Reynolds Weekly: Friday, March 15, 2019

by March 15, 2019

Looking for business stories to cover? We’ve taken recent headlines and put together a list of resources and angles you can use for your local coverage. (Photo via Pixabay)

A previous version of this article contained an image of an airplane that was not one of the Boeing 737 Max mentioned. The photo has been changed to prevent any confusion. 

Citizen, a Mobile Crime Alert App

Similar to a police-scanner, this mobile app will launch in Los Angeles. It was created in 2016, and already available in the cities of New York City, San Francisco and Baltimore.

Unlike other neighborhood watch sites, such as NextDoor — where residents can create a profile and be alerted of crimes, lost-and-found items or pets, and more through e-mail and site notifications — Citizen pings users in real time. It warns those within a “quarter mile” of the crime with text alerts through scanning “public safety radio bands.”

Users can send live videos or their own individual updates and information. It’s been used in major incidents, such as last year’s evacuations at the CNN headquarters and a fire at Trump Tower.

How to start your reporting:

Who uses the app and what do they report? (i.e. shootings, thefts, unusual incidents) Is this app used seriously? If Citizen is not available in your city, how do residents receive updates on local crime?

Do your local police departments use Citizen or a similar crime-reporting app or site? Police departments have been concerned over potential vigilantism and citizens putting themselves in danger in order to get involved. However, a few respond positively, some even using the app themselves to receive updates.

One of the perceived downsides of the app is that it offers no advice on what to do in emergency situations. Besides first aid classes, are there any businesses that train civilians on how to respond to incidents such as shootings or fires?

Boeing Grounds 737 Max Planes

Boeing grounded 737 Max planes in the U.S. and other countries after investigations into two fatal crashes within the last five months.

Boeing is in the process of fixing software on the grounded planes, according to a CNBC report. This problem was highlighted when Lion Air pilots reported attempts to gain control over an automatic safety feature before the crash.

How to start your reporting:

Boeing’s stock plummeted Wednesday, and this will likely affect future orders. Not only that, but potential Boeing compensation may cost the corporation more money.  

Besides that, what are the implications for your local airports? How will employees such as pilots, flight attendants, and other airline staff be affected? Also consider passenger response and if it affects their decisions and confidence in flying and airline companies.  

How have the airlines responded to the grounding and subsequent delays in schedule? For example, Southwest’s CEO, Gary Kelly, apologized for the “inconvenience” on his Twitter, but safety would be the “top priority” for the airline.

College Admissions Scandal

Coaches, administrators, parents, and executives were accused of rigging the college admissions process through bribery and fraud in prominent American universities, according to an investigative report on Wednesday.

Thirty three parents have been charged, including former “Full House” star Lori Loughlin. Students are filing class-action lawsuits against the involved universities such as Yale, UCLA, and USC, accusing them of negligence and the subsequent “devaluation” of their degree.

How to start your reporting:

In addition to analyzing how this will affect the universities, consider the student perspective, particularly for the low-income and middle class. “Operation Varsity Blues” does not come as a surprise to many students. Fees to apply to college include official college applications, entrance exams and preparation, sending SAT/ACT scores, and more.

Sometimes, applicants are unable to afford the help they need in order to get into college. How much is the going rate in your area for SAT/ACT preparation classes or tutors, both part of an organization or private? Do parents or students seek outside resources? Are there local businesses involved? And what are the free resources offered?

High school career centers or counselors can be of help, but what is the state of them in your area’s districts? Is there a disproportionate quality in different neighborhoods or school systems, such as private, public, and charter? Are there some schools that don’t have them at all?

FAFSA and the Federal Trade Commission warn applicants of financial aid and scholarship scams. For example, any organization or company that has students pay money, whether it be a “processing fee” or a credit card or bank account number to “hold” the scholarship, is illegitimate. Have any students or families been misinformed or fallen prey to these?