June 2014 Update from Brian Kaylor
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Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

by Brian Kaylor

As you read this email on your computer, phone, or tablet, you might find it will prick your conscience a bit. One article I wrote this past month covered a new report that graded the ethics of the electronics industry - and the grades were not good! Baptist World Aid Australia released the report after nearly two years of investigation into 39 electronics companies. The group had previously graded the fashion industry, a report I covered last August. I found the electronics report more convicting not only because the fashion industry does better in paying a living wage and ethically sourcing materials, but also because I generally care more about my gadgets than my looks! 

As I wrote the piece I was actually already shopping for a new phone (since mine cracked badly several months ago) and a new laptop (since I had to give "mine" back to James Madison University). Turns out the bad cracks were not the only problems with my old phone! Perhaps we are lucky our "selfies" do not announce how our phones and other electronics were built, thereby showing the world the ethical cracks in our lifestyles. I seek to write words that make a positive difference, but it would seem ironically tragic to write them on a computer built with exploited labor. Thus, the report helped me finalize my buying decisions to shop more ethically. I hope you find it helpful as well. Check out some of the grades here.

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Produced by, the documentary Different Books, Common Word was seen on ABC TV stations and praised by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington. The film highlights a couple news articles I wrote. It is a great film that remains timely and needed. Learn more here.
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"Political philosopher Hannah Arendt 
once noted,
'To think critically is to always be hostile.'
This should be the mantra of all journalists."

- USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers
Copyright © 2014 Brian Kaylor, All rights reserved.

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