March Madness by the Money: Should College Players Be Paid?

Courtesy Wikipedia


March is winding down, and that means millions of Americans camping out on their couches and taking suspiciously long lunch breaks to witness the dwindling cadre of basketball squads battling it out for intercollegiate glory.

Although college athletes are considered “amateurs” by the NCAA, and prohibited from collecting any kind of monetary compensation (including royalties from sponsorships), the tournament they play in has become very big business, generating massive profits for the National College Athletic Association and many of the coaches and schools involved.   Continue reading

Multimedia Roundup: ISIS Explained

The Islamic State, a radical religious group that in the past year has violently seized huge chunks of territory in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, is widely considered among the world’s most violent and dangerous new terrorist forces. Also referred to as ISIS or IS, the group is known for use of brutal tactics, including mass killings and beheadings of journalists and aid workers, to spread a message of fear and establish a medieval-style religious order throughout the region. But much mystery about the group remains. These resources help explain who exactly the Islamic State is, what it wants and the surprisingly sophisticated media tactics it uses to spread its message and attract new recruits. Continue reading

Where Does Your T-Shirt Come From? Follow Its Epic Global Journey [Visualization]

[Re-run Alert! A version of this post was first published in June 2013]

Best viewed in full-screen mode (click on button at bottom left corner after loading)

A simple cotton T-shirt doesn’t seem so simple when you begin to trace the various steps in the now-standard vast global process from cotton farm to clothing shop.

The extraordinary success of “fast fashion” giants like H&M, Zana and Forever 21, lies squarely in the ability to produce a massive amount of clothing – billions of garments a year – in the cheapest, quickest manner possible. It may seem counterintuitive, then, to divide the process into manufacturing hubs scattered around the globe.  But when you factor in the dramatically lower labor and material costs offered by suppliers in developing countries, the global supply chain model begins to make more sense. Continue reading

In the Shadows of the Golden State: Who are California’s Undocumented Immigrants? [Illustrated Explainer]

Illegal! Unauthorized! Undocumented!

A lot of loaded terms are used to refer to the diverse group of more than 11 million immigrants who live in the United States without legal status.

Almost a quarter of this population lives in California. But who exactly are they? Where do they come from? And what impact do they have on the Golden State’s massive economy?

Comic illustrator Andy Warner explains. Read the full comic or view as a slideshow below.

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Interactive Map: See How the Ebola Outbreak Spread

It’s been over a year since the worst Ebola outbreak in history began to ravage the West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. To date, the highly infectious virus has claimed the lives of nearly 10,000 recorded victims. And although the epidemic’s spread has significantly slowed, with patients confined to a shrinking geographic region, there’s still no known cure and more than 100 reported new cases each week, according to the World Health Organization. In the interactive map sequence below, Frontline traces the epidemic’s spread from its suspected emergence with Patient Zero back in December 2013.

Confused about Iran? Three Multimedia Resources Explaining the Nuclear Drama

New signs of progress recently emerged In America’s seemingly endless nuclear negotiations with Iran, when the financially-strapped Islamic nation agreed to limit its nuclear production and allow outside inspections in exchange for the U.S. lifting its crippling economic sanctions.  Continue reading

Getting Hot in Here: The Beat of California’s Four-Year Drought

Drought infographicFlorida might not like to talk about climate change, but here in drought-stricken California, the topic’s not so taboo. Mired in year four of the worst drought on record, Californians are witnessing the climate literally change before their eyes. As the state nears the end of one of the warmest, driest winters on record, with Sierra snowpack and statewide reservoir water levels at alarming lows, the evidence is pretty hard to ignore.

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50 Years after “Bloody Sunday,” Still Miles to Go in March for Voting Rights

Selma to Montgomery march, 1965. (Bruce Davidson/Magnum)

Selma to Montgomery march, 1965. (Bruce Davidson/Magnum)

Thousands of marchers joined President Obama and other leaders this weekend in the small city of Selma, Alabama, where 50 years ago police violently attacked peaceful demonstrators demanding the right to vote. Continue reading

Portrait of Discrimination: Justice Department’s Scathing Findings on Race and Policing in Ferguson

African-Americans make up about two-thirds the population of Ferguson, Mo. but account for the vast majority of traffic stops, tickets and arrests, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In its six-month civil rights probe  the Justice Department found that the nearly all-white Ferguson Police Department routinely violated the constitutional rights (namely the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments) of the city’s black residents. Continue reading

Obama Task Force Calls for Reform and More Accountability in U.S. Police Departments

Includes California officer-involved fatality map
Day six of protests in Ferguson (Loavesofbread/Wikimedia)

Day six of protests in Ferguson, MO after a grand jury declined to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. (Loavesofbread/Wikimedia)

President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a report with dozens of recommendations for improving relations between police departments and the communities they serve, including calls for more accurate reporting of officer-involved fatalities and independent criminal investigations of those incidents. Continue reading