The public’s first glimpse of Willa Cather’s letters, a young Husker fan who ran for a touchdown and the identification of a giant prehistoric lizard were among the many stories that had the national media talking about UNL during 2013.
More than 270 separate national and international news items – translating into thousands of headlines and articles – that mentioned and featured UNL faculty, administrators and students were logged during the 2013 calendar year. That compares to 310 appearances in 2012, just over 200 in 2011 and just over 150 in 2010.
Many stories were carried by scores of outlets, generating thousands of headlines and articles across the globe. For example, the story about young cancer patient Jack Hoffman, who ran for a 69-yard touchdown during the Huskers’ annual Red-White Spring Game, was reported by more than 600 media outlets just during the first three days after it happened. Some of them: http://go.unl.edu/j9t | http://go.unl.edu/f0t | http://go.unl.edu/f0t | http://go.unl.edu/2zf
Following are highlights of the last year’s national news placements and appearances. The collection is maintained by University Communications and includes print, broadcast and online media. It was assembled throughout the year with the assistance of various media-tracking sources, including Universal Information Services.
To look back on month-by-month lists for 2013, click on the links at the bottom of the page. Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media dating back to 2009 also are logged at http://newsroom.unl.edu/inthenews.
Discoverers, innovators and agenda setters
These were the stories that had people talking: a giant lizard and an ice-bound sea anemone; a chancellor who chats about the Harlem Shake and “YOLO;” a researcher who works with Lady Gaga to stop bullying; a campus visit by Matt Damon; an eye-tracking studies that confirm men – and women – check out other women’s figures and a survey that found college students are seriously distracted by their digital devices in the classroom.
The National Drought Mitigation Center set the agenda on aridity, drought and climate change, with steady appearances in nationwide media throughout the year. Donald Wilhite, founding director of the center, appeared on a C-SPAN panel discussion Jan. 16 about drought and Brian Fuchs, climatologist, was quoted Feb. 22 in the New York Times about the lack of snowpack in the west.
Other outlets that drew upon Drought Center expertise included USA TODAY, The Associated Press, Iowa Farmer Today, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Farm Journal, LiveScience and PBS NewsHour. The U.S. Drought Monitor was the subject of a feature story in EdTech Magazine on June 20 about higher education and government tackling “Big Data.” At the end of the year, the center’s Al Dutcher was named a “champion of science” for questioning a state-funded study that would have prohibited scientists from examining the human role in climate change. http://go.unl.edu/gig | http://go.unl.edu/4bi | http://go.unl.edu/ryo | http://go.unl.edu/i43x
Susan Swearer, school psychology, an adviser to Lady Gaga’s anti-bullying campaign, appeared on Q13 Fox News in Seattle and in Rolling Stone in January. She discussed bullying in sports in April, after Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired in the wake of a video showing him abusing players during practice, and in November, after reports that Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito had bullied a team mate. She also was quoted in an Aug. 30 Los Angeles Times article offering advice to parents worried about bullying at school. http://go.unl.edu/twx | http://go.unl.edu/ye0r | http://go.unl.edu/o0r | http://go.unl.edu/29s
Jason Head’s identification of a giant, prehistoric plant-eating lizard – which he named in honor of rock star Jim Morrison, the “Lizard King” – was featured across the globe in June. Stories about the discovery appeared in CNN.com, NBC News, the Washington Post, the BBC, the Daily Mail (UK), the Telegraph (UK), the Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, Popular Science and dozens of other media outlets. http://go.unl.edu/4s6 | http://go.unl.edu/93c | http://go.unl.edu/r2d
The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and its co-directors, Katherine Walter, University Libraries and Kenneth M. Price, English, were touted in a Sept. 3 column in The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighting a national digital humanities conference held on campus in July. Matthew Jockers, English, and his text-mining-of-books research were featured by the Sunday Times of London Feb. 3. Jockers’ leadership of a new research collaboration with private company BookLamp, focusing on 20th-century works, was reported by the Associated Press later in February.** Stephen Ramsay**, English and a fellow at the Center, was quoted in a Sept. 3 Fast Company article about using algorithms to analyze literature. http://go.unl.edu/kmc | http://go.unl.edu/f7je
An eye-tracking study by Sarah Gervais and Mike Dodd, psychology, that broke down how both men and women check out women’s bodies also was covered by scores of outlets across the country in October, including USA TODAY, TIME, Jezebel, CBS News, the Today Show, and numerous TV news outlets. Earlier in the year, research by Gervais, Brian Cole, psychology, and Meghan Davidson, educational psychology, into body surveillance and body shame was featured in The Huffington Post. http://go.unl.edu/qiw | http://go.unl.edu/cpmd
John Hibbing and Kevin Smith, political science, stayed at the forefront of research into the links between biology, genetics and political orientations. POLITICO featured Hibbing on March 9. In an Aug. 12 NPR blog, Hibbing discussed whether Republicans and Democrats can make happy marriages. Later in the year, Hibbing and Smith appeared in several venues, such as the syndicated radio talk show “For Your Ears Only” to talk about their newly released book “Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives and the Biology of Political Differences.” Hibbing defended the research in November after “The Monkey Cage,” a Washington Post political science blog, questioned its utility. In December, both Mother Jones and The Huffington Post published pieces on politics’ biological roots. http://go.unl.edu/5w6 | http://go.unl.edu/xi98 | http://go.unl.edu/6rad
The publication of first-ever volume of Willa Cather’s letters – previously unpublished under instructions from the late author, who was reared in Nebraska – made headlines nationwide in March and April, with coverage continuing throughout the year. Andrew Jewell, University Libraries, was co-editor of the volume, later named by TIME magazine as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. Jewell and Guy Reynolds, English, appeared in several March articles about the work, including a front-page story in the New York Times, a feature story in The Chronicle of Higher Education and a three-page display in the April 5 Chronicle Review. Other articles and reviews appeared in The Atlantic Online, The Guardian, WNYC-New York, the American Spectator, the New York Daily News, the New Yorker, the New York Times Review of Books, Morning Edition with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, the Boston Globe, the New York Times Sunday Book Review and the Christian Science Monitor. http://go.unl.edu/vvc | http://go.unl.edu/hq0 | http://go.unl.edu/50j | http://go.unl.edu/jbs0
Chancellor Harvey Perlman generated much attention in March after his “Perls of Knowledge” social-media campaign went live. Coverage turned up in The Associated Press, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, The Huffington Post, Mashable and other media outlets. http://go.unl.edu/jnr | http://go.unl.edu/97x
Sheldon Museum of Art’s “Naked Museum” activities – which removed the artwork from the museum to highlight the building’s architecture as a work of art – was featured in the Wall Street Journal on May 8 and by the Associated Press on May 4. http://go.unl.edu/5xt
Dennis Molfese, psychology and director of UNL’s new Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior were featured in a July 4 article by The Associated Press that went nationwide. The Associated Press later covered the completion of the East Stadium addition and the Center on Aug. 22. Research by Molfese and the center was featured in a Nov. 3 TechKnow program on Al-Jazeera America. http://go.unl.edu/eh4 | http://go.unl.edu/r3p2
New discoveries in Turkey by Michael Hoff, art and art history, were featured in a Sept. 20 LiveScience article that was syndicated in a number of major publications. Hoff’s team, which uncovered a large mosaic in southern Turkey in 2012, found the head of an Aphrodite sculpture and a smaller temple mosaic in 2013. http://go.unl.edu/h4tc
Kwame Dawes, English, was interviewed by PBS NewsHour about the death of his family friend and fellow Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor in the terrorist attack on a shopping Mall In Kenya. Dawes was in Nairobi to meet with Awoonor at the time of the attack, because the University of Nebraska Press is to publish a new collection of Awoonor’s poetry as part of its new African Poetry Book series. Dawes also published several Wall Street Journal blog articles about the man he regarded as an uncle. http://go.unl.edu/89xz
A scientific survey by Barney McCoy, journalism, measured how often college students text in class. It generated coverage by scores of media outlets around the world. The story emerged on Oct. 18 and continued through November.
http://go.unl.edu/ovrf | http://go.unl.edu/u5d9
The discovery by UNL’s Frank Rack, Earth and atmospheric sciences, and colleagues of a species of sea anemone that survives beneath Antarctica’s ice sheets rounded out the year, earning coverage by New Scientist and UPI.com. http://go.unl.edu/htfq
UNL faculty established themselves as authorities on issues ranging from the life story of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to film-making trends to the status of U.S. patent law.
After former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel was tapped to become Secretary of Defense, national reporters sought out his biographer, Charlyne Berens, associate dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, for her expertise on the Nebraskan. http://go.unl.edu/s8p |http://go.unl.edu/hzn | http://go.unl.edu/rx9
Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies, served as a go-to source for reporters analyzing trends in the movie industry, with near monthly appearances in outlets ranging from PBS NewsHour to USA TODAY. He was quoted by Reuters in January about the persistence of horror films amid violent national tragedies; talked about the 2013 Oscars with PBS NewsHour, among others; and aided other outlets on stories about female-directed films of the 1950s, drive-in movie theaters, product placement, the predominance of franchise films in 2013 and why big-budget movies flop. http://go.unl.edu/d7p | http://go.unl.edu/2di | http://go.unl.edu/uv2
Matthew Waite, journalism, frequently weighed in on the changing world of drone journalism, commenting on regulatory efforts, an FAA grounding order and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ plan for drone package delivery. He also was interviewed about guns, maps and disturbing data for a Jan. 13 New York Times column and a Jan. 15 story about the New York State Legislature’s restrictions on gun permit data. http://go.unl.edu/78n | http://go.unl.edu/mde | http://go.unl.edu/smu
Richard Moberly, law, penned a June 11 op-ed for the New York Times about balancing secrecy and threats to national security in the wake of the Edward Snowden/NSA leak case. Moberly also was quoted by several other outlets on the topic. http://go.unl.edu/prq
Christal Sheppard, law, was quoted in the July 30 POLITICO about Apple Inc.’s “lone wolf strategy.” Sheppard spoke of her experience with the computer giant during her time as chief counsel for patents and trademarks for the House Judiciary Committee. She spoke to the Wall Street Journal Aug. 5 on how an Obama Administration decision in an Apple Inc. patent case could affect the patent wars between big technology companies. http://go.unl.edu/g7s | http://go.unl.edu/xkj
Dawn Braithwaite, communication studies, discussed family rituals and family reunions during a July 30 appearance on NPR’s national syndicated program, “On Point.” A Nov. 26 New York Times special section on the changing American family included Braithwaite’s observations on a growing phenomenon of “voluntary kin,” biologically unrelated individuals who self-identify as family. http://go.unl.edu/kt5 | http://go.unl.edu/xhq6
Matthew Schaefer and Frans von der Dunk, law, were among UNL’s space, cyber and telecommunications law faculty who were sought out for their expertise on matters of space law and space liability. In a July 31 Financial Times article von der Dunk discussed legal issues surrounding space tourism. In an Oct. 14 NerdWallet blog post, he discussed how insurance might cover space tourism. http://go.unl.edu/iwn
Authors and scholars
UNL faculty’s work in agronomy, physics, material science, biology, sociology, management – even a couple of thriller novels – made their way into 2013’s news columns.
Bridget Goosby, sociology, had her research into the pathways from childhood conditions to adult health outcomes featured by several media outlets in late February, including Yahoo! News, Psych Central and Science Daily. http://go.unl.edu/mym
In February, the National Science Foundation’s Discovery News highlighted research by Jinsong Huang, mechanical and materials engineering, about efficient, affordable and flexible solar energy materials. http://go.unl.edu/ses
Mary Bomberger Brown, School of Natural Resources, had her research on the evolution of cliff swallows to avoid traffic cited in numerous media outlets in Mid-March, including ScienceNews, NBC News and WIRED. http://go.unl.edu/wvk
A research team led by Yuris Dzenis, mechanical and materials engineering, discovered super strong and tough structural nanofibers, generating April coverage by Live Science, Fox News and NSF Science 360, among others. In December, Dzenis’ team was covered by Nanowerks and others for developing a method to add graphene to carbon nanomaterials, thereby improving their strength and performance. http://go.unl.edu/phu | http://go.unl.edu/6zhi
Peter Harms, management, was quoted April 17 by Inc. Magazine about his research into imagining the ideal co-worker – and how that might translate into finding extraordinary employees. In an Aug. 8 Salon.com blog post, Harms and co-author Ross Benes talked about how narcissism has shaped broadcaster Rush Limbaugh’s success. http://go.unl.edu/ssw | http://go.unl.edu/o9m
Sally Mackenzie, plant science, discussed her genetic plant research on an NPR Science Friday show in May about reinventing farming for a changing climate. Nature’s Aug. 22 edition highlighted Mackenzie as among scientists exploring new genetic engineering techniques that don’t trigger federal regulatory oversight. http://go.unl.edu/6pi
The mating habits of dark fishing spiders, as researched by Steven Schwartz, biological sciences, was featured in several national media outlets in mid-June, including WIRED, National Geographic, LiveScience and Jezebel. http://go.unl.edu/egh | http://go.unl.edu/rwj
Research by Jay Storz, biology, of hemoglobin of deer mice as related to specific variations of mutations, was featured in the June 13 issue of Nature. In December, The Christian Science Monitor reported about research by Storz and colleagues on hummingbirds’ adaptations to high altitudes. http://go.unl.edu/dko http://go.unl.edu/wzvr
Joy Castro, English, was interviewed July 7 by Texas NPR station KTEP and July 4 by Cosmopolitan for Latinas about her novel “Hell or High Water” and its follow-up, “Nearer Home.” http://go.unl.edu/cpj | http://go.unl.edu/jiq
Evidence of an early Jurassic earthquake, found in Utah’s Zion National Park by David Loope, Earth and atmospheric science, was featured in an Aug. 24 LiveScience article.
A Sept. 6 article by the Associated Press detailed efforts by Carrick Detweiler and Sebastian Elbaum, computer science and engineering, to use drones to collect water samples for research. http://go.unl.edu/4y6b
Scott Stoltenberg, psychology, led a study that found a genetic link between anxiety and people’s willingness to help others. It was covered in October by the Huffington Post, Discovery and Medical News Today, among others. http://go.unl.edu/af3z
News that UNL researchers have developed a way to generate synchrotron X-rays using a compact but powerful laser was reported by Phys.Org on Nov. 24, Photonics.com and Zee News on Nov. 25 and Nature World News and BioOptics World on Nov. 26. Donald Umstadter, physics and astronomy and director of the Diocles Extreme Light Laboratory at UNL, said the development can make research-quality X-rays more readily available to science, medicine and homeland security. http://go.unl.edu/42q9
A UNL research team led by Kenneth Cassman and Patricio Grassini, agronomy and horticulture, and Kent Eskridge, statistics, found that yields for key cereal crops appeared to have reached their maximum on about 30 percent of the world’s crop land. The study received coverage in December by NBC News and several national agriculture and food processing publications. http://go.unl.edu/5i8y
Athletics, academics, and campus life
Some of the steps UNL has taken to become a better university also attracted national attention.
The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources plan to hire 36 new tenure-track faculty was highlighted in a Feb. 15 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, quoting Ronnie Green, IANR vice chancellor, and Ron Yoder, IANR associate vice chancellor. http://go.unl.edu/avm
After he was named chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee in March, Chancellor Harvey Perlman often was quoted on the status of NCAA efforts to address challenges facing major university sports programs. Josephine Potuto, law, former chairwoman of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, was interviewed Aug. 5 by the New York Times about the potential fall-out from an investigation whether Heisman winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing autographs. In September, Potuto was interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education about her support for changes that would provide more money to some student athletes. http://go.unl.edu/ayt | http://go.unl.edu/rn5
Susan Poser, dean of the College of Law, was quoted in the National Law Journal in March about the college’s big jump in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings. http://go.unl.edu/nbp
Sadid Carillo, a senior accounting major, was quoted about managing unexpected personal expenses in college for a June 19 US News & World Report article. http://go.unl.edu/mp5
Joe Teplitsky, an English and journalism major, discussed his experience as music director of UNL”s KRNU radio station, in a July 11 USA TODAY story. http://go.unl.edu/3hg
The opening of the Phi Theta Kappa fraternity house, which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, was covered by Inside Higher Ed on Aug. 28. It is part of a national trend toward more faith-based housing on public campuses. Rev. Robert Matya, Newman Center chaplain, was quoted in a Sept. 3 Wall Street Journal article about the trend. http://go.unl.edu/jq6 | http://go.unl.edu/j9kt
A new agreement between UNL and Bayer CropScience to develop new soybean varieties was reported in August by Yahoo! Finance and other outlets. http://go.unl.edu/gti
The return of “Black Elk Speaks” to the University of Nebraska Press after a five-year absence was reported by Inside Higher Ed on Oct. 1. http://go.unl.edu/ggyd
Here are links to monthly reports of UNL’s national news coverage in 2013:
Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media are logged at http://newsroom.unl.edu/inthenews. If you have additions to this list or suggestions for national news stories, contact Leslie Reed at email@example.com or 402-472-2059.