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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The annual video game trade show E3 began this week in Los Angeles under the cloud of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the deadliest in America's recent history. The conference is expected to draw tens of thousands of industry professionals who want hands-on experience with games that turn virtual violence into entertainment. There were signs that organizers were trying to bridge the contradictions. At the downtown LA Convention Center, flags were at half-staff. Actress Aisha Tyler,...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

For most of us, eye tracking technology sounds interesting. But it's not life changing. Eye tracking allows users to move a cursor around a computer or mobile device simply by moving your eyes and head. Oded Ben Dov initially used eye tracking technology to develop a video game that he showed off on Israeli TV. The next day, he says, he got a phone call from a man who told him: "I can't move my hands or legs. Can you make me a smartphone I could use?" That's when Ben Dov realized that his eye...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBvzKp0AERE Elizabeth Holmes fit into the Silicon Valley success mold. A young Stanford dropout who left school to pursue her entrepreneurial vision, she founded Theranos and said she would disrupt the world of medicine with easy and inexpensive blood tests. Now her company is under federal investigation and extra scrutiny by federal regulators . And questions are being raised about whether applying hardware and software business culture to biotechnology is...

Prince's sister says that when the musician died suddenly last week, he left no known will. On Tuesday, she asked a Minnesota court to appoint a special administrator to oversee the estate, which may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But no matter who the heirs turn out to be, they will be facing some tough choices. Prince always had an aura of mystery. His death at 57 has only added to the puzzle. The cause of death is unknown and so is the exact size of his estate. His only...

Yahoo goes on sale Monday. At least some of you reading this are thinking, "Yahoo? Are they still around?" Yes, this company founded in 1994, is ancient by Internet standards, but, according to the measurement company comScore, Yahoo sites are the third-most trafficked on the Internet. Among its properties are Yahoo Finance, News, Search, Mail, Tumblr and Flickr. Why is Yahoo on sale? Despite having a billion monthly unique visitors — as the company claimed in its 2014 report — Yahoo just...

Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET with a response from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Inventors and entrepreneurs have logged years of complaining about the patent system, and there are some good reasons. In 2015, patent litigation rose 13 percent from the previous year according to a study by Unified Patents , and two-thirds of those suits were brought by nonpracticing entities, or so-called "patent trolls." Trolls don't make products — trolls buy up patents so they can sue companies that do...

The Justice Department has asked a federal court to vacate its order that Apple write software to help the FBI access data in the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone. The department tells the court in a filing that it has found a way to access data in the locked phone. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Tributes are pouring out across the Internet for Andy Grove. The former CEO of Intel died on Monday. His personal story is woven into the history of Silicon Valley. NPR's Laura Sydell reports on what he left behind. LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Andy Grove was tough in life and work. By the time he was 20 years old, Grove, who was Jewish, had survived the Nazi occupation of his native Hungary in hiding. He'd...

President Obama was in Austin, Texas on Friday to make peace with techies. He addressed attendees at the annual tech conference South by Southwest Interactive and asked for help getting Americans more civically engaged. But he also spoke for the first time at length about issues in the stand off between the Justice Department and Apple over a terrorist's iPhone. Since February, Apple and the Justice Department have been slinging legal arguments at each other like swear words. The fight is...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Apple CEO Tim Cook put himself and his company front and center in a national debate on digital privacy, when he decided Apple would not comply with a federal court order to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. The Department of Justice has accused the company of using the case as a marketing opportunity . But a look at Cook's record running Apple since 2011 makes his motivations appear more nuanced and his confrontation with the federal government inevitable....

When a federal judge ordered Apple earlier this week to unlock a phone used by one of the assailants in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., she cited a law from 1789. It could make you wonder if the nation's legal system is having a hard time keeping up with the fast pace of technological change. So, I asked a few legal experts if our old laws can apply to this particular situation. The iPhone in question was used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife was allegedly motivated...

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