Detroit’s bankruptcy filing on July 18 has made the city a hot topic in global media. And while a Chapter 9 filing is traditionally viewed as a negative, it’s been nice to see several national media op-eds coming to Detroit’s defense. The bankruptcy has also resulted in national and international media calling on Wayne State University experts to comment on different aspects of the filing.
As a result, several Wayne State faculty members and the Wayne State name have been getting some nice exposure. A few examples include Jocelyn Benson, dean of the Law School, on MSNBC; Robin Boyle, chair of Geography and Urban Planning, on NPR; and Lyke Thompson, director of the Center for Urban Studies, in Bloomberg News. Faculty have also done interviews with media from Austria, China and the Middle East.
Those of us that live and/or work in Detroit know that while the city has countless problems, there are a growing number of reasons for optimism. As Charlie LeDuff, a reporter at Fox 2, points out in his recent New York Times op-ed, Wayne State is one of the reasons for hope.
Michigan becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state has generated a lot of questions and controversy, and Wayne State University experts have played a big role in clarifying things.
When word spread that lawmakers were likely to approve the legislation, the WSU public relations team of Tom Reynolds, Jessica Archer and Rasheda Williams quickly put together a tip sheet of experts that would be available to comment on it.
Those experts, Marick Masters, professor of business and political science; Mike Smith, an archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library and labor historian, Stephen Spurr, professor of economics; and Robert Sedler, professor of law, spent a good part of Monday night and all day Tuesday fielding questions from journalists around the country.
As a result, WSU experts were interviewed by CBS Radio, Bloomberg Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, Reuters, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Dayton Daily News and several Michigan outlets. Visit http://www.wayne.edu/today/inthenews to check out the stories.
All of the WSU experts went out of their way to accommodate reporters and as a result they helped to educate the public and enhanced Wayne State’s reputation around the country.
It’s common for media outlets to take a look at the year in review. The Office of Public Relations annually does a review of the year in media, and 2012 was another high-profile one for the University.
Wayne State saw a 17 percent increase in stories focused primarily, or exclusively, on the University from 542 (2011) to 637 (2012). These stories were often pitched or facilitated by WSU PR professionals.
The coverage extended from Detroit outlets to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Good Morning America to around the world.
Stories that generated the most headlines included Cynthia Bir, professor of engineering, crashing an airplane on the Discovery Channel; WSU’s plan to build a new $93 million biomedical research building; and a breakthrough study by Seetha Shankaran, professor of pediatrics, on the benefits of “cooling blanket” treatment on oxygen-deprived newborns.
As traditional media continues to shrink and evolve, it’s an ongoing challenge to land media coverage, so I believe growing our placements is an accomplishment. Moving forward, I’d like to request that everyone at Wayne State contact the public relations team whenever they become aware of good news so that we’re able to capitalize on every opportunity. To meet our team, visit http://media.wayne.edu/staff.php.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, I highly recommend watching the documentary Searching For Sugar Man. It’s the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a Detroit musician in the 1970s, who for whatever reasons didn’t make it big in the United States, but became the soundtrack for many South Africans in the anti-Apartheid movement.
His music is reminiscent of Bob Dylan, and to me, stands the test of time. However, the movie is about much more than just music. It’s an uplifting story of a man staying true to himself, even if things didn’t work out the way he may have hoped. And staying true to himself when they do.
I didn’t realize it at the time that I saw the movie, but Rodriguez is a Wayne State alumnus. He earned his degree in philosophy in 1981. He may have graduated a Tartar, but he is a Warrior.
The Warriors football team’s playoff run is creating some excitement on campus – and finally in the media. Detroit is a fantastic sports town. In fact, according to some national lists, it’s the best in the country. However, because the city has all four major league sports and several Division I programs in the area, getting attention for Wayne State’s Division II program can be a challenge. No matter how much it deserves it.
Our team has won back-to-back road playoff games in inclement weather against favored opponents to set a school record with 10 wins. And they’re still playing. On Saturday they’ll go on the road again to play Minnesota-Duluth, last year’s national champs, for a chance to play in the national semifinals. From there, they get to play for a national championship of their own.
Athletic director Rob Fournier and Jeff Weiss, associate athletic director for media relations, marketing and ticketing, and their team do a great job promoting Warriors athletics year round. But, in today’s sports world football is king. As a result, Wayne State’s program is getting some long overdue attention.
In just the last week, head coach Paul Winters and the team have been interviewed by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, the Mitch Albom Show on WJR-AM, the Craig Fahle Show on WDET-FM, local TV stations, and media outlets in Nebraska and Minnesota, where they have won games, among several others.
A win on Saturday will keep the attention coming. You can watch the game during a viewing party in the Student Center with a OneCard.
You may have seen the extensive media coverage on Sunday in the Detroit Free Press about the new Reading Works program. Wayne State is one of several community partners coming together through this alliance to improve the literacy rate of adults in our area. I was shocked to learn that up to 47 percent of Detroit adults are functionally illiterate.
When I first heard about this initiative I thought ‘well that sounds like a nice program,’ but it didn’t immediately hit me how important it really is. Think about what your life would be like if you couldn’t read. For starters, you probably wouldn’t have a job, or a least one that paid above minimum wage. You couldn’t help your children with their homework. You couldn’t read street signs, this blog or order off of a menu.
When you think about it, reading is really a ticket to participate in society. If someone can’t read they’re probably not paying taxes, buying a home or debating the politics of their community. They also don’t have the opportunity to savor some of the things I enjoy most: the morning paper, getting my Sports Illustrated on Thursdays, keeping up with friends on Facebook and books. Instead, the world is a complicated, confusing and frustrating place.
In the coming weeks you can expect to see more media coverage as the Reading Works Alliance works to raise public awareness and recruit volunteers. WDET, Wayne State’s public radio station, is committed to coverage through its news department, on its most popular shows and through promotional announcements. In addition, this week’s Michigan Chronicle is scheduled to run a story and WXYZ-TV (Ch. 7), WJR and Mix 92.3 are expected to devote time to the issue.
I plan to volunteer some of my time too, as a tutor. To join the fight against illiteracy, visit www.readingworksdetroit.org, or call 313-222-6515.
Last week Wayne State hosted a conference on campus about the role immigration can play in revitalizing Michigan’s economy. Approximately 500 people attended the conference which included a panel “Can Immigrants Save Detroit?” with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg via video teleconference, former Compuware CEO Peter Karmanos, and Detroit City Councilman Ken Cockrel, Jr.
During the keynote session, WSU President Allan Gilmour talked about how it makes no sense that Michigan universities educate thousands of foreign students that must leave the country after graduating because of unfriendly U.S. immigration policies. President Gilmour then introduced Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who spoke about how immigration was key to Michigan’s past successes and how it can be again.
The topic of immigration can be a divisive issue, but Wayne State was the ideal location to discuss the topic. What better place than a diverse University that’s playing a key role in economic development to debate this issue? The conference had a feeling of energy and importance, and I was glad that it was held at Wayne State.
Congratulations to Hayg Oshagan, Ph.D., associate professor of communications and the founder of New Michigan Media (a network of ethnic and minority media throughout the state), for organizing the event with partners from Global Detroit.
In addition to moving the discussion forward on an important topic, the conference garnered broad media coverage for Wayne State. Articles about the conference quoting President Gilmour ran in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Canadian Business and dozens of other media outlets around Michigan. A TV crew from Dan Rather Reports was also there and will air footage from the conference during a piece on immigration this fall.
A goal of the conference organizers is to eventually position Detroit and Michigan as the most welcoming city and state in the country. Based on feedback from media and other conference attendees, Wayne State already holds that distinction for universities.