Conscious

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The Week in Review: Why Millennials Matter

Ranging in age from 14 to 34, the millennial generation is a study in contrasts. In spite of their technological savvy, liberal politics and college diplomas, the group is often accused of being self-absorbed, easily distracted and even deluded. But the evidence might be premature.

While a rough economy’s to blame for their chronic unemployment, millennials are “making their mark on higher education” to halt the problem. Concerned about the government’s ability to “combat injustices,” the group has become more civically engaged than their elders. And if you’re wondering whether or not they’re narcissists, at least they’re plenty self-aware.

As the world’s largest generation, millennials will continue to leave an impression. To see who they are—and what they’ve already achieved—explore these standout magazines on Flipboard.

Millennial Generation by Francisco Kemeny: Even though the highly individualistic millennial shirks most trends, there are certain similarities within the group. See if you can spot some here.

Higher Education by Arthur R. Smith: An exceedingly well-educated bunch, Generation Y is making strides to change the future of education. In this mag, see what the future holds for higher learning.

Tech Savvy by Noneofyour Businesssir: Practically raised online, millennials were born early adopters. Today they’re responsible for some of technology’s greatest innovations. Like what? Read on.

Economy Watch by Jerry Bucknoff: After the recession began in 2008, millennials were thrust into an uncertain job market. While things have gotten marginally better, joblessness continues to plague young Americans. Is there hope? For a brighter perspective, look here.

Social Media Updates by Juan Hernandez: For twenty and thirty-somethings, social media profiles can be more indicative of reality than, well, reality. But establishing a code of conduct has been a tricky, troublesome feat. In this magazine, watch as social media matures.

Youth Tech And Science by Brian Bailey: Marijuana legalization, the world’s most expensive potato salad and Instagram filters—these are just some of the concerns floating inside the average millennial’s mind. And when you take a closer look, they’re far from trivial, as this magazine demonstrates.

~ShonaS is reading “The Different Drummer

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Breaking a 700-Year-Old Tradition: The American Islamic Gospel Drummer

When the Islamic holy month of Ramadan wraps up at the end of July, a small group of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims will celebrate with the the sounds of Qawwali, an ancient, trance-like form of devotional music.

The 700-year-old gospel is a lesser-known offshoot of the world’s second-largest religion, and comes from Sufism, the mystical sect of Islam. Indeed, music itself is frowned upon by fundamentalist Muslims so the very fact of Qawwali is at odds with Islamic culture. And yet, for centuries, Qawwali has been heavily played in the rural pockets of India and Pakistan, where it continues to thrive. During the past few decades, this music has made its way to the West—and it’s recruiting the most unlikely people to continue the tradition.

They’re folks like Jessica Ripper, a blond-haired, blue-eyed American from Oregon, who is rapidly establishing herself as a first-class tabla player with Fanna-Fi-Allah, a western Qawwali group based in Nevada City, Calif. “People would say I was out of my mind for doing this—which I could agree with,” she said.

Tap on the Flipboard Story below to read, watch and hear about Ripper—the world’s first female American Qawwal—and the obstacles she faced while in Pakistan, as well as the performance that would make history.

~NajibA is curating “Neat Stuff”

Editor’s Note: Connect your device to a WiFi network for an optimized experience. Begin by tapping into each article and reading the excerpt where presented. At the conclusion of each article, flip to the SoundCloud file and tap play. Wait for the audio to begin, and then flip through the section until you reach the next article excerpt. Tap to Read, then tap to listen and flip. Then repeat.

This format only works in-app, on phones and tablets, and is not available on the Web.

The photos were shot by the author in Nevada City, Calif. Additional and archival materials were provided courtesy of Ripper, Fanna-Fi-Allah and additional content was used from YouTube users fakharbloch, parrdessi and SayyanSQ.

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“Deep Dive” on Immigration


Faced with a life in poverty, of violence and far from their families, over 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since October 2013. The uptick in illegal immigration has thrust the issue into the national conversation as politicians debate, Americans protest and thousands of children face an uncertain future.

Just this month, President Barack Obama urged Congress to authorize $3.7 billion in emergency funds for border security, deportations and humanitarian needs; Texas Gov. and potential Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry called up National Guard troops to man his state’s border; and protesters took to the streets across the country, including in Michigan, California, Texas and Maryland.

This issue is only growing—as both a humanitarian crisis and a game of political football. That’s why it is the subject of our second “Deep Dive” (an in-depth look at a person or issue dominating the news). In this magazine you’ll find the latest immigration news, stances and profiles of the major players in the debate, opinion and analysis from influencers, first-hand accounts from those directly impacted by the ongoing situation, and other Flipboard magazines about the issue.

Let us know what topics you’re curious about by writing to, and we’ll do our best to include them in a future deep dive.

~GabyS is reading “The Daily Briefing”

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On the Red Couch with Nieman Journalism Lab’s Joshua Benton

For over twenty years, Nieman Journalism Lab director Joshua Benton has kept a close watch on the intersection of journalism and technology. Originally from Louisiana, Benton built websites in college for beer money while serving as editor of his school paper. After graduation, he was a full-time reporter for the Dallas Morning News and Toledo Blade, where he tried his hand at several beats: investigative reporting, foreign correspondence and even rock criticism.

Unlike some of his peers, Benton’s long believed that the web can deliver better journalism. In an effort to study that claim, he founded the Nieman Lab at Harvard to “help journalism figure out its future.” We spoke with him about how things are shaping up:

As the editorial director for a site that essentially reports on reporting, how do you determine what’s interesting to a cross-section of people?
Nieman Lab is part of Harvard, and we have an academic mandate in addition to an audience mandate. There are no ads on Nieman Lab, so we don’t have to gin up page-views.

We consider our beat to be innovation in journalism—that could be innovation in reporting, distributing, how news gets discovered, shared, or paid for. An ideal story identifies someone interesting who has an interesting idea, and is trying to execute it. The story then tries to understand the “thing” behind it in ways that others might be able to learn from it.

From an economics perspective, I think innovation is said to be most useful when it delivers more value for less money. Do you see that happening in journalism?
I remember a time before the internet! (Laughs) Growing up in a small town in south Louisiana, my sources of news were extraordinarily limited.

It’s worth stepping back and seeing how much better it is now. It’s uncomfortable in some cases, but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of whatever we would have thought was possible 20 or 30 years ago.

Online distribution is a big part of how you reach an audience. It’s no longer geographic: it’s tied to interests, social networks, discovery platforms that are quite different from what was there before. That’s meant that it requires a different set of skills.

That’s one reason why someone like Flipboard can be a disruptive force because you allow stories to reach audiences on a different platform, using a different visual paradigm that a lot of people like.

A brand like The New York Times has a respected legacy. How can new media communicate that kind of trust to readers in a short amount of time?
One thing the web made very clear was that the artificial feeling we used to have about “getting it all” or “reading it all” was a lie. When a newspaper comes in one package and you can get to the end of it, you have this sense that, “I’ve seen the news today! I’m done.”

The web made it clear that you were never done, that there were lots of things that you didn’t have access to. Part of it is figuring out ways to surface the content you’re producing that best connects with the audience member that you’re trying to reach.

What about your own media habits? What entices you to want to read something? Is there an underlying logic?
A lot of people who would have been reading a print product 20 years ago are probably now reading Facebook newsfeeds or reading things that are not news by the traditional definition. You don’t read news to understand everything in the universe because that’s impossible.

Jay Hamilton’s All the News That’s Fit to Sell says there are four basic types of information: producer information, consumer information, entertainment information, and civic or voter information.

He points out that all those types get a direct return on their investment of time. If you learn more stuff, you’ll make more money, or make a better buying decision, or be entertained. The return is a lot more nuanced. He suggests that you need to find ways to include information in that fourth category into those first three categories for certain kinds of people.

Do you find yourself watching TV with a laptop or a tablet next to you? Are you easily distracted?
(Laughs) Who is alive in 2014 with a broadband connection who isn’t easily distracted? I’ll wait for the commercials to see what everyone on my specially-created “Watching Football” Twitter list is saying.

I don’t think I’m punishing myself. I want to see what other people think about that terrible pass, or whether there was something I didn’t understand. It’s why watching a game in a sports bar can be an enjoyable experience because you’re getting the direct experience, but you’re also getting the feeling of being part of a community of people who are engaged in the same act that you are.

Sometimes social media presents news without context. Where does curation fit into all of this?
A newspaper was both a creator of content and the curator. [Editors] decided what were the important stories.

Increasingly, those two jobs are separated. In part that’s because the content producers have missed the opportunity to also be the content filters. If you’re a media producer, you view it as a financial incentive to get as much consumption of your content as possible. That’s left bloggers and folks like Gawker and Buzzfeed and social media to take on the curatorial role, which is really, really valuable. A lot of journalists get hung up on the idea that they’re leeches, attaching themselves to other content, and on a certain level—that’s true. But you can beat the game.

That’s how news organizations viewed their role: if you were an editor, you very much considered it your job to say, “Here are a thousand things. I’m going to pick six things that should be on the front of tomorrow’s paper.” That’s part of the job.

Do you think that writing or creating original content is sustainable? What kind of advice do you give to young, writerly types?
If you buy into the model of how businesses get disrupted, it’s that folks come in at the bottom end, do stuff that looks really cheap or low-quality, but over time they use technical advantages to move up market and do better stuff, to increase quality, and supplant the incumbents.

I’m of the belief that you’ll see sites that start off producing lists of cat pictures and then evolve into having a newsroom with two hundred people in it, to writing big, long-form investigations, and you see that in lots of places already.

People also have to have some reason to go to your site on a regular basis, or open your app, or click on a link. You need that angle—get out of the voice of God, and talk to people like they’re human.

To see journalism “thrive and survice in the Internet age,” look no further than the Nieman Journalism Lab:

~ShonaS is curating “Kitchen Confidential

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The Week in Review: What Defines an American?

In 1993, 12-year-old Jose Antonio Vargas boarded a flight in his native Philippines and landed in the United States, where he’s lived ever since as an undocumented immigrant. Today Vargas is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, immigration rights activist and filmmaker. On Tuesday, Vargas was in McAllen, Texas, to report on a story about Central American migrants when he was detained and eventually released by Border Patrol.

The drama around Vargas’s detention shifted to a discussion about undocumented immigrants who, like Vargas, consider themselves to be Americans—at least culturally, if not legally. But some think this was a stunt: illegal aliens, even those formerly employed by the Washington Post, should tread carefully.

Vargas revealed his plight in a 2011 article for the The New York Times Magazine, in which he wrote that he first learned of his illegal status at the age of 16 and thereafter committed himself to “earning” citizenship. Vargas went on in the piece to detail his childhood, his reconciliation with former colleagues and his lifelong dedication to immigrant rights.

Legality aside, the story is uniquely American. The contributions of immigrants to the United States aren’t being denied; however, they are being discussed with a renewed vigor. We collected some of the more interesting and objective takes below:

Immigration by Gavin Newsom: As California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom has extensive experience on the impact of immigration. See what he reads to educate himself.

Immigration Reform 2014 by Tanveer: While the debate about immigration reform has been raging for years, it seems like Democrats and Republicans are finally reaching a consensus. Will it hold up? Find out here.

Immigration Policy News by Keith Fitzgerald: Learn what each political party says it’s going to do—and measure against what might actually happen.

Immigration & Equality by anditosan: For many, immigration, like gay rights, is about equality. Contrast and compare the situation here.

The Children at the Border by Vicki Penrose: The term “undocumented immigrants” obscures one crucial fact: many of those making the dangerous trek across the border are children. What’s happening with them? Find out.

Us-Mexico Border by Michelle Del Campo: Though Vargas’s story brought media attention, the border bubbles with activity each and every day. In this magazine, get updated with the latest developments from America’s frontier.

~ShonaS is curating “Compulsive & Conscious”

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What I’m Reading: artnet’s Sophie Neuendorf

Keeping up with the art world requires curiosity, persistence and good taste. But when the internet has opened the floodgates for artistic expression, it becomes hard to tell what “good” means, or whether the criteria needs to change.

One of the people establishing context in that conversation is artnet’s Sophie Neuendorf. As Social Media Director, Neuendorf, who splits time between the US and Germany, restates the importance of curation and conversation in an online marketplace. At artnet, a place for “buying, selling and researching fine art online,” she focuses on helping people develop a literacy for art by engaging on the channels and platforms most familiar to them. To understand how she does that, we asked her to show us what she’s reading:

During the week, most mornings are very rushed for me as I’m trying to catch up on all of the European news. I grab coffee and use Flipboard to quickly catch up on the latest headlines. This is a time when I use Flipboard as a customized quick and efficient source of information.

On the weekends, I relax with guilty pleasures from Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, or The Sartorialist. Stories that I’m keen to share are saved in my magazines, such as ‘Curate’ for art world-related reading.

TechCrunch: I read TechCrunch to stay abreast of the latest developments in the tech industry.

Wired UK: Their in-depth science and tech articles never cease to fascinate me.

CNN: The resource to swiftly catch up on current events.

The New York Times: The cartoons, obviously. Quite seriously, I read the NYTimes Opinion and Arts pieces.

Vogue: Art and fashion are collaborating more than ever before, so I read Vogue for the beautiful, detail-orientated stories—and of course, the latest trends.

Vanity Fair: I adore Vanity Fair for their witty, pointed commentary.

Coming from the arts, I adore Flipboard because it’s all visual: from beautiful imagery to typography and great layouts. Looking at artwork on a retina display while flipping the pages is quite a magical experience, especially when I touch the screen and am able to manipulate it. Beautiful imagery is the essence of great storytelling in the digital landscape.

Browse the wonderfully weird world of art news on Artnet

~ShonaS is curating “Compulsive & Conscious

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The Week in Review: Violence in Gaza

Since the murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month, simmering tensions between Israel and Palestine have risen to a boil. Blaming the resistance group Hamas for the killings, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a swift retaliation. This week both sides launched military strikes, effectively ending the ceasefire agreement of 2012.

With Israel poised to launch a ground invasion, neutral parties rushed to mediate. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged restraint in the face of a “full-blown war,” while President Obama offered to help broker a truce. Neither Hamas nor Israel has expressed any interest in such a proposal, citing the other as aggressor.

To get a sense of how and why the situation has deteriorated so quickly—and whether there will be any hope for enduring peace—brush up on the articles curated in these magazines:

News stories from Israel by HighlightFilmsIsrael: Pulling from countless gripping photos, informative articles and point-of-view social media posts, this news magazine offers recent updates on the conflict in Gaza.

Palestine by ali h campos: This collection of articles tracks the Israeli-Palestine conflict as it unfolds.

Arab Art Gazette by Spot On: Despite recent turmoil, the Middle East is also home to a thriving cultural scene. See how Arab artists live amidst the turbulence and what they create as a result.

Ancient Israel by Michael James: Relying heavily on anthropological and theological texts, this collection of scholarly articles explores Israel’s ancient history.

Jewish Progressive by Village Press: The Jewish diaspora has many nuanced perspectives concerning the Gaza conflict. This magazine offers a look at the community’s progressives leaders committed to working with Palestinians for peace.

Middle East Tensions Rise by Flipboard Newsdesk: From death toll reports to U.S. involvement, this magazine highlights the escalating situation in the Middle East and documents global reactions.

~ShonaS is reading “Vanity Fair Long Reads

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Spotlight On: Travel Back to Japan Through Flipboard

Every time I look at a Flipboard magazine from Japan, I feel I transported back to my country, which I left in 2005 to become a freelance editor. I’ve since found my way to Palo Alto, California, where I now work as Flipboard’s Japanese curator and international coordinator. Of course, there are parts of Japan I don’t miss—the bureaucracy, packed subways and never-ending work hours. But these magazines remind me of some of my country’s best things, such as people’s generosity and cooperation, the great food and peaceful neighborhoods.

My favorite Japanese magazines on Flipboard include the ones into which the curator flips personal photos that offer a glimpse into Tokyo life . Take a look:

きちでんせいけんフォトライフ by きちでんせいけん: This collection of street photography was taken by an artist in Tokyo. While the photos are all recent, the colors and lights make me nostalgic.

世界を旅する写真 by sawaflip : Travel lover sawaflip took Instagram photographs throughout the world and created a Flipboard magazine with them. These beautiful pictures feel like a coffee table book in a magazine layout.

シロの休日 by u7046 : The main character of this peaceful magazine is a fluffy cat named “Shiro,” (“white” in Japanese) who likes to walk around the neighborhood.

LIFE WITH CATS by enjoynews: Also featuring cats, this magazine captures the daily life of two felines who live with this curator.

コップのフチ子 by chimateer: This magazine gathers photos of a small, popular figure in Japan called “Cup no Fuchi-ko,” a little toy girl meant to sit on the edge of a cup. Photos of this figure in various scenes have been going viral in Japan, so user chimatter collected them into this magazine.

~YasukoK is reading “クロの休日 (Kuro’s holiday)

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