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. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and NPR.org.

Sydell's work focuses on the ways in which technology is transforming our culture and how we live. For example, she reported on robotic orchestras and independent musicians who find the Internet is a better friend than a record label as well as ways technology is changing human relationships.

Sydell has traveled through India and China to look at the impact of technology on developing nations. In China, she reported how American television programs like Lost broke past China's censors and found a devoted following among the emerging Chinese middle class. She found in India that cell phones are the computer of the masses.

Sydell teamed up with Alex Bloomberg of NPR's Planet Money team and reported on the impact of patent trolls on business and innovations particular to the tech world. The results were a series of pieces that appeared on This American Life and All Things Considered. The hour long program on This American Life "When Patents Attack! - Part 1," was honored with a Gerald Loeb Award and accolades from Investigative Reporters and Editors. A transcript of the entire show was included in The Best Business Writing of 2011 published by Columbia University Press.

Before joining NPR in 2003, Sydell served as a senior technology reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where her reporting focused on the human impact of new technologies and the personalities behind the Silicon Valley boom and bust.

Sydell is a proud native of New Jersey and prior to making a pilgrimage to California and taking up yoga she worked as a reporter for NPR Member Station WNYC in New York. Her reporting on race relations, city politics, and arts was honored with numerous awards from organizations such as The Newswomen's Club of New York, The New York Press Club, and The Society of Professional Journalists.

American Women in Radio and Television, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and Women in Communications have all honored Sydell for her long-form radio documentary work focused on individuals whose life experiences turned them into activists.

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.

Sydell graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree from William Smith College in Geneva, New York, and earned a J.D. from Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law.

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6:17am

Sat October 11, 2014
All Tech Considered

Twitter Is Suing The U.S. Over Free Speech (Its Own)

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:28 am

Twitter is suing the federal government over First Amendment rights. The tech company says the government stopped it from releasing extra detail about government requests for user information.
iStockphoto

Twitter filed a lawsuit against the federal government this week over First Amendment rights, marking the latest round in a battle between tech companies and the government over how much they can reveal about government requests for their user information.

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3:28am

Mon October 6, 2014
All Tech Considered

The Forgotten Female Programmers Who Created Modern Tech

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 12:35 pm

Jean Jennings (left) and Frances Bilas set up the ENIAC in 1946. Bilas is arranging the program settings on the Master Programmer.
Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

If your image of a computer programmer is a young man, there's a good reason: It's true. Recently, many big tech companies revealed how few of their female employees worked in programming and technical jobs. Google had some of the highest rates: 17 percent of its technical staff is female.

It wasn't always this way. Decades ago, it was women who pioneered computer programming — but too often, that's a part of history that even the smartest people don't know.

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9:47am

Sat September 27, 2014
Business

Amazon's Original Content Primes The Pump For Bigger Sales

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 1:43 pm

Amazon recently premiered its new dramedy Transparent. The massive retailer is banking on its original TV content to rope in new customers.
Charley Gallay Getty Images for Amazon Studios

Amazon is betting that binge-watching will lead to more online buying. On Friday, the company put up all 10 episodes of a highly anticipated series called Transparent, a show about a transgender parent coming out to her children — just one of a spate of original movies and TV shows coming out this year.

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4:52pm

Fri September 26, 2014
Business

Cab Competition In San Francisco Benefits Riders

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 5:51 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:34pm

Mon September 15, 2014
Technology

Minecraft Purchase Gives Microsoft New Foothold

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 10:59 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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3:34am

Tue September 9, 2014
All Tech Considered

Size Matters: Why Apple Is Expected To Unveil A Bigger iPhone

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 11:04 am

The Samsung Galaxy Mega (from left), Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5 are shown. Apple is expected to announce larger models of its smartphone on Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

You may have noticed that after years of getting smaller, smartphones are getting bigger. It's a trend that's mostly been led by Samsung. Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, famously knocked the idea that people wanted larger phones. But on Tuesday, Apple is expected to announce bigger iPhones and is relenting to the reality that we're talking less on our phones and using them more like a mini computer.

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5:18pm

Thu September 4, 2014
All Tech Considered

In E-Book Price War, Amazon's Long-Term Strategy Requires Short-Term Risks

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 1:10 pm

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to sell all e-books for $9.99, while the publisher Hachette wants to vary the prices.
iStockphoto

Since May, Amazon and the publisher Hachette have been locked in a battle over the pricing of e-books. For customers it's meant that they can't pre-order books from authors such as J.K. Rowling and James Patterson. And it's upset many authors because it's made their work less available. But Amazon is willing to upset some customers and authors as it pursues a long-term strategy for books.

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6:45am

Wed September 3, 2014
Business

Nude Photos Hack Wasn't Broad Attack On Apple Services

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:22 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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5:09am

Tue August 26, 2014
Business

Amazon Makes A Big Move Into The World Of Online Gaming

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:47 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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4:46am

Mon August 25, 2014
All Tech Considered

As Ferguson Unraveled, The World Found A New Way Of Watching

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 3:42 pm

When protests over the shooting of Michael Brown turned violent in Ferguson, Mo., livestreaming videos showed Americans what they couldn't see on TV.
Screen Grab From KARG Argus Radio Video

In Ferguson, Mo., on Monday, Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot by a police officer, will be buried. Beyond watching on traditional media outlets, many members of the public may be able to see the event live over the Internet.

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