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.
Historic sites around the world face mounting threats: war, climate change, natural disaster. There's a rush to use 3D scans for preservation. But experts have questions about how the scans are used.
As Apple gets ready to release its first quarter earnings Tuesday, there's a lot of chatter among analysts that iPhone use is stagnating. The company has moved down a notch in popularity in China.
On the TV show Mr. Robot, the lead character is a hacker who breaks into computer systems to promote a cause. Real-life hacktivist Barrett Brown believes the U.S. government is fundamentally corrupt.
In the late 19th century, French inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville patented the earliest known sound recording device. But his accomplishments were only recognized recently.
Two bodybuilders go at it in a legal battle that reveals how university patents for federally funded research can end up in unexpected places.
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.
After four years of hype, the Oculus Rift hits the market Monday. It's just one of several virtual reality systems — but not all the VR gadgets are up to snuff.
Is software code speech? Apple says that it is, in its motion to vacate a federal judge's order requiring the company to help the FBI break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
The CEO's absolute stand on privacy in the face of a court order may be the defining moment of his leadership at Apple. Is his move motivated by principle, the bottom line or a combination of the two?
In an open letter regarding the standoff with Apple, FBI Director James Comey said the tension between privacy and security should not be resolved by "corporations that sell stuff for a living."