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Media Relations

AU in the Media: 4/3/09

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On March 30, American University launched a new, redesigned Web site featuring interactive, multimedia capabilities that provide dynamic content with state-of-the-art Web 2.0 communication. The site features tagged and linked content including news, success stories and profiles, site-wide global navigation, a virtual campus tour, user-generated content through a wiki system called AUpedia, and a university master calendar. The announcement of the new site was picked up by more than 170 online news outlets, including, and more. In addition, the site received a rave review from and the public relations efforts surrounding the launch were cited in a case study in Washington Examiner's PR column. (3/31/09)


Other Features

A professor who focuses on personalized education experiences for students and the diversity of our faculty, staff, and student body was featured in two national publications:

Journalism Abroad

Bill Gentile, an artist-in-residence with the School of Communication, was featured in a Variety Magazine story about his experience while traveling in Afghanistan to shoot a documentary for PBS while teaching a summer course online via a special "Backpack Journalism Abroad" class. "I was giving them the whole nine yards about the difficulty of working in severe conditions, the importance of the story I was following, the state of morale of the Marines. All of the things they can't get in the classroom, I'm sending back to them," Gentile explains. (3/26/09)

Health Coverage Upgrade

Sara Bendoraitis, director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center, was featured in an Inside HigherEd story for American University's work to place the AU at the forefront of a movement to provide faculty and staff health care coverage for the transgendered. The article also highlighted the university’s inclusion of gender identity in its nondiscrimination policy. “It took a solid four years to really get this conversation started,” she said, adding that the university negotiated its policy to provide coverage to transgender employees, resulting in seven new procedures being included in the policy, and is looking into providing the same coverage for students. (3/30/09)

Faculty, Programs, & Quotes

And in other news, AU's community contributed to the national discussion on media, politics and global issues:

Blocking the Virus

Cathy Hubbs, chief information security officer, and Eric Weakland, director of information security, in AU's Office of Information Technology were featured in a WUSA-CBS 9 television segment about the campus’s protection from Conficker, a computer virus threatening cyber security. “[Our health-screen] system checks every computer on campus before a person is allowed online,” she said. “It makes sure that their browser and their software are all patched and up to speed. So in the scope of things, Conficker is not that scary because we've put a lot of protections in place.” (4/1/09)

A New Age of Media

The School of Communication hosted An American Forum a panel discussion during which journalists addressed the state of the media in the Internet age and Susan Jacoby's controversial book The Age of American Reason. Panelists also looked at whether the explosion of Internet media is largely responsible for the “dumbing down” of America. Communication professor Danna Walker was the moderator for the event, which aired LIVE on WAMU 88.5. (4/1/09)

Smart Choice Picks

James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, was quoted in a Washington Post story about President Obama’s choices for current administration jobs. "Part of [Obama's] tactic of governing is that he's reaching out to the Hill and trying to bridge the separation of powers," he said, adding that those selected have previous relationships on Capitol Hill that will benefit the administration. (3/27/09)

Reshaping the Auto Industry

Allan Lichtman, a history professor and an expert on the presidency, was quoted in a Chicago Tribune story about the Obama administration’s plans for the auto industry. “Obama's actions are consistent with the pattern of presidents acting during economic crises," he said. "And it's absolutely consistent with patterns of presidents intervening to make sure major components of the economy don't fail." (3/31/09)

Middle East Stabilization

In his opinion piece for the Huffington Post, Akbar Ahmed discussed his concern for Obama’s plans for Afghanistan. “Obama laid out a persuasive argument--something that I had been doing for several years--that in order to stabilize Afghanistan, its neighbor Pakistan had to be stabilized,” he wrote. “Obama must encourage the Pakistani government to stabilize law and order at the district level, the basic unit of administration. This can be done by revamping the civilian administrative structure in the tribal areas and districts of Pakistan.” (3/28/09)

Bring Back the Big Headlines

W. Joseph Campbell, an associate professor, was featured in a Slate story about “yellow journalism,” downplaying legitimate news in favor of sensationalism in order to sell more newspapers, as he discussed in his 2001 book, Yellow Journalism: Puncturing the Myths, Defining the Legacies. “It will come as no surprise that Campbell argues in both books that 1) yellow journalism doesn't deserve its bad rap and 2) that modern journalism has absorbed much from yellow journalism's look and techniques,” writes reporter Jack Shafer. “The difference, Campbell notes, is that the yellow journalists imposed solutions from above while the civic journalists strove to percolate agendas from the ground up.” (3/30/09)