Ringtones Revisited

And here's a perfect example of how a story can start bouncing around the news business, even though, as you'll see, it's really meant for radio.

Audio is not available

On the front page of yesterday's New York Times, "A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears." It's about an invention from Britain called the Mosquito Teen Repeller, a device that sends out a high-pitched tone that most adults can't hear (audio). The intention was to disperse groups of teenagers with the annoying noise, but youngsters quickly figured out how to use the high frequency signal as a ringtone for incoming cell phone text messages. Kids in classrooms could hear the tones, but the older teachers couldn't.

Back on May 26, Melissa Block talked with the Mosquito's inventor and his 16-year-old daughter and played the tone for listeners. The New York Times doesn't mention the NPR story, but does refer to "British newspapers." ATC's Elizabeth Tannen says she found the story on the Web site for the U.K. tabloid Metro, a handy Web stop for a researcher on story patrol. The Associated Press had the story yesterday as well, with no attribution.

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