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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The Case of the Not-Stolen AirPods

Most of us who went to school in the United States have been threatened with detention for minor infractions like uttering a curse word or showing up to class five minutes late. But in Illinois, such behavior was landing students in far more serious trouble. Since a recent state law prohibits school administrators in Illinois from fining students for infractions, those same administrators turned to the police to handle disciplinary actions. A recent investigation by ProPublica found that local police in Illinois were issuing ticketed citations to thousands of middle school and high school students each year. Kids caught fighting, vaping, skipping class, or even “causing a disturbance”—a sketchily defined catch-all—were facing tickets with fines of up to $500. These illegal fines put financial strain on the the kids' families, caused the students to miss school to attend hearings, and added to the normal stresses of school life, all without fulfilling their intended purpose of encouraging positive changes in their behavior. One case, involving a student who was accused of stealing a pair of AirPods, recently went to a jury trial as the student tried to clear her name.

This week on Gadget Lab, ProPublica reporters Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards join the show to talk about their in-depth reporting of the case of the missing AirPods and how police overreach has affected students in Illinois.

Show Notes

Read Jodi and Jennifer’s ProPublica story about the missing AirPods and follow all of their reporting about how police cite students in Illinois.

Recommendations

Jennifer recommends putting up a hammock in your backyard. Jodi recommends the Scrub Daddy sponge. Mike recommends the Longreads Top 5 newsletter. Lauren recommends donating to ProPublica.

Jodi S. Cohen can be found on Twitter @jodiscohen. Jennifer Smith Richards is @jsmithrichards Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen

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Transcript

Note: This is an automated transcript, which may contain errors.

Lauren Goode: Mike.

Michael Calore: Lauren.

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Lauren Goode: Have you ever been accused of stealing something that you didn't steal?

Michael Calore: Yes. When I was much younger and looked like a ruffian. Yes, it has happened to me.

Lauren Goode: Care to share more?

Michael Calore: No.

Lauren Goode: I think the statute of limitations has probably run out.

Michael Calore: What's your question?

Lauren Goode: All right. What would you have done if you were offered the option to take a plea deal and pay $100 versus going through a years-long legal process to clear your name?

Michael Calore: I mean, that's a really tough call, because I would want to clear my name, but at the same time that sounds like a gigantic hassle. And 100 bucks was a lot of money to me at the time, but to make it all go away and to swallow my pride a little bit, maybe.

Lauren Goode: Well, a case involving missing AirPods in Illinois culminated in this exact quandary earlier in August. And the story is just too remarkable not to talk about on Gadget Lab.

Michael Calore: Great. Let's get into it.

Lauren Goode: All right. Let's do it. Hi, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED.

Michael Calore: And I'm Michael Calore, I'm a senior editor at WIRED.

Lauren Goode: We're also joined this week by two reporters from ProPublica, Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards. Hello, and welcome to you both.

Jodi S. Cohen: Hello.

Jennifer Smith Richards: Hi. Thanks for having us.

Lauren Goode: Thanks for coming on the show. We're really excited about this. Now, we wanted to bring Jodi and Jennifer on the show because the team over at ProPublica has been running an investigation and to how police in Illinois have been fining students for infractions or supposed infractions that would normally be handled within a school system itself, and how one particular case around AirPods brought more light to this practice. So a little background. In 2019, a teenager in Illinois named Amara Harris was accused of stealing a classmate’s AirPods. Now, because of the way student discipline is handled in the state of Illinois, which we are going to discuss in depth during the second half of this episode, Amara Harris was hit with a ticket by police with a maximum fine of $500. But instead of paying the fine, Harris, who maintains that she accidentally picked up the pair of AirPods thinking they were hers, decided to use her ordeal to try to stop this widespread ticketing of students across the state. Three and a half years later, the case was finally settled, and Jodi and Jennifer have the story. So first, tell us what happened on the day of the missing AirPods, according to Amara and other witnesses.

Jennifer Smith Richards: So Amara's story has never changed, not through the many years that this has gone on. Her story is that she brought a pair of AirPods to school, misplaced them and retraced her steps to find that a pair of AirPods were sitting in a common area where she had been earlier in the morning. She picked them up. They didn't immediately pair with her phone, but she re-paired them without trouble and went on about her day thinking that she had recovered her own missing AirPods.

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Jodi S. Cohen: Meanwhile, on that same day, another student realized her AirPods were missing. She went home, told her dad, who left a message at the school saying his daughter's AirPods had been stolen. The following week—a couple days passed—the following week there was a student in both of their class who thought she saw her friend's AirPods switched to Amara's AirPods, took a screenshot of it, sent it to her friend who gave it to the school deans, and they went on and did their own investigation, thought, "Huh, let's ask Amara if these are someone else's AirPods that she has." They went to her, she said, "No, these are my AirPods. I bought them months ago." They then went back to the other student with the missing AirPods. She went home, got the box that her AirPods came in. They went back to Amara, the AirPod serial number on the box matched the AirPods that Amara had. Amara said, "Oh wow, if they're not mine, take them." Handing them over right away. They went back to the other student, and [Amara] ended up getting a ticket for stealing the AirPods.

Michael Calore: So it sounds like something that all of us have experienced, where we all have devices that look exactly like everybody else's devices and we assume that something belongs to us when in fact it belongs to somebody else because we don't maybe put stickers on them to personalize them or things like that. So it's like how does a simple misunderstanding like this escalate to somebody getting a ticket?

Jodi S. Cohen: Well, I mean, I think you're right. That is the question. How does this minor thing that happened at school, which we can all relate to—picking up the wrong property, and in this case she gave it back right away—how does that escalate into a police ticket? Well, it did. And as you said earlier, Amara and her family said, "We're not paying this ticket," which would mean admitting to theft, which is knowingly taking someone else's property, and we are not going to say we did something.” She said she's not going to say she did something that she did not do. And we can get to this, it ended up in a jury trial last week.

Lauren Goode: It's so wild. This went all the way to court.

Michael Calore: So this kind of trial that she went to with a jury and with multiple parties present is actually rather rare for this process. In Illinois, when students get issued a ticket for an infraction by the police, they're often in a different kind of situation. Can you explain what normally happens and then how Amara's case escalated?

Jodi S. Cohen: It's actually really rare for any ordinance violation ticket, any ticket for violating a local municipal law, whether it's not mowing your lawn or being too noisy or any of the things you might get a ticket for, it's rare for any of those things to go to a jury trial. In fact, in Naperville where Amara is from and where this ticket was issued, they hadn't had a jury trial for an ordinance violation ticket in at least a decade. So it's rare for any case like this to go to a jury. I mean, what normally happens is in Illinois, we don't have municipal courts, we have these administrative courts. So there'll be court in a police station or a city hall and they'll bring in a hearing officer to hear the tickets. Most people pay the tickets or they say what their argument is against the ticket. If you've ever gotten a speeding ticket, for example, and the hearing officer will decide whether you have to pay the ticket or not.

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Lauren Goode: What was some of the evidence presented in this case?

Jennifer Smith Richards: The largest piece of evidence was simply that Amara had possession of the AirPods, and that in itself, the city argued, was evidence that she had stolen them. Some of the discussion was actually of a tech nature. It revolved around whether or not Amara would have known that the AirPods weren't hers because she had to repair them with her own device. And that got into a really interesting discussion where people were debating should she have known? Was she notified? Would you have known that they weren't your AirPods at the moment you tried to use them? So that was mostly what the city's case was about. Just the possession of them.

Michael Calore: So in her case, the flakiness of Bluetooth was a good defense?

Jodi S. Cohen: And an older generation of AirPods that didn't have the alert that comes up that says, "These are not your AirPods," or some kind of signal.

Lauren Goode: I think, Mike, that Apple would take issue with the fact that you called it plain old Bluetooth though. Don't they have a super special homemade chip that they put in there that makes them different?

Jodi S. Cohen: And they do. It's supposed to make pairing easier. It's also supposed to make finding your AirPods easier. I mean, all of these things become irrelevant when somebody just thinks that maybe you took something of theirs. Right?

Lauren Goode: Right. Yeah, absolutely. Also, it's remarkable how much this escalated based on such a small piece of tech. And in the story you both note that the friend who took a screenshot on a Chromebook of a pair of AirPods that popped up in a list of possible devices and was like, "Look, this means that she must've stolen them."

Jennifer Smith Richards: Exactly.

Jodi S. Cohen: That was the other piece of evidence, was this student taking a screenshot on her Chromebook and then passing it on to her friend who passed it on to the deans as evidence. That really was the other piece of evidence that the prosecutor had.

Jennifer Smith Richards: But worth noting that if it had stopped right there, there would've been no ticket. The key in what made this escalate to what eventually became a court matter was that somebody involved the police. And once the police got involved, police officers, their job is to enforce the law. And so they're looking to see was there a law broken here? Was there a potential crime committed, for example? And that's what they're assessing. And that is the point at which this became not just a matter that could have been handled by a dean, given the AirPods back, whatever needed to happen, but then becomes a matter that is handled in an actual circuit court in the state of Illinois.

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Michael Calore: And that obviously would raise the stakes for Amara depending on what happened in the court. We know from your story that just minutes before jury selection began on the first day of the trial, Amara was offered a deal to settle with no fine and just $100 court fee, but she decided not to because she wanted to prove her innocence in court. What sorts of risks was she facing by taking that chance?

Jodi S. Cohen: The risk was a maximum fine of $500 and a court fee of $100. So that was her risk.

Lauren Goode: But she really wanted to clear her name. So tell us how this turned out.

Jodi S. Cohen: So this trial over this ticket went on for a day and a half, almost two full days between jury selection and arguments. There were nine witnesses, multiple school officials came and testified, to classmates testified, her mom testified. She testified. She was the final witness. She told her story. She has been wanting to tell her story for more than three years. This went on for three and a half years. Then the jury went to deliberate and they deliberated over two days, about four hours and came back and said that Amara was not liable for theft and she won her case.

Lauren Goode: So she's now 20 years old. As you mentioned, it's taken three and a half years. She has cleared her name and this just happened. But what is life like for Amara now?

Jennifer Smith Richards: So Amara is she's a go-getter. She's a really smart young woman. She is a college student at Spelman and she's headed back to school to move on with her life. However, this has been a really important experience for her, and she has said very clearly she doesn't want other high school students to have to experience this. No high school student in her view should have to deal with a jury trial over something that gets picked up at school. And so she and her attorneys are talking about ways to make the legislature take action in Illinois to protect students from ticketing at high schools.

Lauren Goode: All right. We're going to take a quick break and then come back with more about that.

[Break]

Lauren Goode: So this story about the missing AirPods is part of a larger series of stories that Jodi and Jennifer and the team at ProPublica have been working on. And it's about the ways local police in Illinois are issuing thousands of fines to students per year because school administrators who are not legally allowed to fine students themselves are turning to the police as disciplinarians for minor school infractions. One attorney that they spoke to for their story said basically schools are using this as a way to have municipalities do their dirty work. So Jodi and Jennifer, I'm wondering what first tipped you off to this broader issue in Illinois and how you started your reporting?

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Jodi S. Cohen: What started us off on reporting about ticketing at school was that Jennifer and I were very curious about what happened when police got involved in everyday school matters. We all know that there are police in most schools now as school resource officers, and it started with that question. We filed various public records requests over a period of time to school districts in Illinois to see what happens. And we started seeing through those responses to those requests that police were issuing citations or tickets to students, which is something that was not really on our radar, but it quickly got on our radar and we decided to try to document just how often this is happening throughout the entire state. And we did that. We looked at a period of time and found about 12,000 tickets had been issued. We were able to document about 12,000 tickets to mostly high school students. We really were looking at mostly high school students and we're able to document how this was happening across the state. And students were getting tickets for, I would say the more minor kind of conduct at school. They were ticketed for possession of vaping pens or disorderly conduct or a hallway fight that normally like a shoving fight in the hallway that you might think would land you with a detention or talking to by the principal. But students were getting tickets. And these tickets were very expensive. In Illinois, they can be up to $750 and they're very, very hard to beat. And so we're finding that students and families were landing in debt over these tickets.

Michael Calore: Were these citations being handed out in public schools or private schools or both?

Jennifer Smith Richards: So we looked in public schools. That's not to say that they don't exist in private schools, but our window was really into public schools and like Jodi said, mostly high schools in the state.

Lauren Goode: And so we should probably back up a little bit and talk about SB0100 and how that plays into all of this, how it created the infrastructure for police to be able to issue these kinds of tickets to students, to kids.

Jennifer Smith Richards: Yeah. So SB0100 in Illinois was a major overhaul of school discipline. And the intent behind a portion of it that deals with fines was that schools shouldn't be issuing fines as discipline. And that seemed like something the legislature could really get behind. The problem is that schools also have police officers in them, and there's nothing in the law that prohibits police officers from issuing a ticket that carries a fine to a student in disciplinary matters. So that's exactly what happened. Schools began turning to their local school resource officer or sometimes local police to come and help enforce the rules of the school. And they did it through the town's municipal code. So if there was an ordinance on the books that says no vape pens or that is against, for example, truancy or a rule against fighting within city limits, those types of ordinances began being enforced at school like on campus during the school day.

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Michael Calore: In your reporting, you spoke to some experts about whether or not citing kids for infractions in a municipal manner and making them pay fines actually changes their behavior or not. What did they have to say about that?

Jodi S. Cohen: They said it did not help them change their behavior. It basically did nothing to help anybody. We talked to many people and including the state school superintendent, the top education official in the state said, "This is not a helpful practice at all." One thing that is interesting is that truancy… In Illinois truancy was… There's actually a law that says you cannot find a student for truancy. Even a police officer should not be able to find a student for truancy if they're referred by the school. So at one point we met a truancy officer and we asked him, "Does issuing these tickets help get students to school?" And he actually said that, "Well, when a student thinks they're going to get a ticket because they've been truing in the past, they actually don't come to school because they're so scared I'm going to then give them a ticket." So I think it's pretty clear that the experts say it does not help to ticket students. It does not change their behavior.

Lauren Goode: And then if they end up getting a ticket, they might have to go to a police station on a school day, which means they miss school.

Jennifer Smith Richards: Yeah. You get it. That's exactly right. They're out of school again and their parents are out of work sometimes. I mean, it's interesting if you think about there's this whole movement in schools away from punitive discipline. So the types of things, an exclusionary discipline, the types of things that we think of like expulsion and suspension, things that are meant to punish versus try to solve a problem. There's a move away from that. And this is very much a move toward it. We saw just the example that Jodi gave a very concrete example of how unhelpful this can be was when we asked one of the students who had been ticketed for vaping, why they didn't just stop and try to avoid the tickets, and they said very clearly, "I can't stop. I am addicted to this." And it's in that moment you think like, "Wait a second. We're just punishing this child for a very real problem that could use some actual assistance from the school."

Lauren Goode: Right. And as you know in the story, it throws children into a legal system that's really designed for adults. And the revenue from the tickets, it goes to the municipalities, right?

Jennifer Smith Richards: Right. It does not go to the schools. It goes essentially to fund the operation of the administrative hearings. So you have to have a clerk and you have to record the administrative hearing. Right there, administrative costs. And so often the cost of the tickets was going directly just to fund that operation.

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Michael Calore: You made hundreds of information requests and you compiled a database of all of the instances that you found kids were being issued tickets for infractions. What sorts of other inequities were exposed by your database?

Jennifer Smith Richards: Well. One of the things that we discovered pretty clearly pretty early is that students of color were being ticketed at disproportionate rates. Black students in particular were much more likely to be ticketed than their white peers. And this was true in all types of schools. So urban, rural, suburban schools. We were able to document all across the state these types of disparities and who was being ticketed. And also for what. So we found that offenses that are a little less clear cut, so the ones that are about behavior versus possession of something tended to be issued more often to students of color. So things like being disobedient or causing a disturbance at school. If you are a black student in Illinois, you are more likely to be ticketed for those reasons than your peers at school.

Lauren Goode: That is pretty grim.

Jodi S. Cohen: Yes.

Lauren Goode: What were some of the responses of the school districts and municipalities you brought this data to?

Jodi S. Cohen: The responses varied. I mean, some of the larger school districts where the superintendent is not in the weeds on the day-to-day activities of the schools. There's one superintendent in particular who was just totally appalled and surprised that police were as involved in school discipline as they were. And he made changes in policy at his schools and told his school principals basically to stop this. There are other schools that also cut it out. But there are some that said, "We're not stopping this. This is something that we feel like is OK to do." Students who are found vaping outside of school can be ticketed. Why shouldn't they be ticketed in school? The only issue with that is when we request records from different municipalities, you could see that almost always when students received a ticket for something like vaping, it was at school. We did not find vaping tickets issued at parks or outside in other public spaces. Tickets were almost always given to young people at school.

Lauren Goode: To bring it back to Amara Harris's case with the AirPods, and that seems like it really shown a tractor beam on this issue, and a lot of people were paying attention to it. Do you think that any change is forthcoming in the way this all works?

Jodi S. Cohen: It's possible. There was a bill introduced in the legislature last session that would have made it so that you could not get ticketed at school. It was a process they were trying to stop and the goal was to stop the ticketing at school. That bill stalled in the legislature last session. There's talk about bringing it back. Certainly the sponsor wants to bring it back and Amara's attorneys are saying they are going to be pushing for it and they would like this bill to pass and be called the Amara Harris bill.

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Michael Calore: Is this a problem that exists outside of Illinois?

Jennifer Smith Richards: It is. I mean, there are some states that we were able to identify where students are issued tickets at school. The problem is that the federal government actually doesn't track this type of discipline. So the government does track whenever students are arrested at school, but this is not an arrest. This is a ticket. And it's not something that they have chosen to look at. So we don't really know how many states are embracing this practice.

Lauren Goode: Sounds like an ongoing project for ProPublica. Not to give you guys more work. Well, this has been stellar reporting and you can see some of the direct impact of Jennifer and Jodi's reporting on ProPublica site where they've published more stories about this. So let's take another quick break and come back with our recommendations.

[Break]

Lauren Goode: OK. It's time for our favorite segment of the show, our hard hitting, FOIA based recommendation segment. Jodi, Jennifer, this will feel familiar to you. Who's up first?

Jennifer Smith Richards: I'll go. I'll go. OK. So I have an end of summer recommendation based on my enjoyment of this all summer. Listen, I live in Chicago. I have a small backyard. I don't have a bunch of trees, but I do have a backyard hammock, the kind that attaches to a frame. And I have to tell you, I've gotten so much enjoyment out of that. It's the best money I spent all summer. I can't wait to use it until it gets just too cold in Chicago to use it anymore. So that is my recommendation. Backyard hammocks.

Michael Calore: That's a great one. In San Francisco, it's like the end of August. It is just starting to get warm now, and it'll stay warm through maybe the beginning of October. So it's hammock season here, so I appreciate this.

Lauren Goode: He brags about this. It's wildfire season. That's what it is.

Michael Calore: That too. I was trying to be positive.

Lauren Goode: I'm sorry. What brand of hammock do you have?

Jennifer Smith Richards: I'll be honest. I don't even know. I basically went wildly searching on Amazon for the sturdiest, yet cheapest hammock frame and hammock that I could get. And it's a Brazilian hammock, which means it swaddles you in the most loving way as you're swinging in the breeze. So that's what I would recommend is that Brazilian style hammock.

Lauren Goode: Nice. That's great. It sounds like ProPublica could maybe start a little Wirecutter offshoot.

Jodi S. Cohen: Ooh, that's an idea.

Jennifer Smith Richards: I'm game for testing hammocks. Sign me up.

Lauren Goode: Jodi, what's your recommendation?

Jodi S. Cohen: Well, my recommendation, you may think it's not quite as fun and more practical, but really it also will make you smile. And that is the Scrub Daddy sponge. Do you use the Scrub Daddy sponge? Do you know about the Scrub Daddy sponges?

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Lauren Goode: I think do have the sponge. It's all white and one side is soft, squishy white, and the other side is like this clearish kind of scrub. Is that the sponge? No, let me Google this.

Jodi S. Cohen: It's a kitchen sponge. It has a smiley face in it, and it comes in different colors. So mine is yellow. So I'm not sure if the white one is the same thing, but this is a very happy sponge, but it's not just looks good, it's really super, super practical. So it's really good with cold water and hot water, and it dries quickly so it doesn't smell bad. And also it has a smiley face, so it's just a great sponge. It was on Shark Tank. That's how it first got known.

Lauren Goode: Wow.

Jodi S. Cohen: But now you can find them pretty much anywhere. In fact, I just got a pack of them at Costco.

Lauren Goode: Nice. It's qualified as America's favorite sponge. That's according to their marketing. That has not been independently verified.

Jennifer Smith Richards: Look, I concur. We should just point out, the smile is not just cute, it's also functional because it fits a spoon, the curve of a spoon perfectly. And so when you're trying to get that curve of the spoon clean, you can just drag it through the mouth of the Scrub Daddy.

Lauren Goode: Oh, I see this now.

Michael Calore: Also, if you have a faucet handle that's like a single faucet handle that's shaped sort of like an upside down tongue, you can just stick the sponge right on the end there.

Jodi S. Cohen: Exactly.

Michael Calore: And dry them.

Jodi S. Cohen: Do you have one of these? You know it?

Michael Calore: I do know it because a friend has one. But no, I'm a Jetz-Scrubz with Z man. That's my loyal sponge brand.

Lauren Goode: I'm thinking now that my sponge is probably some eco fiber, all natural dye-free version that I got at the local store in San Francisco. Because that would be very San Francisco.

Michael Calore: Yes, probably.

Lauren Goode: And it's probably got a grim expression rather than a smiley of the Scrub Daddy.

Jodi S. Cohen: It's a sad sponge. It's sad.

Lauren Goode: The sad sponge. These are great recommendations. Thank you for this. When you're done scrubbing, you should go relax on a hammock.

Jennifer Smith Richards: That's a deal.

Jodi S. Cohen: Exactly.

Lauren Goode: Mike, what's your recommendation this week?

Michael Calore: I'm going to recommend a newsletter. It is the Longreads' top five weekly newsletter. The folks at longreads.com basically track all of the big in-depth feature reporting and feature length essays and long profiles done by all of the big publications on the web and many of the small ones that you have never heard of, which is why I would recommend this newsletter. It arrives on Fridays. It gives you the five best long reads that were published that week, which you can go read. And there are always one or two in the list from a publication that I had not heard of or that I was unaware did long form journalism. And they are delightful stories. The topics in the top five are obviously they're all… There's not really a theme to them, but sometimes there can be, especially when something big is happening in the world, a big news event that a lot of people are doing in-depth reporting on. But most of the time you get a really nice mix of news stories, profiles of people in arts and entertainment and science stories. There was one in particular last week, Jude Isabella writing in Hakai Magazine about an island in Alaska that is populated by a herd of feral cows. And there are problems with the cows, like there's aggressive rutting and there are ecological instabilities happening on the island because these cows are absolutely everywhere. But also it's just a story about how to get to this island on a sail plane, or boat, or plane.

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Lauren Goode: Do people live there?

Michael Calore: No, it's mostly on uninhabited.

Lauren Goode: They've all moo-ved away?

Michael Calore: Ugh, yes, they've all moo-ved away.

Lauren Goode: Sorry.

Michael Calore: They herd it was crowded with cows, I think is what you were saying.

Lauren Goode: Yes. Spotty service there.

Michael Calore: Yes, absolutely. You're just going to milk this for all its worth. I can tell.

Lauren Goode: All right. That was udderly fascinating.

Michael Calore: OK. So get the Longreads top five weekly newsletter and you two can read about cows and other important things like the B problem in the United States, or the big Republican candidates who are challenging Donald Trump or Coastal erosion or profiles of Nick Cave. All different kinds of things that you might enjoy show up in that newsletter. So that's my recommendation. You got another cow joke?

Lauren Goode: No.

Michael Calore: Sorry. What is your recommendation?

Lauren Goode: My recommendation is to donate to ProPublica. It's very on topic. I'm sure Jodi and Jennifer could tell you a lot more about it than I can. But it is a nonprofit newsroom. A lot of the revenue comes from individual donors. You can go to the website. It's not hard to find. I literally Googled support ProPublica. You can also go to www.propublica.org/propublicans and you will find a page that explains to you their model and why they need money and how your donation is spent and become a ProPublican. So that's my recommendation. And of course, to check out Jodi and Jennifer's work on this series that we just covered on this podcast.

Jennifer Smith Richards: That's a great recommendation. Thank you.

Lauren Goode: Very welcome.

Jodi S. Cohen: I agree. It's a great recommendation.

Michael Calore: Nice.

Lauren Goode: Thank you. Almost as good. Almost as good as a hammock and a sponge and Longreads.

Jodi S. Cohen: Maybe better.

Lauren Goode: Maybe better.

Michael Calore: Maybe better.

Lauren Goode: Actually, if you read Longreads and ProPublica, there's probably an intersection of the two.

Jodi S. Cohen: There is.

Michael Calore: Fully.

Jodi S. Cohen: Our ProPublica stories are often in Longreads.

Lauren Goode: There you go.

Michael Calore: Some of them written by some of the people on the show.

Lauren Goode: That's right. All right. That's our show for this week. Jennifer and Jodi, thank you so much for joining us. It's been a real pleasure.

Jodi S. Cohen: Thank you.

Jennifer Smith Richards: Thank you. This was really fun.

Lauren Goode: And thanks to all of you for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. We're still there. I guess we should start calling it X.

Michael Calore: Or whatever.

Lauren Goode: Just check the show notes. The social network formerly known as Twitter. Our producer is the excellent Boone Ashworth. Goodbye for now. We'll be back next week.

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