Posts filed under ‘Penn Staters in the news media’
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a discussion group with eight other Penn State students talking about climate issues. It was part of a World in Conversation program, which encouraged us to be truthful. We talked about recycling and why it’s not a top priority for us. Our consensus: because recycling doesn’t incorporate instant gratification.
We care about eating healthy, for example, because we almost instantly see weight loss or improved health. But what actually happens when we take the time to separate our glass and plastic bottles to put them in the correct recycling containers? Are we making a positive impact on Earth by putting the Canyon Pizza box into the cardboard recycling bin?
And then, by coincidence, The Penn Stater editors asked me to attend the premiere of “Water Blues, Green Solutions,” a collaboration between Penn State Public Media and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. The documentary wasn’t about recycling per se, but it was a powerful depiction of the positive effects of caring about water. I believe the documentary was able to achieve this because the people who were involved in making it were just like so many of us. They weren’t completely versed on the details of green infrastructure or conservation of aquifers, either.
“I share my ignorance with others who don’t know about water,” director Frank Christopher told the audience. In the past, he’s worked on films about war, health care, and even Cirque du Soleil, but he thought that it was time to be responsible and communicate the urgency of why we need to think about how we use and protect our water sources.
Members of the Penn State Water Brigades, a club on campus dedicated to improving access to clean water and sanitation, had a table set up in the lobby of the theatre before the screening. The co-president of the club, junior Deidre Carlson, might have summed up the urgency of our water crisis best. Carlson said, “In the U.S., we have our own water problems, and they aren’t being addressed. We have issues in our own backyard.”
“Water Blues, Green Solutions” addressed this issue from multiple angles. The documentary leads viewers on a tour of four cities – Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio, and the Bronx, all of which are dealing with unique water dilemmas.
I lived in Philadelphia all summer and I didn’t know the city’s water department was beginning to implement green infrastructure until I watched the documentary. Portland, on the other hand, is already a leader in creating green projects and is serving as example to others. San Antonio’s water crisis might have been the most drastic: Droughts have plagued the area causing some lakes to almost completely dry up. The visual of a barely there lake puts the water crisis into context pretty fast. Perhaps the most optimistic view of green solutions was in the Bronx’s efforts of cleaning up the Bronx River, which created new jobs and opportunities for community members. In short, all of these cities are working with nature instead of against it. By doing so, they’ve created new jobs and saved lots of money. Green Solutions may not be instant but it is possible, present, and important.
It also helps that the documentary didn’t take a doom and gloom approach. It most certainly was not the PETA approach. You know, where they show you pictures of beaten animals to pluck on your heartstrings.
Instead, videographer Mark Stitzer ’02 took the approach of having individuals in the cities directly tell the audience their stories, including a teacher in Philadelphia conducting class on a new eco-friendly play ground and a woman in the Bronx enjoying her new job creating green infrastructure. I got a sense that people are taking away something positive from solving their water blues.
Those involved in the making of this film said their ultimate hope is for the documentary to create civic engagement and for it to urge people to seek their own green solutions for their water blues. The precursor to this project, another documentary titled “Liquid Assets,” reached every member of Congress. It’s just a matter of what people do with the knowledge.
If I took anything out of this film, it’s that you can transform sewage into water cleaner than what’s sold in a bottle. I’m just kidding. Not quite. No matter, this documentary teaches you many things about water that pertain to you and your everyday life a lot more than you think.
The broadcasting schedule of “Water Blues, Green Solutions” is updated weekly and is available here.
Kelly Godzik, intern
From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.
More than qualified: Penn State announced yesterday that Amr Salah Elnashai will serve as the new dean in the College of Engineering. Elnashai is currently head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his list of accomplishments is impressive. “The breadth of his expertise and international reputation will further Penn State’s position at the forefront of engineering education,” said President Rodney Erickson. Elnashai will begin his tenure on Jan. 13.
Good sports: Head trauma in professional sports has been big news lately, and Sports Illustrated is devoting two weeks to the topic on their NFL-specific blog, MMQB. You might recognize the names of two writers who contributed to the special report: We told you about sportswriter Jenny Vrentas ’06 this summer, when she scored the gig with SI; in her piece, she explores the latest in helmet technology. And Emily Kaplan ’13, a fantastic writer who also happens to be a former Penn Stater intern, covers how head injuries have impacted one Georgia high-school team. Way to go, Jenny and Emily.
Raising the roof: The big news around here yesterday afternoon: the announcement of the senior class gift. The HUB Green Roof Terrace is described as an “open-air terrace,” which will provide additional seating and a scenic view of Mt. Nittany atop the HUB-Robeson Center. The roof will offer some environmentally friendly benefits, as well. Check out our intern Maggie McGlinchy’s post for more info.
Snow no: After growing up in upstate New York, I’m no stranger to snow in October (or any other month, really). But coming off the past week of unseasonably warm temperatures around here, seeing even a tiny bit of the white stuff is jarring. Snow hasn’t hit State College yet, but Penn State Behrend students woke up to light dusting this morning, as evidenced by this photo, from the @psbehrend Instagram account. Something tells me we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
I first knew BJ Reyes ’95 as a fellow sportswriter at The Daily Collegian. A diminutive Filipino by way of Cleveland, he was a few years older than the rest of us due to the health problems—namely, cancer—that had forced him to postpone college (he’s battled diabetes most of his life, as well). He was also smart, funny, and a great guy to hang out with—the sort of friend around whom many of our most memorable college stories revolved.
Years ago, he moved to Honolulu and established himself as a pillar of Aloha State journalism—he’s currently a political reporter for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser—but we’ve managed to stay in pretty good contact, so I knew that he’d never completely shaken the myriad health problems, repeat surgeries, and related complications that he’d dealt with most of his life.
So it wasn’t a complete shock when (more…)
Steven Levy ’74g went to New Zealand to report his latest story for Wired—a tale of how Google is trying to bring Internet access to some pretty remote locations using a pretty wild scheme. It involves putting antennas into solar-power balloons and launching them into the stratosphere. Google calls the idea Project Loon, because it’s kind of crazy. But it just might work.
Levy writes that Project Loon could “provide Internet to a significant chunk of the world’s 5 billion unconnected souls, enriching their lives with vital news, precious educational materials, lifesaving health information, and images of grumpy cats.”
Levy’s story is accompanied by some cool photos of the project.
Tina Hay, editor
Nipson spent 38 years at Ebony magazine, the last 15 of those as executive editor. He started as an associate editor there in 1949 and was named editor in 1972, so he was on staff throughout an important time: the U.S. civil-rights movement.
He’s credited with expanding the magazine’s reach substantially during that time, according to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times: “By the time he retired … the magazine enjoyed national recognition and mainstream appeal for both its issue-oriented reporting and its cultural coverage.”
Nipson, a Penn State Distinguished Alumnus, grew up in Clearfield, Pa. He’s thought to be the first black student on the staff of the Collegian; he started there in 1936 and eventually was named assistant sports editor. He also ran cross-country for Penn State.
You can read more about Nipson at BlackHistory.psu.edu.
Tina Hay, editor
Best known as a respected baseball writer for Sports Illustrated, Tom Verducci ’82 also serves as a field reporter for TBS during the MLB playoffs. It was in his TV role Thursday night that Verducci ended up in the winning locker room following the Detroit Tigers’ divisional series victory over the New York Yankees. He was trying to interview pitcher Jose Valverde, who earned the series-clinching save for the Tigers. Here’s a look at the conditions Verducci was forced to work under:
There are many more difficult jobs in the world, and I’m sure Verducci knows how lucky he is. But I can tell you, having spent time in victorious NBA locker rooms during my own sportswriting days: Getting champagne in your eye stings like crazy.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Of the many obituaries today for Steve Jobs, two of the most relevant and (I’d imagine) widely read were written by Penn Staters. Ted Anthony ’95 was given the task of summing up Jobs’ life by the Associated Press, and it’s a great read. He leads with a memory of the day the Apple co-founder introduced the Macintosh to the world. “In dark suit and bowtie, he is a computing-era carnival barker—eyebrows bouncing, hands gesturing, smile seductive and coy and a bit annoying. It’s as if he’s on his first date with an entire generation of consumers. And, in a way, he is.” If you haven’t already, you can read the AP obit here.
Then there’s Steven Levy ’74g, who has spent much of his career documenting the innovation that made Jobs a tech icon and Apple one of the wealthiest companies—and arguably the most influential—on the planet. Levy now writes for Wired, and his obit gets right to the point: “It had taken a while for the world to realize what an amazing treasure Steve Jobs was. But Jobs knew it all along.” Levy’s piece is here.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Michael Weinreb ’94 is one of our go-to feature writers, and his terrific piece on Rosey Grier ’56 in our July/August issue (out in a few weeks) is a great example of why. Among Mike’s other projects (including books) is a new gig with Grantland.com, the big-deal, ESPN-affiliated sports and culture website that debuted earlier this week. Mike’s first Grantland piece is up today, and it’s loaded with Penn State references; one of those is of Mike sneaking away from the reception at a friend’s wedding years ago to watch the Nittany Lions play Wisconsin on a portable TV hidden in a coat closet.
That was my wedding, actually. On Sunday, I’ll be in Long Island to watch Mike get married; the bride-to-be is a Northwestern grad, but we approve of her anyway.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Back in March, we talked with Jeff Ballou ’90, deputy news editor for Al Jazeera English. At the time, AJE was attracting thousands of new viewers for its 24/7 coverage of the Egypt riots. Jeff explained how the positive attention was helping to dispel some of Americans’ misconceptions about the Arab network—and expressed his hope that the public would continue to embrace it.
An editorial in the May/June Columbia Journalism Review echoes Jeff’s thoughts. According to the article, Al Jazeera has earned an unfair “anti-American” label, and the hostility from cable systems—who are wary about picking up the network—is unwarranted. (Right now the only cable systems in the U.S. that offer AJE are in Washington, D.C.; Burlington, Vt.; and parts of Ohio.) Americans are hungry for this global perspective, claim the writers, and resistance is based on “racism and Islamophobia.” Check out the quotes from former Nightline reporter David Marash, who says AJE’s fair-minded reporting is “the model of television news coverage.”
Mary Murphy, associate editor
US News is out with a new ranking of the best diets, according to this story by Angela Haupt ’09, a Penn Stater who covers the health beat for that publication. A diet you may not have heard of, called the DASH Diet, turns out to be the best overall; it was developed by the National Institutes of Health and stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
The US News panel of nutritionists also liked the Mediterranean Diet, Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig, to name a few. Among those getting at least 3.5 stars out of a possible 5 was the Volumetrics Diet, developed by Penn State professor Barbara Rolls.
The experts rated the diets based on such factors as ease of following the diet, nutritional quality, safety, and effectiveness not only for weight loss but also against diabetes and heart disease.
There are other Penn State connections to the story: Penny Kris-Etherton, a distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State, was one of 22 experts on the US News panel. So was Sachiko St. Jeor ’80g, who got her Ph.D. at Penn State and is now at the University of Nevada-Reno.
Angela has a couple of related articles: one on how to stay on a diet (if you figure out how to do this, please let me know!) and one on the importance of including exercise in your weight-loss efforts.
Tina Hay, editor