University of California Praises Hill & Knowlton

The University of California (UC) has dismissed objections by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union to UC management's hiring of Hill & Knowlton to spin its labor record. UC's Executive Director of Systemwide Labor Relations, Howard J.


Hogging the Picture

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company has arranged a deal with the film school at the University of California-Santa Barbara that recruits students as cheap labor to make Harley ads in the form of "short sponsored videos for online media or for downloading to other digital media platforms such as cell phones, iPods, and PDAs." Under the terms of the "partnership," students submit proposals to Harley-Davidson, describing the type of video they plan to make. If approved, the company pays a stipend of up to $1,200 for each proposal, and a prize of $5,000 to the winner.


The FCC and Armstrong Williams' Continuing Legacy

There are many reasons why federal investigations might take some time to conclude. Perhaps the issues are complex. Maybe the parties under investigation are less than forthcoming. The investigating agency may lack the resources needed to resolve the matter in a timely fashion.

Armstrong WilliamsOn the other hand, a stalled investigation may be part of a crisis management strategy. When an embarrassing ethical or legal transgression surfaces, launching an investigation sends the message that the matter is being taken seriously. Thanks to a rapid news cycle and a lack of follow-up reporting, public attention shifts elsewhere as the investigation continues. Closing the investigation can be seen as counter-productive, as it once again calls attention to the problem and creates the expectation that the findings will be acted upon.

Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.) may well have been pondering such matters on March 14, when he pointedly asked Federal Communications Commission Chair Kevin Martin about the status of the agency's ongoing Armstrong Williams investigation.

Embracing Wikis to Turn College Students into Public Scholars (Using Congresspedia)

Under the old, "broadcast" model of journalism and academia, undergraduate students were generally limited to consuming the scholarship of others while their own research and writing was largely confined to practice exercises. Now Congresspedia is engaging students in the new, participatory model of media and society by publishing their writing on the wiki rather than having it collect dust in a file drawer somewhere. As part of this project (our Student Editor Program), I met last week with the students of Prof. Phil Tajitsu Nash's Asian Pacific Americans and American Public Policy class at the University of Maryland. Prof. Nash's students are engaged in a fascinating research project on the movement for redress for Japanese Latin Americans who were put in internment camps during World War II. Despite enduring similar conditions to US-based Japanese Americans, they were exempted from the redress bill President Reagan signed in the 1980s.

Want Your Own Educational Radio Station? Here's Your Chance

"The Federal Communications Commission will accept applications for new full power non-commercial educational (NCE) FM radio station licenses sometime this year, perhaps in late spring," writes Carmen Ausserer. "Typically, the FCC gives between one and three months notice before opening the filing window, which will likely last only five days." The process will end a six-year FCC freeze on new full-power licenses.


Drug-Free Medical Education For Doctors

Medical researchers at George Washington University have launched a new website, PharmedOut, which is designed to help doctors "identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices." It also provides links to over 100 continuing medical education (CME) courses that have been developed without drug industry funding.



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