American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop and msnbc.com teamed up again to release new anaylsis about the health of U.S. banks. The project, a continuation of BankTracker—which the Workshop and msnbc.com first launched in March—found that banks saw troubled loans increase during the first quarter of 2009. Six out of every 10 banks in the U.S. were less well prepared to withstand their potential loan losses than they had been at the end of 2008. The analysis relies on information reported through March 31 by banks to the FDIC. The information was used to calculate each bank's troubled asset ratio, which compares troubled loans against the bank's capital and loan loss reserves. Bill Dedman, author of the msnbc.com BankTracker coverage, wrote: "The ratio was devised by Wendell Cochran, senior editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop. A former business reporter, Cochran may have been the first journalist to create this measure of bank health. He did that while covering banking for the Des Moines Register in the early 1980s. Cochran now teaches journalism at American University." (6/11/09)
Faculty & Quotes
And in other news, AU's community contributed to the national discussion on politics, global and other issues:
What Did He Say?
Lauren Feldman, a communications professor, was quoted in a Politico story about late-night talk show host David Letterman’s recent remarks about the daughters of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Feldman said that Letterman has been more "serious and incisive" when interviewing politicians than he has in the past, and that studies conducted during the 2000 election show that Letterman also "tended to be sympathetic toward political guests, throwing them softball questions that rarely dealt with substantive policy issues." This story was picked up by 9 news outlets, including the Pioneer Press, NBC.com and 6 NBC news affiliate sites, including Dallas, Chicago and New York. (6/12/09)
A Healthcare Reform Solution?
James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, was quoted in a Thomson Reuters story about Senator Ted Kennedy’s healthcare reform plan. "Kennedy is critical to passage (of healthcare legislation)," he said. "That doesn't mean a bill wouldn't pass without him. Other people are involved. But he's the key. He knows more about healthcare than anyone else in the Senate, he's widely respected by both parties and is one of the most important senators in history." This article was picked up by more than 50 news outlets, including Forbes, the Washington Post and the Ottawa Citizen. (6/8/09) )
Allan Lichtman, a history professor, was a guest on MSNBC’sMorning Joeto discuss President Obama's recognition of the anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy invasion during World War II. “The other day in Cairo, Barack Obama's mission was to reach out to a skeptical audience,” he said. “His mission in Normandy was to, of course, evoke American patriotism. World War II in a sense was the last war of clear, noble purpose and clear objectives and the last declared war by the congress of the United States and is thus such an important touchstone for American policy as well as American patriotism.” (6/6/09)
Gossip Losing Its Juice?
Joseph Campbell, a journalism professor, was quoted in a New York Times online story about the evolution of news fueled by rumors. “It was far more freewheeling than they are today,” he said of news and gossip in the newspapers during the late 1800s, adding that many newspapers today are more aimed at credibility than hearsay. “It may have meant some of the newspapers lost a lot of their pizazz,” he said. (6/7/09)
Judging the Potential Judge
Stephen Wermiel, a law professor, was quoted in a Salt Lake Tribune story about Senator Orrin Hatch’s influence on United States Supreme Court nominations. “Hatch, like just about everyone else who has been in a Senate Judiciary leadership position, has his own ax to grind,” he said. “We've seen Hatch over the years play different roles. He's a very effective time out senator, where he asks a Republican nominee some easy questions giving the nominee a chance to catch his or her breath, and take a break from the inquisition. When it's a Democratic nominee, he's been a very effective questioner.” (6/7/09)
No Father, No Worries?
Nancy Polikoff, a law professor, was quoted in a Dallas Morning News story about the pros and cons of children raised by single mothers. “It is no tragedy, either on a national scale or in an individual family, for children to be raised without fathers,” she said. (6/12/09)
Spying for Cuba
William LeoGrande, dean of the School of Public Affairs, was quoted in a National Post story about an American couple accused of working as spies for Cuba. "Cuba and the United States have had an antagonistic relationship for 50 years, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they spy on one another,” he said. “Today it would seem that Cuba is much less of a threat to American security, especially given that the country's major communist patrons are now defunct. But Cuba was an important player on the world scene. They were sending tens of thousands of troops to Africa; they supported revolutionary movements in Latin America and trying to lead the non-aligned movement and lead [it] toward [the] Soviet bloc. These were all real issues for the United States."(6/11/09)