manhattan_skyline_nite

The Signal Podcast

For the past several months my friend Jill Duffy and I have been developing a podcast. On Sunday we recorded and released the pilot episode of The Signal, a discussion show about news, technology, and culture.

We put a lot of thought and consideration in to what The Signal podcast could be, and we cycled through various formats. We settled on a (reasonably) succinct weekly discussion show about the news. We will produce an initial season of four or five episodes, then take a small break to assess what works and what does not. Episodes will focus a newsworthy topic, run for approximately one hour, and feature guests and interesting experts.

I have a long history with podcasting and am excited to co-produce a new show with a good friend. While podcasting has always been noisy and fun, I’m pleased to see it emerge as a unique and legitimate medium. The Signal approximates a hobby more than professional endeavor, and it will take many weeks to iron out the rough edges. As the name implies Jill and I would like the show to be interesting and useful, rather than blabby and rambly.

Episodes of The Signal will always be available for download here. The show is also on YouTube, Soundcloud, and soon iTunes.

Ping us any time. Because The Signal is a passion project, your feedback is particularly important. As the show evolves we’d love to hear from you and your thoughts about the news, suggestions for future topics, and critiques.

Thanks for listening.

washington_post_brand_connect_dhp

Stories for The Washington Post Brand Connect

washington_post_brand_connect_dhp

I recently reported and wrote a series of articles for The Washington Post Brand Connect about the impact of regulation on small and middle market business.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.35.11 AM

BreakingModern Content Strategy

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.35.11 AM

For the past several weeks I’ve been working with Gina Smith and HTC to produce a website called BreakingModern.com. BreakingModern is an editorially-independent lifestyle blog. HTC serves as an underwriter and strategic partner. Our small team built the site and produce content – text posts, video shows, and podcasts – about technology, news, music, and culture. While the site, the content, and even the design continue to evolve, both Gina’s team and HTC have been a lot of fun to work with. Each day I learn something new and have the opportunity to develop neat stuff with smart and talented folks. BreakingModern is an interesting venture in content strategy and I’m excited to see where the experiment takes us!

angels_of_death

The Iron Pipeline: Investigative Reporting with Contently Dot Org

angels_of_death

I recently had the opportunity to work with Contently and StudioAtGawker on a long-form investigative story about gun trafficking on the so-called Iron Pipeline, a stretch of Interstate 95 that connects a number of major east coast cities. The reporting work was in conjunction with the launch of Contently Dot Org, a not-for-profit platform in support of investigative journalism.

For two months our team – editor Brad Hamilton, data journalist Sam Petulla, and Contently’s Sam Slaughter – conducted research, interviewed sources and experts, and crafted a story that attempts to humanize the realities of gun trafficking. I was the primary writer and reporter.

Angels of Death

Tiana never saw herself as a killer.
The daughter of a prostitute, she grew up in an inner city housing project surrounded by crack cocaine, day-time shootings and illicit money making. Hustling was in her family’s blood. Her grandmother ran an after-hours booze business from their apartment, selling bottles of beer and pints of liquor until three in the morning.

For Tiana, who was determined not to follow her mother into the sex trade, guns became the hustle.
Buying weapons for the men in her life—a practice that police call straw purchasing—was easy money.

“I hung out a lot with guys because I didn’t figure that women could teach me anything,” she told me. “Guys taught me … to deal with the street. And part of that was guns.”

Read the full story.

Learn more about Contently Dot Org.

dave_diamond_sunshine

Break on Through: Remembering The Diamond

The studio light would blink. I’d answer the phone, expecting a buzzed request for Metallica or Aerosmith. “KDDX, this is Dan.”

“Dan. This is Diamond. Tighten the fuck up!” Click.

dave_diamond_sunshine

In a radio studio the phone never rings, but the light is always blinking. Nighttime radio is great. Broadcasting from the Black Hills of Western South Dakota a 100 thousand watt FM signal travels across five states of prairie towns, military bases, and truck stops. Thousands of people all dial in to the same chatter of music, local low-budget ads, fast jokes, and rock ‘n’ roll.  The listeners talk back to the radio. The phone rings and the studio light blinks.

I used to work the afternoon drive at a big rock station in the Black Hills region. It’s a small but fun radio market, and we were a highly-rated station. When the drive time shift ended I would stick around on-air as I recorded my evening voice track recording for the weekend hours. Punching the ‘on-air’ button is a lot of fun regardless of market size, and our station had a big and rowdy audience. Answering the phone at X-Rock station was frequently an adventure. Sometimes the caller just wanted to hear that one Alice in Chains song. Again. And sometimes the listener was roaring backstage at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Talking up and down the ramp of Walk This Way is fun every time, though, and with a big audience it’s easy to get a little cocky on-air. I turned up the studio monitors, glance at the music and production list, cut an ad, punched a talk set, and repeated the cycle through the hot-clock. The station light blinked. I had just cut the air and was expecting to get a buzzed request for Metallica or Aerosmith.

The light blinked. I answered.

“KDDX, this is Dan.”

“Dan. This is Diamond.”

“Hey Diamond, thanks for-“

“I’ve been taping your show all night. Tighten the fuck up!”

Click.

dave_diamond

In May my friend and mentor Dave Diamond passed away. Here’s the post from his website, and a eulogy from The Hollywood Reporter:

In 1967, Diamond was one of the first disc jockeys to play “Light My Fire” by The Doors, then a largely unknown L.A. band, and he connected listeners to The Seeds, Iron Butterfly, Love, Linda Ronstadt and other acts who at the time could not find airplay.

Through his Black Hills Music publishing company, the South Dakota native was the publisher of “Incense and Peppermints,” the psychedelic pop hit from The Strawberry Alarm Clock that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in May 1967.

Named one of “America’s Early Radio Idols” by Billboard, Diamond was one of the few radio reporters to tour with The Beatles during their first trip to America.

And on a 1967 edition of The Dating Game, Diamond was one of the three bachelors attempting to woo actress Yvonne Craig (TV’s Batgirl.)

Diamond was an academic and a rock ‘n’ roll radio jock. His influence was both personal and vast. “Tighten the fuck up” is the closest I can come to a story that properly (impossibly) summarizes the personal impact of a guy who also influenced thousands listeners and students. I’m willing to be that a lot of Diamond’s friends and family have similar stories and feel the same way about their relationship with him.

“Tighten the fuck up” became a mantra that was always coupled with a productive and inspiring session of granular critiques. Always tough, never negative Diamond expected work to be good, rehearsed, and repeatable. This value was one many Diamond’s Laws to Live By to which he attributed his personal and professional success.

Here’s one of my favorite Diamond’s Laws to Live By:

Life is short. It can be snatched from you instantly … that is why we must do our best to do good, to love, and not waste too much time! Time bleeds!

Of course, Diamond taught more than just the value of practice and hard work. From him I learned a ton of practical lessons about the media industry, the history of rock ‘n’ roll, and his home, the Black Hills. Diamond helped coach me through the process of running a radio station, starting a business, and managing people. Sure, Diamond was a successful guy and taught a lot of lessons. The practical lessons, however, were always coupled with his consistent reminders about healthy and smart living.

Be a good person. Do the right thing. But don’t take no shit from fools.

I was fortunate to be one of many young people Diamond mentored. As a great DJ, one of Diamond’s many skills was his ability to develop intimate and sincere relationships with a diverse and large group of people. His method was hands on, cerebral, and personal. Diamond’s friends and students now work in media across the country. And with the success of his friends comes the inherent dissemination of Diamond’s values and creativity.

As he was in life and on-air, with his passing Diamond remains a broadcaster. His values are the transmitter, and the people he taught are the signal.

Turn up the radio. Thanks for listening. Break on though.

- Dan

Here’s Diamond during the final hour of Burbank’s KBLA rock program:

dan_patterson_kotaku

Kinja: Writing on StudioAtGawker

dan_patterson_kotaku

This spring I wrote a few posts for Gawker’s content studio, StudioAtGawker. Part of Gawker’s Kinja platform, StudioAtGawker is an experimental blend of editorially-generated native advertising.

  • From Phone Phreaks To The NSA: A Brief History of Modern Hacking
    • Lulzsec, lifehacks, script kiddies, and The NSA: hacking is now totally ubiquitous in media and culture, and it has changed much of our behavior, both online and off. Gamers in particular have been informed by hacker history since the days of Konami, and hacking is one of the most creative ways to problem-solve, meaning the difference between victory and failure in tough gaming situations.
  • Being Your Own Boss Made Easier: Five Ways to Maximize the Cloud
    • Being your own boss is great: you set your own schedule and work on projects you love, whether you’re at home in your pajamas or suited up in a meeting. But managing the business, keeping track of receipts, and staying organized can be tedious — unless you use the cloud to maximum advantage. Microsoft’s OneDrive is a platform for business and personal use, and an excellent place for everything in your life. It works with a number of apps made specifically to help freelancers and small-business owners stay efficient and organized. Here are a few.
  • How Stephen Courtney and the Dyson Team Invented the DC65
    • While the promise of jetpacks has yet to be delivered, engineers like Dyson’s Head of New Product Innovation, Stephen Courtney, are inventing sophisticated machines that bring future-thinking technology to the home. His latest Dyson model, the DC65, is the product of relentless testing and provides a glimpse into how people like Stephen Courtney and the rest of the Dyson team will design the future.

 

 

hacking_jack_rice_dan_patterson

Hacking Explained: Jack Rice and Dan Patterson on Progressive AM 950


Download Audio

Jack and Dan discuss a brief history of hacking, explain how the NSA captured personal user data from major internet providers, and provide a few essential security tips for the web and mobile on Minnesota’s progressive talk station, AM 950.

Learn more about about the NSA from expert James Bamford, and security from host Steve Gibson.

Thanks for listening to Jack and Dan.

Stay tuned.

sudan_stories_airstrip

Sudan Stories with Jack Rice and Dan Patterson on Progressive AM 950

Recorded on AM 950 in Minneapolis as commentary on media training conducted by Small World News in Cairo, Egypt. 

Download Audio

jack_rice_dan_patterson_am950In which I join talk radio host, former CIA agent, and public defender Jack Rice to share stories on 950 AM in Minneapolis about storytelling, reporting from Cairo, and digital journalism in conflict regions.

Learn more at AM 950 Progressive Radio and on Jack’s website.

Thanks for listening.

سلام

Learn More:

Sudan Stories:

sudan_language_guns_phones

Sudan Stories: Language, Guns, & Phones – Media Training In Cairo

Recorded in March 2014 as part of a media training by Small World News in Cairo, Egypt. 

Download Audio

cairo_skylineFrom an ad-hoc classroom through the bustling streets of Cairo to the Pyramids of Giza, this is an audio journal of stories and  thoughts recorded while working with Small World News to train Sudanese media makers in March of 2014.

Our hotel was located down a busy, dusty ally in downtown Cairo. Each day our team scribbled on charts and whiteboards in a top-floor classroom with windows that opened to the noisy clanking of perpetual construction. For two weeks over coffee and sheesha with our Sudanese colleagues we used Android devices to review the techniques of telling stories that deeply resonate with people.

Our group was remarkable, and individually live fascinating lives in different regions of Sudan. Each day was an opportunity to learn more about family, music, language, and culture. With the help of great translators listened to personal stories, asked questions, and recorded audio. As with my prior trip to Sudan, I also occasionally recorded short audio journal entries of our activity. Far from an official report, this is a narrative that tries to capture the essence of the people of Sudan, as well as the sounds of Egypt.

cairo_antenna

In this episode you’ll hear a number of captivating stories:

  • The story of a mother awake in a storm anxiously awaiting the return of her son.
  • The impact of the Egyptian revolution on tourism at the Giza Pyramids.
  • The impact of violence and systemic marginalization on language, music, and dance in Kordofan.
  • How mobile phones are empowering disenfranchised groups.
  • The pop music of Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

cairo_roof

Notes: 

The experiences shared in this story are raw, unvettable, and sometimes shocking. Yet these experiences are shared by thousands of Sudanese  refugees and internally displaced persons. To learn more about systemic marginalization and the wars in Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur please read Richard Cockett’s Sudan, Darfur, Islamism and the World.

The stories shared in this episode were conducted with a local, untrained translator and recorded on the fly with a Marantz PMD620. I speak Arabic poorly and did my best to keep up with the narrative, but surely much nuance and context was lost in translation. Arabic clarification and edits are welcome.

Thanks for listening.

سلام

Learn More:

Sudan Stories:

cairo_streets

story_of_n_blind

Sudan Stories: The Story of N – Imprisoned and Blinded

Recorded in March 2014 as part of a media training by Small World News in Cairo, Egypt. 

Download Audio


cairo_sunsetN is from a city in Sudan. I met her during our training course in Cairo. N was a media student for two weeks and I had to opportunity to know her well. In Sudan, N has a reputation as a hard-working and warm-hearted activist. Her loud voice was heard and noted by the UN and the international community, but was largely ignored by the Sudanese government. Until she witnessed corruption and spoke too loudly.

For the crime of witnessing and reporting corruption, N was imprisoned and kept in solitary confinement. She placed in a stark cell and kept alone for months. Her only company was the bright light that shone perpetually, keeping her awake for days at a time. From time to time she was removed from her cell and forced by her captors to stare in to a blinding light during brutal interrogations. 

Then, just prior to Ramadan for reasons still unknown, she was released. She’s worried about government surveillance, her family, and her safety. She wanted to learn to make media as a form of empowerment. Over coffee and cheap cigarettes N shared her story as we sat and looked at the Cairo sunset.

The experiences shared by N are raw, unvettable, and sometimes shocking. Yet N’s experience is shared by thousands of Sudanese  refugees and internally displaced persons. To learn more about systemic marginalization and the wars in Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur please read Richard Cockett’s Sudan, Darfur, Islamism and the World.

Notes:

The experiences shared by N are raw, unvettable, and sometimes shocking. Yet N’s experience is shared by thousands of Sudanese  refugees and internally displaced persons. To learn more about systemic marginalization and the wars in Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur please read Richard Cockett’s Sudan, Darfur, Islamism and the World.

This interview was conducted with a local, untrained translator and recorded on the fly with a Marantz PMD620. I speak Arabic poorly and did my best to keep up with the narrative, but surely much nuance and context was lost in translation. Arabic clarification and edits are welcome.

Thanks for listening.

سلام

Learn More:

Sudan Stories: