Media Coverage Report: August 1 to September 30, 2011

There were around 242 news mentions about Saint Mary's College between Aug. 1 and the end of September. This summary report reflects SMC news clips from just prior to the start of the fall semester (a bit of catch up here) to the end of September 2011.

The clips are categorized into institutional news (which focus on the College's reputation), faculty in the news clips, alumni news (which includes news stories and career updates), news about SMC athletics, students in the news, SMC mentions (miscellaneous references to the College) and public safety.

Highlights during over the past two months included several news mentions about SMC faculty as expert sources. At the start of August, there was a drive-time KQED-FM radio commentary by School of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Woolpert on California's overcrowded state prisons. Woolpert’s expertise as a civil rights scholar was tapped a few weeks later by the Contra Costa Times for analysis on the controversy surrounding the Hollywood movie "The Help."

An evergreen story, KGO-TV’s news feature about the College’s Jan Term travel courses featuring Myrna Santiago and Shawney Anderson, first ran in May and had an encore in late August. The Catholic News Service interviewed Theology and Religious Studies Professor Brother Mark McVann and History Professor Brother Charles Hilken about the second academic and religious conference about the Virgin Mary in Modern World. And Global Business Expert Shyam Kamath offered insight on technology start ups for the radio outlet Voice of Russia.

In early September, a CNN online news article about Hip-Hop and the anniversary of 9/11 quoted Communications Assistant Professor Aaron Saachs. Additionally, around the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Contra Costa Times turned to SEBA Professor Barbara McGraw for insight on how the September 2001 terrorist attacks affected academia.

The month also saw a KGO News Radio interview with Politics Professor Hisham Ahmed on President Obama's UN address regarding Palestinian statehood. There was also a widely distributed brief news mention in the Metro — a free daily available in New York, Boston and Philadelphia— which quoted English Professor Rosemary Graham about recommended books for freshmen students.

Not surprisingly, in mid-August there were nearly 20 athletic news mentions surrounding the re-signing of SMC men's basketball coach Randy Bennett to a long-term 10-year contract with the College.

In the area of public safety, regrettably, two reported sexual assaults occurred on the campus during the month of September. Given the nature of the incidents, and the fact they occurred within two weeks of each other, media interest was very high. Around 50 news mentions were generated through media coverage.

However, as a result of the College’s focus on transparency, a student led rally to raise awareness against sexual assault (ably supported by the Women’s Resource Center’s Gillian Cutshaw and Sharon Sobotta), a consistent theme emerged in the overall news coverage which was Saint Mary’s was united in saying “no” to sexual assault.

It was also clearly articulated that the incidents were "relationship" acts of violence and there were no "institutional failures" in the College’s around the clock public safety service.

Importantly, stories that referenced the College’s history regarding sexual assaults a decade ago clearly reported on positive changes that have been made and commitments met at the College, such as the Women’s Resource Center and a 24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline.

For more information about media coverage of Saint Mary's College, please feel free to contact me.
Click here to view the report.