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The New York Times

In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, Alfred Ironside, the MIT vice president for communications, addresses the necessary role staff play at MIT. “At MIT, the research and education enterprise requires far more to thrive than our outstanding faculty alone,” writes Ironside. He adds that the Institute’s staff are essential to “running a top-flight research organization where breakthrough discoveries and innovations provide continuous service to the nation.”

Scientific American

MIT researchers have found that lawyers prefer, and better understand, simplified texts, rather than legalese, reports Jesse Greenspan for Scientific American. “The researchers presented 105 U.S. attorneys with contract excerpts written in both “legalese” and plain English and tested their comprehension and recall for each,” explains Greenspan. “While the attorneys outperformed laypeople overall, they still found the legalese contracts harder to grasp than those written in plain English.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Emily Bobrow spotlights Laurel Braitman PhD '13 for her work teaching writing and communication skills to healthcare workers. “We need people who are trained in science and medicine to be able to tell stories about what matters in public health in a way that makes people listen,” says Braitman. “But to do that, they have to be in touch with what they really feel.”


Researchers at MIT have found that lawyers “have an easier time remembering legal documents written in simple English over those filled with so-called legalese,” reports Ed Cara for Gizmodo. “On average, for instance, lawyers scored 45% on a test that asked them to recall documents written in legalese, compared to the average 38% scored by nonlawyers,” explains Cara. “But the lawyers’ score also increased to over 50% when they were given the simplified version.”  


Writing for Forbes, senior lecturer Bill Fischer highlights lessons from the late pianist Ahmad Jamal on leadership and communication. “As a result, there are leadership lessons to be learned from the great jazz-masters, and in the case of delivering a message, or sharing ideas, Ahmad Jamal’s lessons are well-worth paying attention to,” writes Fischer.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Kevin Lewis spotlights a new study by MIT researchers that explores why it is often so difficult to comprehend the language in legal contracts. “In other words, what sets lawyers apart from laypeople is not necessarily their greater familiarity with legal concepts,” writes Lewis. “It’s that they’ve been trained in how to handle such esoteric language.”


Forbes reporter Derek Newton spotlights Nwanacho Nwana '20, co-founder of education startup Valfee, a communications program aimed at engaging students with public speaking skills. “We truly believe that feedback-based learning is optimal for long term growth, and that the future of student learning is gamified,” Nwana tells Newton.


NPR’s Laurel Wamsley speaks with Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT’s Center for Civic Media, about how to create a better social network. Zuckerman, reports Wamsley, thinks a decentralized structure is part of the answer and says the algorithm that sits behind the news feed is ripe for reinvention.

New York Times

In a New York Times article, Amy Carleton, a lecturer in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing program at MIT, writes about her decision to donate one of her kidneys to her stepfather. “It was his quiet support for all of those years that kept me afloat, even if he often stayed in the background,” Carleton writes. 

Boston Globe

Miro Kazakoff and Kara Blackburn, lecturers in the Sloan School of Management, have surveyed incoming MBA students for a glimpse at future workplace communication trends, reports Sophia Eppolito for The Boston Globe. “What we wanted to do in creating the survey was to get a sense of people who are just coming out of the workplace right now and seeking further training,” Kazakoff explains.


CSAIL researchers have developed an artificial intelligence system that can reduce video buffering, writes Kevin Murnane for Forbes. The system, “adapts on the fly to current network and buffers conditions,” enabling smoother streaming than other methods.   


In an NPR article about the difficulty of dispelling political rumors, Danielle Kurtzleben cites a study by Prof. Adam Berinsky that shows trying to correct political myths may only entrench them further. 


CIO’s Sarah K. White talks to Bhaskar Pant, executive director of MIT Professional Education, about how cultural differences in the workplace can impact communication. Pant explains that there has been an “explosion in the ability to communicate with people across borders with such great ease."


Brian Barrett writes for Wired about the new system CSAIL researchers developed to increase the speed at which websites load. “When there’s a lot of objects on the page, that’s where Polaris can really help, because it’s important to prioritize some over the others,” explains graduate student Ravi Netravali. 

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Dave Gershgorn writes that MIT researchers have developed a new system that cuts down on the amount of time it takes for webpages to load. The system allows browsers to download web pages "more effectively, saving up to 34 percent of load time.”