Posts filed under ‘Penn Staters in the news media’

Rod Nordland’s Islamabad Adventure

ImageRod Nordland ’72 has seen a lot in his journalism career, and been exposed to plenty of danger: He’s spent more than three decades abroad, primarily covering conflict—in places like Iraq, Chechnya, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. In fact, he’s wearing a bulletproof vest in our March/April 2005 cover photo (left); at the time we profiled him, he was working for Newsweek as its bureau chief in Baghdad.

Nordland, now a New York Times correspondent, traveled to Islamabad, Pakistan, earlier this week—and quickly wound up in the hospital, a victim of poison gas. But it was not at all the kind you might think. In an online article, Nordland recounts, with a good bit of humor, the situation at his hotel that led to his hospitalization. It’s a good read, and an enjoyable counterpart to the much more sobering tales of war that he also tells so well.

Tina Hay, editor

November 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

NYC Loves These Penn State French Fries

Actors have the Oscars. Athletes have the Olympics. As for food trucks and street fare vendors in major cities? Well, they have the Vendy Awards.

Many compete; few win. But this year, a panel of celebrity judges voted a trio of Penn Staters—and their French fry food stand, Home Frite—as the 2015 choice for best market fare in NYC. (Other Vendy categories: Best Dessert, Best Drink, Rookie of the Year, and People’s Choice.)


       Photograph by Crystal Lingle

This is awesome news for the company—Ian Vernon ’07, Crystal Lingle ’11, and Maxwell Hawk ’15—that launched just a few years ago. “A Belgian frite with a Brooklyn vibe” is the concept behind the hand-cut fries paired with gourmet dipping sauces. The fries, which you can get in a range of flavors from truffle to boardwalk, are served in a paper cone with an adorable pocket for the sauce (think: lemon garlic aioli, curry ketchup, and peanut satay). Since the Vendy Awards, they made fries on the Rachael Ray Show, received Instagram praise from Bethenny Frankel, and were interviewed for Oprah. “Winning the award was a true honor and a great way to be recognized for all of the hard work that we do,” says Lingle. “While it’s a simple idea, there is a lot you can do to wow people.”

While I’m sure Penn State transplants love to find Home Frite stands in East River and Prospect Parks on the weekends, whaddya say you pack up and head across I-80 for a little road trip? I’m sure you could also find a nice little home on College or Beaver Ave. (TIA!)

Amy Downey, senior editor

September 28, 2015 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — April 16, 2014

Screen-Shot-2014-04-15-at-10.26.01-AM-580x348Herb Hand Pizza Crawl! I have no idea what kind of an offensive line coach Herb Hand is, although we’re soon going to find out, given that the Nittany Lions barely have enough linemen to fill a two-deep. But there’s no doubt that the guy is a social media genius. Hand tweeted in February about stopping at Canyon Pizza for lunch. This understandably shocked the Penn State corner of Twitter, many of whom had no idea Canyon served food before, oh, 11 p.m. or so. Soon everyone was tweeting their favorite pizza places at Hand, and then Onward State got involved, and now there’s a glorious result: the Herb Hand Pizza Crawl. For $20, on April 27 you can accompany Hand and, as Onward put it, “explore the State College pizza scene.”

You also get a limited edition T-shirt, which I very much hope looks like the logo (above) I borrowed from Onward State’s website, and the proceeds go to Uplifting Athletes and Bands 4 RAINN. I imagine this will fill up soon, so if you’re interested, sign up quickly.

Dare I hope that the next such charity event is a James Franklin Balloon Party?

Good writing alert: If I’ve got a “coaching tree,” consisting of the young journalists I’ve mentored when they were students, among the most excellent branches are Jenny Vrentas ’06 and former Penn Stater intern Emily Kaplan ’13, who are colleagues at Sports Illustrated‘s MMQB website. So when Jenny tweets a story written by Emily, I click. This morning’s offering is a piece that uses the upcoming film Draft Day as a look at female executives in the NFL. Spoiler: Real life isn’t quite as it’s portrayed in the movie.

Ready for prime time: The Nittany Lions are going to get significant exposure in prime time this fall: The Ohio State game on Oct. 25 will start at 8 p.m. That caps an odd October for the team, which has two off weeks (Oct. 4 and 18) and two prime-time games. The game at Michigan on Oct. 11, as previously announced, will begin at 7 p.m.

Lori Shontz, senior editor




April 16, 2014 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Getting Serious About Conserving Water

Videographer, Mark Stitzer focuses on a heron in Tanner Springs Park, Portland.

Videographer Mark Stitzer focuses on a heron in Tanner Springs Park, Portland.

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.”

Diedre Carlson of Penn State Water Brigades at the premiere.

Diedre Carlson of Penn State Water Brigades at the premiere.

“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.

Stitzer captures shots of Greenfield Elementary School in Philadelphia, one of the first schools to adopt a self-sustaining green play ground.

Stitzer captures shots of Philadelphia’s Greenfield Elementary School, one of the first schools to adopt a self-sustaining green play ground.

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

February 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 24, 2013

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.

Via Instagram @psbehrend

Via Instagram @psbehrend

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

October 24, 2013 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

My Friend, the Bionic Reporter

1240246_10151878891834664_1073070009_nI 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…)

September 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Launching the Internet—by Balloon

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

June 17, 2013 at 9:52 am 3 comments

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