Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

The Weekly Authority: 👉 A week of Pixel Watch leaks

From Pixel Watch to Android 13's public beta to Musk's Twitter purchase and more, get all the week's top tech news here.
By
April 30, 2022

⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 192nd edition here, with Pixel Watch leaks, Android 13’s public beta, Musk’s Twitter purchase, and more…

🍦 I’m enjoying the UK’s long Mayday weekend — hoping for some sunshine so we can have ice cream at the beach!

Popular news this week

Google:

Samsung:

OnePlus:

Apple:

Twitter:

  • Elon Musk will officially buy Twitter: For $44 billion, and it’s unclear how this will affect Twitter in the short-term and long-term.
  • Also, cybersecurity experts say Twitter could be more vulnerable to attack if Musk’s idea to make its tech open-source goes ahead, not to mention privacy concerns. Musk would potentially owe Twitter $1 billion if the deal falls through…
  • Plus, Musk’s ideas for increasing Twitter profits could involve monetizing your Tweets, and increasing celebrity interaction.

Space:

Elsewhere:

Movies/TV:

Gaming:

Reviews

OnePlus Nord N20 display in hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Features

Android 13 stock photos 10 1200x675 1

Weekly Wonder

This week, settle in for a bit of a long read.

I’ve just finished listening to the podcast Hoax’s episode “Jimmy’s World,” about 26-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning (and losing) Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke. In case you haven’t heard of her, her story’s a pretty interesting one.

Listen to this podcast and more on your favorite podcast app.

  • On September 28, 1980, Washington Post readers were greeted with artwork for a story entitled “Jimmy’s World.”
  • The story’s subtitle: “8-Year-Old Heroin Addict Lives For a Fix” made waves throughout the country.
  • But it later became one of the largest journalism scandals of all time, fake news that we like to think we’d be able to spot today, with all the technology we have at our disposal for fact and background checking…

From the original article:

Jimmy is 8 years old and a third-generation heroin addict, a precocious little boy with sandy hair, velvety brown eyes, and needle marks freckling the baby-smooth skin of his thin brown arms.

He nestles in a large, beige reclining chair in the living room of his comfortably furnished home in Southeast Washington. There is an almost cherubic expression on his small, round face as he talks about life — clothes, money, the Baltimore Orioles, and heroin. He has been an addict since the age of 5.

Shocking. But was any of it true?

Who was Janet Cooke?

Janet Cooke had worked as a reporter for The Toledo Blade for a little over two years when she wrote to executive editor Ben Bradlee, enquiring about a job at The Washington Post, attaching her resume and six articles she’d written for The Blade.

  • Bradlee was impressed that Cooke was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar in 1976 and offered her an interview.
  • Two weeks later, Cooke impressed everybody she met. She was an articulate, well-dressed, striking black woman who seemed ideal for the job, particularly given the pressures to hire women and minorities.
  • Cooke started work at The Post on January 3, 1980.
  • Everyone had been so impressed by her, that nobody could really remember carrying out anything more than a cursory check of her references.

Cooke began working for The District Weekly under Vivian Aplin-Brownlee.

  • Cooke wrote her first byline two weeks after she was hired — a story about a black beauty contest.
  • It wasn’t until February 21 that her first major article was published — a story about Washington’s drug-infested riot corridor, thrusting Cooke firmly into the drug reporting scene.
  • Cooke went on to write 52 more stories before “Jimmy’s World.”
  • But behind the scenes, she was known for her dramatic flair. She was conspicuous, wearing designer clothes and “consumed by blind and raw ambition.”
  • She even told others of her ambitions to win a Pulitzer Prize in three years and to be on the national staff in three to five years.

The story itself

Aplin Brownlee had heard talk of a new type of heroin on the streets. Cooke was sent to look into it, interviewing drug rehabilitation experts and social workers about heroin abuse in Washington.

  • Cooke amassed two hours of tape-recorded interviews and 145 pages of handwritten notes, which landed on the desk of Milton Coleman, who’d worked at the Post since May 1976 and had taken over the City desk on May 26, 1980.
  • By this point, heroin stories were running regularly, but when Cooke talked over the material with Coleman and mentioned an 8-year-old addict, he immediately knew it was a front-page story.

Cooke supposedly went on to have dinner with the heroin addict’s mother and visited their house, but nobody asked the boy’s or family’s name or address, and Cooke was promised confidentiality for her sources. She even claimed to have been threatened at knifepoint by the boy’s stepfather, and was sent to stay with another Post employee for two nights after the story was published.

The story’s details were extensive, with the first draft coming in at 13.5 pages long, describing the child, his clothes, and the family home in great detail. Somewhere along the way, everybody assumed Coleman knew who the kid was, but nobody ever asked about him.

  • When the story was published on Sunday, September 28, 892,220 copies of the paper ran “Jimmy’s World” on the front page.
  • Unlike today, when we could easily use the latest tech to check references, verify sources, and find out where this family lived, in the 1980s this was all taken at face value. There was no reason to debate whether this well-written story was true.
  • Readers were outraged and wondered what was being done to find the boy. The story was sent to Nancy Reagan, the nation’s first-lady-to-be, and letters came from all over the country demanding the police take action.
  • Washington Police Chief Burtell Jefferson launched a citywide search for “Jimmy” the day after publication, offering a reward of up to $10,000.

There’s a lot more to the story than we can get into here, but the podcast episode is the best place to dive deep…

Uncovering the hoax

  • One person never believed the story: Vivian Aplin-Brownlee said, “I never believed it, and I told Milton (Coleman) that. I knew her so well and the depth of her. In her eagerness to make a name she would write farther than the truth would allow.”
  • Others, including Coleman and Woodward, never doubted Cooke, even following another of her sensational stories about a 14-year-old prostitute.
  • When the paper was threatened with legal action, Coleman decided to visit Jimmy’s home with Cooke. A day later, Cooke claimed she’d gone to the house alone and found it vacant: the family had supposedly moved to Baltimore.
  • On April 13, 1981, Cooke was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Jimmy’s World.

It seemed Cooke had committed the perfect crime until she was exposed just two days later. After the editors of the Post discovered Cooke had lied about her academic credentials, they demanded proof of Jimmy’s existence.

On April 15, in an interview with David Maraniss, Cooke finally admitted that her story was fictitious and offered her resignation.

The Post, humiliated, returned the Pulitzer.

Podcasts are an amazing medium to explore stories like these. Don’t have a player of choice yet? Check out these great podcast apps. If you fancy yourself as a bit of an armchair sleuth, you might also want to check out our roundup of the best true crime podcasts

Tech Calendar

  • May 3: Blizzard reveals first Warcraft mobile game @ 10 AM PT
  • May 9-11: Qualcomm 5G Summit (San Diego)
  • May 11: Sony Xperia event @ 3 AM ET (Xperia 1 IV?)
  • May 11-12: Google I/O 2022
  • June 6-10: Apple WWDC 2022

Tech Tweet of the Week

how Elon gonna run all these companies pic.twitter.com/yR7awRGJ7e
— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) April 28, 2022

An interesting read from The Hustle: The surprising afterlife of used hotel soap

Enjoy the spring weather!

Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.