Winning IT, Screen-Free Kids, and a Fake News Fix-it: this week on Fresh Powder


Getting a job is tough, that’s no secret. And as college degrees continue to become a basic requirement for more and more jobs, it’s getting even harder for high school grads who don’t have one. Enter: Year Up. It’s a program for lower-income, high school graduates who want to break into the IT game. Year Up trains participants in database admin, powerpoints, helpdesk skills, even handshakes. Then, if the students do well, they’re offered internships at large, mostly closed-door companies in Silicon Valley. It works out, because program participants get an in with big-name companies, and those companies get interns who’ve already been vetted by Year Up. It’s a win-win, and it’s a good way way to build a skilled workforce without that whole cost-prohibitive college tuition thing. Sweet.

Throwback Special

It sounds weird, but it’s totally radical to raise kids without screens these days. It’s probably hard to do, too; screens of all sizes are everywhere. But, it might be worth it. At least Andy Crouch thinks so (and he should, he wrote a book about it). Andy and his wife Catherine raised their kids screen-free until age ten. The aim was to provide their children with experiences they wouldn’t have behind a screen (you know, like, real world things). His kids are teenagers now, and if you’re looking for a scale to measure the success of this experiment, consider this: his kids thanked him for raising them screen-free. Mic drop.

Finally, Facebook!

Fakebook, er… Facebook, is finally addressing fake news head on. (It’s about time–– Facebook is pretty much the premier platform for the proliferation of fake news…). And they’re doing it in kind of a novel way: the print paper. The social media company took out full page ads in a handful of European newspapers delineating the hallmarks of fake news and teaching readers how to identify it. That’s pretty cool. And if you’re feeling left out because you don’t get European newspapers, check the top of your Facebook news feed, they’re putting the information there, too, so us stateside users have no excuse.

Localize It

So, newspapers are losing money. It’s true. And news staff are diminishing in number with each fiscal year. It’s a problem, but it doesn’t mean journalism is losing its place as a valuable community resource. Journalists at local papers are keeping an eye on things, and it’s the function of a news org to take community actors to task: when journalists investigate events or people or whatever, they’re doing the public service of reporting, and thereby of making sure everyone knows that someone is watching, and things don’t happen in a vacuum. So while local news orgs are shrinking, the need for them is not, and they’re totally worth saving.

This also happened last week: Computer programs can identify six main story arcs based on keyword frequency and other high-tech things, so you can stop working on that MFA now (would that I had known…). And if the AI takeover makes you sad, here’s a totally subjective list of the cutest things that ever happened.