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Archive for June, 2011

A look at UNL, from Big Ten eyes

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Back in April, Mike Carmin and John Terhune of the Lafayette Journal and Courier came to campus to get their arms around UNL as it entered the Big Ten Conference. With less than a week to go before the Big Switch, we’re finally seeing the results of their time here in Lincoln.

It’s quite comprehensive coverage — and UNL, the Cornhuskers and their fans, as well as Lincoln and Nebraska as a whole are treated well in Carmin’s and Terhune’s work.

Here’s a quick recap and a few links:

Passion. Loyalty. Pride: The Big Ten welcomes Nebraska, a university with serious intentions and deeply devoted followers.

Nebraska 101: The Big Ten’s newest member packs athletics, friendly people and good food in a comfortable university setting.

At Nebraska, the student-athlete is just that: About UNL’s achievers on and off the fields and courts, how UNL leads the nation in Academic All-Americans and a discussion of the academic support student-athletes receive.

An eclectic little district: Terhune takes a look at the historic Haymarket district. Check out his audio slideshow, as well.

Not just a football school: A look at the athletic department beyond the imposing footprint of the football program. Carmin and Terhune were lucky enough to be in town when NU hosted Iowa in baseball at Hawks Field.

Blue collars, red uniforms, rabid fans: A look into Bo Pelini’s Huskers at they prepare for the school’s first season in the Big Ten.

Goodbye Big 12 … hello Big Ten: Nebraska’s athletes have relished competing against Texas, A&M, Mizzou and KU but are eager to see how they’ll stack up against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue.

There’s more, including a Q&A with AD Tom Osborne, a look at Husker fans’ legendary loyalty, and a fun essay from former Lincoln Southeast basketball star KK Houser, who’s now a Boilermaker. She even gets in a plug for Runzas.

We’re glad Mike and John were able to spend some time with us this spring, and are looking forward to seeing them back in Lincoln soon. Or, at the very least, on Nov. 22, 2014, when the Boilers make their first visit to Memorial Stadium. Maybe we can lure them out to some baseball and softball weekends this spring?


Monday, June 27th, 2011

I’m looking forward to catching up with some old friends and getting to know some new ones at the 2011 College Media Conference in Washington, D.C., this week. If you’re registered for Wednesday’s sessions, I’ll be among the presenters in a session moderated by Wofford College’s Laura Corbin. Cornell (Iowa) College’s Jamie Kelly and I will be tackling the notion of being “authentic” on social media and how that can create publicity and media hits for the institution, as well as for faculty, staff, students and administrators. Should be fun. If you’re around, be sure to come up and say hi.

10 dead-honest reasons reporters delete your emails

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Pitches not landing? Take a glance at these 10 Dead-Honest Reasons Reporters Delete Your Emails. Yeah, it’s targeted toward startup companies, but vast majorities of this excellent list can be applied to any type of public relations — including higher education.

I recently sat in on a HARO conference call on pitching syndicated TV programs; many of the producers on the call echoed these same concerns — people not respecting their time, people sending vague or unoriginal pitches, people being way too pushy about their pitch by relentlessly following up, and so on. A lot of the call — and really, much of this 10-point list — is kind of Common Sense 101. But stuff like this is always worth a reminder once in a while.

Six Twitter tools to help your news efforts

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I’ve talked a fair amount about why it’s essential to leverage social media in your institution’s national-news efforts. But I haven’t mentioned some of the best tools that I often use for maximizing my time on Twitter.

First off, I don’t use feed-managers like HootSuite or any of those other automatic-pilot services. My Twitter feed is, like my favorite grocery store, 100 percent organic. Most times that’s good, and sometimes I miss some opportunities and openings. Still, those “scheduling” services come off as inauthentic to me, and I find them to be an accident waiting to happen, like this ad in the Miami Herald the day after the Heat lost in six. But I do like to use certain Twitter tools to do my job — that is, to help track national/international news events and news cycles, to see how effective specific social-media forays are, and to scour the Twitterverse for the first signs of breaking news.

The following six sites are among my daily (and, let’s face it, several times daily) stops:

1. Twazzup: Not happy with Twitter’s famously spotty search engine? Here’s a good one that’s a good deal better and faster. This search engine can help you get an early jump on other trend-watchers and newshounds looking for the very latest word or angle on a particular topic. I’ve been using this to follow the flooding situation up and down the Missouri River this week.

2. TweetTabs: In the same vein of Twazzup, this perpetual-search site allows you to keep track of multiple topics on one slick-looking screen. I often use TweetTabs during large news events around the country or world that tend to go on for several days. It’s also great for keeping perpetual searches going that involve my university’s interests, strengths and characteristics — stuff like ‘agriculture’, ‘drought’, ‘highered’, ‘telecom’ and ‘Big Ten.’

3. Twiangulate: This is a great tool, and very relevant for someone who values their role as a social-media networker. Not only can you use it to find new tweeps to follow by analyzing who the people you know are following, you can use it to inform you about who your most influential followers are. It works as a very good reminder of who’s reading what I tweet — which often helps guide what I tweet.

4. TwitterVision: More of a visual type? This tool puts tweets on the map — literally. Good for a geographic perspective on where the tweeting activity around the world comes from. For me, it’s a reminder that like politics, the most important news is local news.

5. Here’s a handy tool to see how, when and who you’re actually tweeting amid. It can serve as a good perspective check every now and then to help guide you toward better focusing your tweets, as well. (For example: As of today, I average 10.5 tweets a day and 279 per month. I’m most prolific on Tuesdays and tweet sparingly on Sundays. And I am far and away a mid-morning tweeter, with my top hours of the day being 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.) One note: Depending on how many users are requesting stats, it may take a few minutes for TweetStats to retrieve your info. Be patient; it’s worth the wait.

6. And last but not least, t4bp — that’s Twitter For Busy People. This tool is sort of an executive summary for Twitter; it arranges tweets into blocks of time so you can see which of the people you follow have tweeted recently. If you find yourself strapped for time but still want to engage in the social space, t4bp is a great way to cut through Twitter’s linear nature and quickly get to the highlights if you need to hit and run.

Give ‘em a try — and, as always, feel free to add your own.

Innovation Campus gets an $80M jump-start

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Leveraged by the $25 million investment by the Nebraska Legislature, the Nebraska Innovation Campus Corp. Board of Directors today announced that the first phase of development at Nebraska Innovation Campus would include four new or renovated buildings representing an estimated $80 million in public and private investments.

Included in the first phase is a nearly 170,000-square-foot central commons building that nearly doubles the size of the original 4-H Building. State funds of $10 million will renovate the building’s east half, while the Woodbury Corp., managing partner of investors Nebraska Nova LLC, will renovate the west half and also will build a companion building next to the 4-H Building.

Gov. Dave Heineman and the legislature also provided $15 million to be matched by private philanthropy for a “food, fuel and water” research facility. When that match is completed, the university will then build a building at $30 million or more. Woodbury also announced that if the university is successful in raising at least the $15 million required for the match, they would in turn build an equal-sized life science building.

“The result is four significant buildings that create the critical mass for the attraction of private-sector companies,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman said.

The new companion building connected to the 4-H Building adds about 100,000 square feet to the existing structure. Much of the existing 4-H Building will be renovated under this plan. Set to be completed by April 2013, the new building and the renovated 4-H Building will serve as the anchor or central commons structure for Nebraska Innovation Campus, providing space for university research, incubator businesses or translational research, convenience or retail, tenant offices and labs.

The schematic drawings and preliminary artist renderings of the plan for the 4-H Building renovation and companion building were shown today for the first time at a media event. The announcement sets in motion the Phase I construction plan that includes site work and infrastructure development that is scheduled for completion in 2012.

“The state investment is doing what it was intended,” Perlman said. “It is jump-starting Innovation Campus and leveraging state funds to produce private sector investments. We are off to a good start because the governor and the legislature had confidence in this vision for Nebraska’s future.”

The Nebraska Legislature on May 26 passed its two-year budget focusing on its top priorities: education and jobs, including a $25 million investment in the University of Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Nebraska Innovation Campus will be a premier private/public-sector sustainable research campus that capitalizes on research growth and expertise of UNL faculty to strengthen the economic growth potential of the state and the university. Located on 232 acres north of City Campus at the site of the former State Fair Park, it has been in the planning and predevelopment stages after coming into university possession Jan. 1, 2010.

“This is one of the most ambitious and most significant projects on the horizon for Nebraska,” Gov. Heineman said. “We want to grow and attract new, technology-focused companies to our state. Innovation Campus represents an important opportunity for the University of Nebraska to leverage its research talent to fuel new economic growth. Accelerating the development of Innovation Campus is a critical part of our vision for Nebraska’s future.”

University consultants hired in 2009 estimated the economic impact of Nebraska Innovation Campus could bring annual new payroll to the local and state economy of $267 million, including $149 million in direct annual payroll and $118 million in indirect payroll from new spin-off jobs. Planners are using a 25-year phased development approach.

“From the very beginning, the ambitious plans for Innovation Campus have required a partnership, and that is clearly evident today,” James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska, said. “The commitment of the governor and legislature to the success of Innovation Campus — especially in difficult times — provides the impetus for initial development that will occur more quickly and be more ambitious than otherwise possible.”

“Because of the leadership and cooperation of the governor and the legislature and the university, we are able today to move forward more quickly and to develop more space than we first thought possible,” said Zach Wiegert, manager of Nebraska Nova LLC. The development corporation has had interest from future tenants.

Here’s more information about Nebraska Innovation Campus and to view the most up-to-date versions of the plans.


Lincoln Journal Star | Omaha World-Herald | Associated Press | KETV | KHAS-TV | KOLN-KGIN | KLKN-TV

UNL in the national news: May 2011

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Monthly roundup time. National media outlets featured and cited UNL sources on a number of topics in the past month. Appearances included:

Kristin Anderson, general studies, was quoted in early May in a Yahoo! Education story about choosing the right degree program.

Joe Baumert and Stef Koppelman, food science and technology, had research regarding peanut allergies and blood transfusions on which they collaborated featured in mid-May by a number of national and international outlets.

The College of Law’s May 7 commencement exercises, at which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to graduates, was covered by The Associated Press and appeared in hundreds of media outlets worldwide.

Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies, was quoted May 23 in the Christian Science Monitor about how Hollywood is changing to appeal to international filmgoers.

Marion Ellis, entomology, was quoted in a May 13 Associated Press report on UNL’s role in determining if pesticides are behind the mysterious disease that has been decimating U.S. bee colonies. The story moved on national wires and appeared in hundreds of media outlets.

Gwendolyn Foster, film studies, was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor story on May 13 about whether Ashton Kutcher could fill Charlie Sheen’s role in “Two and a Half Men.”

Sherilyn Fritz, Earth and atmospheric sciences, had research she co-authored about climate change in Greenland 5,000 years ago featured in a number of media outlets in late May, including CBS News, Discover magazine, Reuters, the Daily Mail UK, Science Daily, Discovery News, and several other media outlets around the globe.

Seth Giertz, economics, had his study examining the screening process for federal disability benefits featured by a number of outlets in late May, including Science Daily,, Medical News Today and

John Hibbing, political science, was featured by a number of media outlets the week of May 11 in coverage about his research into the politics of mate choice, including TIME,, Yahoo! News, the Salt Lake Tribune, More magazine, and

An event at the International Quilt Study Center involving a pair of authors of a book about the hard-working, quilt-making women of the Great Plains appeared in a May 29 Associated Press story and appeared in dozens of online media outlets nationally, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS News and USA TODAY.

Andrew Jewell, English and University Libraries, and Guy Reynolds, English, were quoted in a May 12 story in The Chronicle of Higher Education about a gift of Willa Cather material to the university from a decently deceased Cather heir. A story from The Associated Press further reached national audiences, appearing in hundreds of media outlets around the nation and world, including CBS News, ABC News, Newsday, the Dallas Morning News, the Denver Post, the Sacramento Bee, the Seattle Times, Yahoo! News,, the Huffington Post and many others.

Jim Kalish, entomology, was quoted in a May 12 Huffington Post article about how Mississippi River floodwaters were flushing out colonies of fire ants.

Ari Kohen, political science, was quoted May 5 by in a story about what the “situation room” photo of President Obama and his war cabinet says about American culture.

Siu-Kit “Eddie” Lau, architectural engineering, was quoted in a May 23 Discovery News article about how weather bends highway noise.

Chancellor Harvey Perlman was quoted extensively in early May in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and the New York Times in the wake of the Association of American Universities’ decision to end UNL’s 102-year membership with the organization.

Michael Wagner, political science, was quoted May 11 in a national Associated Press story about the Tea Party Express’ endorsement of senate candidate Jon Bruning. The story appeared in more than a hundred media outlets around the country. On May 23, he was quoted in a national AP story about Nebraska’s redistricting and its effects on presidential campaigning in the state.

National media often work with University Communications to identify and connect with UNL sources for the purpose of including the university’s research, expertise and programming in published or broadcasted work. Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media are logged here.

To offer suggestions regarding potential national news stories or sources at UNL, give me a shout at or (402) 472-4226.