News Trustee Network

By Uri Blau and Nini Cabaero

Somewhere around the globe a major news story just broke.  Your news crew is thousands of miles away.  It will take ages to get them there and will cost a fortune.

What do you do?

News outlets need someone on the ground.  Someone they can count on.  Someone they can trust.  Now we have a solution for them.

News Trustee Network (NTN)

Story of ‘Sweetie’ continues

THE challenge is to provide children like “Sweetie” with a normal childhood and a safe environment so they may grow to pursue their dreams.

Webcam child sex tourism emerged last year as a new way of abusing the Internet after a Netherlands organization discovered this phenomenon with the use of a computer-generated 10-year-old Filipino girl named “Sweetie” to track predators online.

After the “Sweetie” project, the Terre Des Hommes Netherlands, a child protection agency, identified more than a thousand pedophiles from over 70 countries and turned over the information to international law enforcement agencies.

The group discovered how Filipino children are denied their childhood and forced into sexual activities, at times with the prodding of relatives.  These children are told this is safe as no touching is involved in webcam child sex tourism and this is a quick way to earn for the family.  Most of the clients in webcam child sex tourism are people in first world countries.

Five months after the group’s disclosure of its findings in November last year, there has been no update on the status of charges filed against online predators and policy decisions made to strengthen laws protecting children.

The Terre Des Hommes Netherlands asked people to sign an online petition for an international crackdown on webcam child sex tourism.  The petition said such crackdown will “require announcing a plan for intercepting potential predators in public chat rooms, initiating prosecutions and challenging intermediaries who enable and profit from this vile trade.”

More than this petition, there are other actions that can be taken online and offline to put a stop to webcam child exploitation.  They are:

1)            Keep the story going.  Continue the monitoring of arrests of predators and raids on Philippine houses that have become havens for these illegal sexual activities.
–  Google map to plot raids and arrests made in Philippines communities
–  IFTTT recipe to capture all news related to webcam child sex tourism in the Philippines (supply side) and abroad (demand side) and add the data to a Google spreadsheet
–  Article on how communities are able to address this problem

2)            Provide stiffer penalty or consider as an aggravating circumstance the use of the Internet or webcam in the crime of child exploitation or when a family member is involved in pushing a child to have online sex.

3)            Invite Anonymous or set up a hackathon to create a program to catch online predators.

Posted in All

Alexandra L. Taylor

Profile on Alexandra L. Taylor

IT has been a year since she left The Daily Star as its reporter in Beirut, Lebanon, but Alexandra L. Taylor keeps herself updated with the news there.

She recently read online reports on the Lebanese government-run National News Agency [1] about low-flying Israeli planes over the eastern and western mountains of Lebanon, and on The Daily Star website [2] about the ban on energy drinks with alcohol.

Her Twitter account [3] keeps a record of articles she read and commented on.

@AlexLTaylor on Twitter

@AlexLTaylor on Twitter

Taylor is a first year graduate student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy [4] in Tufts University.  She is expected to graduate next year with a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy degree [5], concentrating in International Security Studies, Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilizations.

She is 27 years old, born on November 3, 1986, in California, USA.

Her LinkedIn account [6] showed her employment at The Daily Star in Beirut where she started out in the international section as editor and also did some reporting.  She left the company in January 2013.

She wrote about social issues, health, lifestyle and politics.  She wrote about yoga as a way for the Lebanon people to seek inner peace [7], growing up amid instability [8], the displacement of families whose houses were destroyed by bombings [9] and many more [10].

Before being a journalist, Taylor worked as a research assistant [5] for schools and foundations.

At The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Taylor also acts as editor of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs and the Al Nakhlah Journal on Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilizations.  She too is teaching assistant at the Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship at The Institute for Global Leadership.

She graduated cum laude from the Tufts University in 2009 where she got her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and she was awarded the Peter Belfer Award in Political Science.  She also attended the Head Royce School from 2001 to 2005 [5].

She speaks a little Arabic and Spanish.

She gave a lecture last December at Tufts on interviewing techniques [11].

She recently co-wrote an article on the shifts in the concept of citizenship in the Arab world [12].  It was published in the Al Nakhlah, The Fletcher School’s online journal on Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization [13].

After graduate school, she hopes to return to the Middle East to continue reporting from there.  But, if not in journalism or in the Middle East, she would like to work as some sort of a “conduit of communication between people who are making decisions in the United States and people actually living in the Middle East,” she said in a video interview [14].  “That communication gap is pretty huge.”

She has no family in Lebanon but she has friends there.  Her friends were the ones who convinced her after undergraduate education to try to work in the Middle East.  She thought she would stay for only six months but ended up living there for almost three years.

She is taking the Future of News and Participatory Media class at MIT as a cross-registrant.  Her final project would be a social media project analysis that she started at Fletcher [14].  She hopes to talk about it in class in the future.

Video interview:
Alexandra L. Taylor video interview
She said I got everything correct.  My surprise find for her was the YouTube video of her lecture on interviewing techniques.

The challenge of finding ‘Alexandra Taylor’

I first searched for “Alexandra Taylor” on Google and got many results of both male and female persons with the same name.

All I knew at that point were the following:
E-mail address

I revised my search and typed “Alexandra Taylor MIT” on the Google box.  I got mostly information about a different Alexandra Taylor, the track and field athlete at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  I thought she was the one, but I wasn’t sure.

I Googled her e-mail address – – and got too many unrelated results that brought me farther from my search target.

I then went on Facebook but also got several accounts.  I couldn’t be sure of which account was hers.  I got on LinkedIn but I reached the wrong account.

Checked her name on and it showed that there are 365 people in the United States with the name Alexandra Taylor or Alex Taylor.

I was tempted to pay for a people finder service but I decided it would be a waste of money and time unless I get more information about her.

When I wrote Alex for an interview schedule, I decided to ask for her middle name.  I asked if it was Bailey.  I thought I should at least get the full name as there are just too many with the same name.  She said her middle name is Lee.

Even with her full name, I still got different results.  On Google, I got links to accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.  They didn’t seem to be by her.

On Facebook , there were at least two accounts and I couldn’t decide which was the right one.  There just was not enough information available.  I must have more clues about her.

I re-started my online search by going to information that I could easily access.  The class site.

I read her four-hour challenge with Elissar Harati and her media diary.  In her diary, she wrote – “My coursework at Fletcher keeps me reading hard copies. I spent approximately 8 hours on offline texts (I’m including my Kindle in this, but that might be a stretch). This material is predominately made up of books and journal articles related to my research and coursework at Fletcher. I’m not sure if this offline consumption is driven by the environment of being in graduate school, but it certainly cuts into the news consumption time that I spend online and on current events. It’s interesting that while I do consume offline media, very little of that media is news; rather, it is longer magazine or academic articles or books [15].”

With these, I finally got leads that proved vital to my search.

I saw her on the Tufts University website, on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.  I couldn’t get her correct Facebook account.

Lesson:  Before performing a Google search, get as much information as you can about the subject online or offline.

I am happy to get all correct information in my online search and additional data from the video interview.