Nebraska in the national news: September 2017

Nebraska in the national news: September 2017

A New Yorker article on Willa Cather, an expert’s take on a chemical fire in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and a physicist’s role in an international project to find the source of cosmic rays were among about 40 national news stories featuring University of Nebraska-Lincoln experts and innovators in September 2017.

When New Yorker writer Alex Ross took a walk in Willa Cather’s prairie in an article posted online Sept. 28, he mentioned Cather scholars Melissa Homestead, English, who is working on a book about Cather and her relationship with her long-time partner Edith Lewis; and Andrew Jewell, University Libraries, who co-edited a 2013 volume of “The Selected Letters of Willa Cather.” The article also noted that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Willa Cather Archive will begin to publish Cather's complete correspondence online beginning in January, when her letters enter the public domain. The article appeared in the Oct. 2 print edition of the magazine.

Patrick Dussault, chemistry, explained why chemicals caught fire at the Arkema Inc. plant near Houston after Hurricane Harvey. The Sept. 1 story, by AP writer Seth Borenstein, appeared in 90 outlets across the country, including ABC News and U.S. News & World Report.

After an international group of physicists published research Sept. 22 showing that high-energy cosmic rays emerge from outside the Milky Way galaxy, Nebraska physicist Gregory Snow discussed the results with several science news sites from around the world, including in the U.K., The Verge and

Other national news coverage from September included:

BTN LiveBIG reported Sept. 19 on a multi-disciplinary Arctic climate change resilience project to be led by the university and Craig Allen, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research.

Big Ten Network and the Associated Press carried stories after homecoming king Shayne Arriola, marketing student, proposed to homecoming queen Laura Springer, communication studies, history and political science, during halftime of the Nebraska-Rutgers game. She said "yes."

The Bureau of Business Research appeared in U.S. News & World Report on Sept. 20. The magazine carrried an Associated Press report on Nebraska's leading economic indicators, which predicted slowing economic growth for the state in early 2018. The bureau produces the monthly report.

Reuters quoted Ken Cassman, agronomy, for a widely carried Sept. 27 report how rapid scientific advances have contributed to worldwide grain surpluses. Cassman warned that corn may now be approaching its maximum possible yields. The story was carried by CNBC, the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times, among others.

Jim Crandall, cooperative business development specialist, was quoted in a Sept. 26 Omaha World-Herald story about citizens who form cooperatives to keep grocery stores in rural towns and villages. The story was picked up by a number of outlets across the country.

Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies, discussed the exploding popularity of streaming, bingeing and niche channels – and what it means for the future of traditional TV – for a story that appeared Sept. 13 in the Akron Beacon Journal/ In a Sept. 7 report, Dixon discussed how “It” – an R-rated adaptation of Stephen King’s scary clown story – would revive theater box office revenues after an abysmal summer. The “It” story originated in the Omaha World-Herald and was picked up by other outlets outside Nebraska.

The National Drought Mitigation Center was cited in a Sept. 11 WQAD report about drought in eastern Iowa; by the News Tribune Sept. 22 about increasing drought risk in the Illinois Valley; by the Daily Chronicle Sept. 28 about lack of rainfall in DeKalb County, Illinois; by Arkansas Online Sept. 29 about the possibility of “flash drought,” and by FOX 59 Sept. 27 about desperately dry conditions in western and central Indiana.

Nebraska Extension’s “Incredible Wearables” project was mentioned in a story about Do-It-Yourself activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for children. The Brandpoint story began appearing Sept. 14 and was carried by scores of outlets during September. The National 4-H Council is part of a project to encourage community-based STEM learning for youth.

Kurt Geisinger, Buros Center for Testing, was quoted in a Sept. 12 Science article about how a survey creator has begun billing researchers who use his drug adherence scale as part of their studies.

The Advocate, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reported Sept. 18 that the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services was one of eight state child welfare agencies taking part in a workforce quality improvement project led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center on Children, Families and the Law. The story quoted Michelle Graef, Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development. The project was the subject of a favorable Sept. 27 editorial that appeared in Louisiana’s American Press.

The Associated Press quoted Jody Green and Jonathan Larson, extension entomologists, for a Sept. 11 story about an unusual influx of painted lady butterflies migrating through Nebraska in 2017. The story was carried by many outlets across the country.

Ronnie Green, chancellor, was quoted in a Sept. 6 story noting that University of Nebraska-Lincoln enrollment had surpassed 26,000 for the first time. Originating in the Lincoln Journal Star, the story was picked up by many outlets across the nation after the Associated Press distributed it. An Omaha World-Herald version of the story, which quoted Amber Williams, academic services and enrollment management, also was carried by a number of outlets nationally.

Several out-of-state outlets picked up a report about Nebraska architecture students using cross laminated timber to design a building for the South Sioux City Community Orchard. It was the first time the building technique had been used in Nebraska. The Sept. 9 story, which originated in the Sioux City Journal, quoted Jason Griffiths, architecture.

The Hillsdale Daily News in Michigan cited Alice Henneman, extension educator, in a Sept. 24 report on how to store and prepare fruits and vegetables.

A Sept. 5 Lincoln Journal Star story about President Trump’s decision to end a program for young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents quoted Annia Morin-Chavez, an accounting student, and Joe Zach, student body president. The story was carried by a number of outlets nationwide, as was a Sept. 11 Omaha World-Herald story that quoted recent university graduate Karina Ruiz-Vargas.

Digital distraction studies published by Barney McCoy, journalism, in 2013 and 2016 continue to receive media attention. The Kentucky Kernel cited McCoy’s work in a Sept. 6 report on technology in the classroom and the Worcester, Massachusetts, Telegram mentioned McCoy in a Sept. 30 report about school districts’ cellphone policies.

The Atlantic published an interview Sept. 18 with Max Perry Mueller, classics and religious studies, about his new book, “Race and the Making of the Mormon People.”

A Sept. 12 report about an organic Panhandle ranch quoted Jay Parsons, agricultural economics, about the business of raising bison for meat. The story, which originated with the Omaha World-Herald, continued to be picked up throughout the month by outlets nationwide.

John Porter, extension educator, explained the growing popularity of saving garden seeds from one season to the next in a Sept. 6 article by the Associated Press published by scores of news outlets throughout the month. They included the Washington Post, ABC and Toronto’s Metro News.

A Sept. 6 announcement that Amanda Ramer-Tait, food science and technology, would receive a young investigator grant for probiotic research was carried by many outlets across the country including Business Insider. The story originated with a PR Newswire release.

Kevin Ruser, law, and the Nebraska College of Law Immigration Clinic were mentioned in a Sept. 30 Associated Press report on law students’ growing interest in immigration law. The story, which originated in the Lincoln Journal Star was carried by a couple dozen outlets across the country.

Matt Waite, drone journalism laboratory, discussed the hazards of disobeying federal drone regulations for a Sept. 13 Oregonian/OregonLive story about two men who hiked into a wildfire site to obtain drone footage.

The Gray D.C. News Bureau, which serves news outlets affiliated with the Gray Television broadcasting company, highlighted the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities in a Sept. 13 report. Kay Walter, co-director of the center, received a phone call from “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda inviting her to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities-related event.

Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media are logged at
 If you have additions to this list or suggestions for national news stories, contact Leslie Reed at or 402-472-2059.