A woman’s comments that an African-American female news reporter in Dallas “looks ridiculous” in her clothes has sparked outrage on social media.
Wednesday morning, a woman on Facebook posted a photo of WFAA Channel 8 News traffic reporter Demetria Obilor wearing a red dress, criticizing the way she looked in her dress. The post has since been taken down.
“She’s a 16/18 woman in a size 6 dress and looks ridiculous,” the post said. The woman also said she would stop watching the news channel.
Obilor, 26, has been a traffic reporter at the station for two weeks. She was previously a traffic reporter at KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. She said she wasn’t made aware of the post until Friday when someone posted a screenshot of the post on Twitter.
“I’m not a 16/18, but even if I was, for you to try to call out my size like that to hurt me or discriminate against me, I’m not for that,” she told NBC News.
Having been in the business almost four years, she said she isn’t hurt by the comments and has thick skin.
“When you get older and you’re in the news people warn you that, ‘Hey, you’re going to be under a harsh lens. People are going to critique you, people are going to say mean things about you,'” she said.
This isn’t the first time Obilor has been attacked over her looks. Over the summer, while a traffic reporter in Las Vegas, she shared a screenshot of an email from a viewer who said her natural hairstyle must be hard to clean and “smell bad.”
Obilor isn’t alone. Rhonda Lee, a former meteorologist in Louisiana was fired for responding to a viewer who said her natural hairstyle didn’t “look good on TV.”
Obilor, whose mother is white and father is Nigerian, said some people must accept that we now live in a time where styles and body types once rarely seen in media are now being embraced.
“Black people on TV; there’s nothing wrong with that,” she said. “Naturally, curly hair — I don’t care if a black woman wants to wear her hair straight or in braids, you don’t get to say what’s professional and what’s not professional based on your white standard of beauty.”
Obilor said her news colleagues have been supportive of her. NBC News reached out to WFAA Channel 8 News but has not received a response.
She has also received support on social media, with people thanking her and telling her she is beautiful. Chance The Rapper retweeted a post about Obilor that has been liked over 100,000 times.
Last week, Twitter announced plans to launch a network of news-based TV shows that would stream on the social media company’s apps 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, a report by The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Twitter will be partnering with Bloomberg in its live streaming endeavor, and together the two plan to launch a service “that will stream news produced solely for Twitter,” and is set to debut sometime in the fall of 2017.
The network, which has yet to be officially named, will showcase the “most important” pieces of news going on every day around the world, and Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith mentioned that it will be “broader in focus” than the media company’s existing network. The Bloomberg/Twitter hybrid won’t be a simple rebroadcasting of Bloomberg’s existing news streams, but consist of all-new reporting from various global Bloomberg bureaus.
Twitter’s contribution to the network will come in the addition of crowd sourced footage being added into news pieces through videos posted on Twitter during related news coverage.
“It is going to be focused on the most important news for an intelligent audience around the globe and it’s going to be broader in focus than our existing network,” said Bloomberg Media’s chief executive officer, Justin Smith.
“We really think we can reach audiences that are not paying for TV and are watching television on the go and we think Bloomberg is the perfect partner for us to start with,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial and operating officer.
The monetary aspect of the deal was not disclosed by either Twitter or Bloomberg, but the companies did confirm that the network would be supported by advertisements and that programming duties would entirely fall on Bloomberg’s shoulders.
The report comes ahead of the official announcement of the partnership, set to happen later today at an event that Bloomberg is holding for advertisers, where Michael Bloomberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will both be in attendance. Previously, Twitter and Bloomberg partnered to cover the presidential debates last year on the social media network.
Besides those debates, Twitter has embraced live video during a number of special events, including the inauguration and pre- and post-shows for the 2017 Oscars. Video has subsequently turned into a major effort for Twitter, and in the first quarter of 2017 became one of the largest portions of the company’s ad revenue, ramping up alongside similar video projects from rivals Facebook and Snapchat.
The advantage for users watching Twitter and Bloomberg’s network will come thanks to the ability to watch live news coverage while simultaneously viewing and posting commentary of it from Twitter’s social network. “Viewers have already embraced a multistream experience with live events,” said Smith. “And marrying those experiences seemed like a very powerful thing to offer to consumers.”
When Stephanie Tilenius, a former senior executive at eBay and Google, decided to start a health-coaching app, many in her network were incredulous. “Everyone thought I was crazy,” she recalls. “Some people loved that I wanted to do something to help others, but a lot socially ostracized me.”
For many entrepreneurs, the health sector offers an enticing opportunity–with strings attached. It’s an estimated $3 trillion market and is still dominated by a cadre of traditional players. But many in the technology sector have shied away from the industry after witnessing many high-profile failures and realizing that change doesn’t happen quickly. “Silicon Valley operators and investors see that health care needs better technology,” explains veteran health IT consultant Ben Rooks. “But they learn quickly that health care isn’t about radical disruption; it’s about slow evolution.”
Despite the challenges, a small but growing group of former technologists from companies like Google and Twitter are in it for the long haul. In many cases, their motivations are deeply personal: A family member lost to chronic disease, or a brush with the broken health care system. I spoke to four former tech executives about their reasons for moving into health care, the cultural differences between the two sectors, and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.
“Because patients deserve better than a seven-minute visit.”–Stephanie Tilenius, former VP of commerce and payments at Google and former GM and VP at eBay and PayPal
Stephanie Tilenius started her career at e-commerce companies like eBay and PayPal, and eventually ascended the ranks to become a senior vice president at Google. But prior to joining eBay in 2001, she spent a few years at an online drugstore called PlanetRx. That early experience in health care had a lasting impact on Tilenius. When her father got sick, she felt an even stronger pull to quit her steady tech job to make an impact in the sector. “My father had multiple chronic conditions and went from doctor to doctor,” she recalls.
These days, she is the CEO of a startup called Vida, which provides virtual care for patients with chronic ailments. Before starting the company, Tilenius reflected on her father’s need for “continuous care,” which would involve all of his care providers communicating with him and each other between office visits. Tilenius believes his heart attack could have been avoided, or at least delayed, if he had received better care than a “seven-minute visit, in which all his doctors would all just tell him to change his diet.”
Unlike many of her peers in health tech, she made a point of working closely with medical centers that were already developing clinically validated programs for treating patients with chronic disease like diabetes, depression, and hypertension. She started Vida to make these programs more accessible by shifting some of the components online, and connecting patients with virtual health coaches to inspire long-term behavioral changes.
At first, many friends and acquaintances in her network couldn’t understand why she’d leave a successful career in tech to start a health company that would likely grow and monetize at a slow pace. “People didn’t understand why I would leave a senior role and money on the table,” she says. “In Silicon Valley, it’s about hypergrowth, and if you’re not doing that, then there’s something wrong.” Likewise, many in health care were skeptical about technologists moving into their own complex sector. Tilenius believes that she’ll ultimately show her detractors on both sides that new platforms will emerge in health care, starting with mobile and cloud, and that companies like Vida will be at the forefront. Ultimately, she asks, “Don’t you want us crazy Googlers to help people by building companies and taking risks?”
“It’s a quest for purpose.”–Katie Jacobs Stanton, former VP of global media for Twitter, and Othman Laraki, former VP of product management at Twitter and former product manager at Google
For Othman Laraki, the CEO of Color Genomics, the migration of technologists to health care is inevitable as the so-called “internet generation” ages and their priorities change. Laraki’s company offers a $249 test to screen people for gene mutations associated with various cancers. Laraki says he left a job in product management, in part because he learned that he is a carrier of one of these mutations. He also found through his research that those with an early awareness of their disease risks can take proactive and preventative steps. “Color started with a simple question,” he recalls. “Is this test something that could benefit my family as well as other families out there?”
I know Twitter can be a confusing medium for many authors – what can you say in 140 characters or less to promote your book? In my opinion, Twitter is actually a writer’s dream for those who like to write short, like the absence of a lot of images, and are willing to experiment.
A news service that the users create, Twitter is a great resource to meet other writers, agents, editors, and book bloggers, people who love to read and review books.
10 Tips on Promoting Your Book on Twitter
1. Open an account on Twitter. Choose a name that is easily recognizable, ideally your author name. In the long run, as an author, you are your brand. If you choose a name like “jamie123” this won’t help you build name recognition.
2. Bring in your email contacts. Twitter makes this easy. In this way, you can see who you already know on Twitter.
3. Craft a profile that tells us 1) you’re an author and what genre you write (romance, how-to, memoir, etc.); 2) your interests that reflects your personality; and 3) what can entice us to want to get to know you better. There is a separate field for your website or blog site, so don’t put that in your Twitter profile.
4. Draft tweets ahead of time because you’d rather be writing, right? Use a service like Hootsuite.com, BufferApp.com, SocialOomph.com, or Tweetdeck — all with free versions — to schedule tweets ahead of time. You can also use these tools to reply to people, and follow conversations. More on Twitter conversations below.
5. Spend most of your time interacting directly and publicly with people who follow you, retweet (RT) you, and “favorite” your tweets. You do this by using the @ Connect tab on the Twitter menu. I spend 90% of my time here.
6. Interact in conversations that relate to your book. You do this by clicking on the “# Discover” tab. This is where you can type in a keyword with or without the # sign, or hashtag. Authors often ask me how to use the hashtag. By typing in your keyword with a hashtag, like “#amwriting” — a hashtag used to connect with others writers who are writing — you can stay in touch and be a part of a larger conversation happening around the virtual water cooler.
7. Use the 5-5-5 rule to keep your time focused and limited: Spend 5 minutes responding to tweets, follows, and replies. Spend a second 5 minutes following new people. Twitter offers suggestions all the time on the left-hand side. You can also use the “# Discover” tab. Use the final 5 minutes crafting tweets, thanking, sharing, and inviting.
8. Take risks. Sometimes we don’t know what will work until we try it. There’s lots of room for experiment and play. As long as you are in line with what you stand for (your platform, really), then what you do on Twitter (and by extension the other social media channels), you can feel good about your actions.
9. Learn from the masters or the more experienced authors. When I see a book marketing campaign done by another author that I think is really cool, I try it — with my own spin, of course.
10. Participate in conversations. There is a plethora of hashtags that writers are using to connect, promote, and learn. As I mentioned above, there’s #amwriting. There’s also #amediting. If you’d like to participate in a live conversation, the tool to use is Tweetchat, a free service, at http://tweetchat.com/.
Two other very popular hashtags are #FF or #FollowFriday, and #WW or #WriterWednesday. If you type these in the Search box, you’ll see lots of writers using these. The primary purpose of both of these is to give a shout out to your followers (#FF) and to your friends and colleagues (#WW).
Over the past couple of years, Twitter has offered developers numerous services to help them build, test, deploy and maintain their apps as part of its modular Fabric platform. Now, the company is selling it off to Google.
The move is likely an attempt on Twitter’s part to slim down in troubling times. The good thing is that none of Fabric’s useful services – including Crashlytics for reporting crashes, Digits for user authentication, Answers app analytics and Nuance for speech recognition – are going away, as Google will continue to offer them to developers as they are.
The people behind Fabric will join Google’s Developer Products Group and work alongside the Firebase team. During the transition, Digits will continue to be maintained by Twitter.
With that, Twitter is losing most of the ties it had with the developer community at large, and losing the advantage it once had over Facebook after the social network shuttered Parse.
But given that it recorded losses of more than $100 million in the the third quarter of 2016 (PDF), it’s clear that the company has bigger problems to tackle. Dropping Fabric off its list of services to maintain could reduce overheads as Twitter strives to become self-sustaining – or at the very least, stave off death in 2017.