diversity digest
Spring 02
Media watch
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News clips from: CaliforniaSouth DakotaOhioPennsylvaniaNational
Editorial Outreach
Rules for Success

News Clips

California

Barbara Solomon, who recently won the Rosa Parks Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), was appointed to a newly created position at University of Southern California: Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity. The position was created because while diversity among students has grown, diversity among faculty has remained stagnant. Solomon advises the provost on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority faculty. According to a 1999 study by the James Irvine Foundation, less than 2 percent of USC's full-time professors are black, about 9.3 percent are Asian, and about 2.4 percent Hispanic. White faculty members comprise 81 percent of USC's full-time faculty members.
—"Ethnic minorities make up less than 20 percent of total profs at USC; numbers reflect nationwide trend," by Denise Oshodi, Daily Trojan, U. Southern California, April 1, 2002


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South Dakota

The five South Dakota tribal colleges—Oglala Lakota College, Sinte Gleska University, Sisseton-Wahpeton Community College, Si Tanka-Huron University, and Sitting Bull College—hosted the 21st Annual American Indian Higher Education Consortium Conference. More than 1,000 students, faculty and staff from the 33 tribal colleges around the nation attended the conference, pow wow, and banquet. Rick Williams, Lakota, president of the American Indian College Fund, states that tribal colleges are growing at a rate of about five percent per year. Enrollment at tribal colleges is growing quickly, and the institutions themselves are constantly improving. "We not only have improving facilities, we have access to resources that are allowing us to collaborate a lot more with our Indian communities. And tribal colleges are having a huge, huge impact on the tribal government itself," said Dr. James Shanley, president of Fort Peck Community College.
—"Number, Size of Native American Colleges in U.S. Continues to Grow," By Laura M. Dellinger Indian Country Today, April 5, 2002


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Ohio

As the search committee to replace Ohio State University president William E. Kirwan, garners feedback from others in the OSU community, it is becoming apparent that many want the new president to continue programs and hold ideas similar to President Kirwan. Under Kirwan's tenure, a Multicultural Center, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicities, and the World Media Center have been developed at Ohio State. Christine Ballengee-Morris, director of the Multicultural Center said, "There is a difference between someone who is for diversity issues and someone who works for diversity."
—"Many at Forum Support Kirwan's Programs," by Alice Thomas, Dispatch Higher Education Reporter, The Columbus Dispatch, May 7, 2002


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Pennsylvania

About 60 leaders in affirmative action attended a symposium titled, "Achieving Equal Opportunity and Diversity in Higher Education" at University of Pennsylvania on April 11, 2002. The importance of affirmative action programs in maintaining diversity in college admissions was the focus of the symposium. Egbert Perry, co-chair of the symposium said: "The intent is to raise the bar in conversation around diversity." Speakers talked about the importance of diversity to encourage liberal learning and the broadening of students perspectives and experiences. The symposium also included the voice of students, who argued that a significant portion of the burden to increase diversity on campus rests with the institution.
—"Speakers at U. Penn voice support for diversity in admissions," By Farouk Samad, Daily Pennsylvanian, U. Pennsylvania, April 12, 2002


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National

The Institute of International Education's Annual Open Doors census released in November 2001 reflected the growing number of international students flocking to US community colleges for education. Since 1993, growth of international students at US community colleges has increased by 50 percent compared with 21 percent growth of higher education enrollment in general. The affordable and high quality education offered by community colleges, as well as the use of the Internet for marketing purposes and increased overseas recruiting are cited as reasons for the increases. Recruiting internationally helps community colleges increase their diversity and revenue, while offering American students, who generally would not have the opportunity to study abroad, a global learning environment. Claudia Barerra, who studied at Bergen Community College in New Jersey, said: "I never interacted with people with different cultures as much as I have at Bergen. I've gotten to know people from different parts of the world, from Afghanistan to Africa."
—"More international students welcomed," by Tracey Wong Briggs USA TODAY, April 22, 2002, Monday, FINAL EDITION, SECTION: LIFE; Pg. 2D


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Editorial Outreach

One of the most widely read sections of the newspaper is the editorial page, where the newspaper declares its views on a range of issues, initiatives, and candidates. Used infrequently by academics and advocates, outreach to editorial page writers and editors can be a powerful tool. Before contacting a newspaper editorial staff, explore past editorials on relevant topics. A newspaper that is strongly against affirmative action may not be the best outlet to approach. However, most editorial staffs recognize their responsibility to consider the views of readers in the community, are relatively open, and will welcome your input. When approaching editorial staff:

  • Write a letter requesting a meeting. Include a short synopsis of the topic, why it is timely and interesting to readers, and who will attend the meeting (three or four people is best). Include concise, accessible background on the topic.
  • Follow up with a phone call requesting the meeting.
  • When the meeting is scheduled, ask whether you will meet with one editorial writer or the entire board. Do not be surprised if the education reporter is asked to sit in.
  • Plan your presentation. Decide in advance who will talk about what, the questions most likely to be asked, and how to handle them. Expect to be challenged. Frequently stress the need for a strong,timely editorial.
  • Bring materials for everyone who attends.
  • Send a thank-you note afterward, and continue to press for an editorial. Keep the editorial staff apprised of relevant new developments.


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Rules for Success

How to handle an interview with the media.

  • Know what the interview is about
  • Don't go into an interview cold. Find out why a reporter is calling, give yourself time to prepare, then call back.
  • Have a message
  • Once you know the subject of the interview, prepare three to five key points you want to make.
  • An interview is not a conversation
  • The media are your conduit to the public. Speak to the public, not the reporter. Be friendly, but remember that interviews are how reporters conduct business.
  • There's no such thing as off the record
  • An "off the record" comment may not be attributed to you, but that doesn't mean it won't appear in the paper or be used to confirm information.
  • Keep it simple
  • Nothing ruins an interview faster than long, complex explanations. If you want your message conveyed, be sure to say it simply.
  • Be brief
  • Practice answering questions in 20 seconds or less. Chances are, the reporter will use the first decent 20-second comment and skip much of the rest.
  • Tell the truth
  • Don't lie and don't guess.
Excerpted from the University of California at Irvine, Communications Office, Meet the Media Guide, 2001


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