2011 National Media Reported on Polls and Surveys

From left Russ Doubleday, Scott Hefferman, Evan Klondar, Kate Tummarello and Holly Donaldson.
From left Russ Doubleday, Scott Hefferman, Evan Klondar, Kate Tummarello and Holly Donaldson.

The national news media focused its attention on Hamilton on many occasions in 2011, perhaps most intensely upon the release of a senior thesis written by five graduates. “Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air? An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media” was presented on May 2. The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Financial Times and dozens of other national and international outlets reported the results almost immediately. Reference to the study continues in various publications.


Faculty and staff endeavors were topics of several feature articles including one in The New York Times focused on the “Milton Marathon” conducted by Elizabeth J. McCormack Professor of English Margaret Thickstun. The New York Times also featured Professor of Biology Ernest Williams’ research on monarch butterflies as did TIME’s TIME for Kids in a two-page centerfold article.  Articles focusing on topics as diverse as the Civil War and mountain climbing included quotes by Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of History Maurice Isserman. He also contributed both a book review and a commentary to the The New York Times. Associate Professor of Anthropology Chaise LaDousa responded to an extensive Q&A in an article about his new book in InsideHigherEd.

Many other faculty members and administrators were sought out by the media for comments on issues related to their areas of expertise.  Henry Platt Bristol Professor of Economics Ann Owen was interviewed and quoted by numerous national outlets including The Wall Street Journal and American Public Media’s Marketplace. Senior Associate Career Center Director David Bell talked to The Washington Post about funded internships. Edward S. Walker, Jr. ’62, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel and the Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Global Political Theory, discussed the unfolding situation in Egypt with The Wall Street Journal and NPR’s Morning Edition as well as with dozens of other media outlets.  Professor of Anthropology Charlotte Beck discussed a study in the journal Science, and her comments appeared in U.S. News & World Report and several other national papers and journals. Professor of Sociology Dennis Gilbert’s comments on the state of the middle class were part of a CNN broadcast and a New York Daily News article.  Associate Professor of Government Robert Martin discussed the Patriot Act with The Christian Science Monitor. Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Wu’s study of suicide rates and levels of happiness received broad media attention beginning with the Associated Press and The New York Times. Director of Outdoor Leadership Andrew Jillings was quoted about outdoor orientation programs in an Associated Press article that appeared in many outlets throughout the country.


Quite a few faculty members, including Associate Professor of Psychology Jennifer Borton, Associate Professor of History Chad Williams, Edward North Professor of Classics Barbara Gold, Professor of Government Gary Wyckoff and Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies Brent Plate were heard on WAMC’s nationally syndicated Academic Minute discussing their research. Academic Minute broadcasts are also featured in print on the InsideHigherEd website. Wyckoff also contributed the lead letter to the editor on The New York Times’ editorial page on solutions to public education in America.


The Admission Office is a perennial source of media attention, and 2011 was no exception. Particularly interesting to the media was the office’s choice of a QR (quick response) code for its annual recruiting poster. The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and U.S. News & World Report highlighted the uniqueness of the poster as well as the innovative thinking that led to it. Other national admission stories, including those by The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report and CBS’s MoneyWatch, continued to reference Hamilton’s need-blind policies, elimination of merit aid, optional SAT policy and commitment to meeting full financial need. “Becoming Need-Blind in an Environment of Need: How one institution has made it work,” an opinion piece in University Business magazine by President Joan Hinde Stewart, presented the College’s decision-making processes related to eliminating merit aid and adopting a need-blind policy. Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer was quoted frequently throughout the year in publications including U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, The New York Times and University Business.


A student initiative offered as part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week also attracted significant national and international media attention. One of the visual aids that proved effective in generating both campus and media awareness was a larger-than-life but proportionally accurate model of a Barbie doll created by the week’s co-director, Galia Slayen ’12. Media as varied as NBC’s Today Show and The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as many other outlets, highlighted Slayen’s engagement in generating eating disorder awareness. Another student project that received attention from The New York Times was sophomore Sam Reider’s college decision-making tool.  Korfball, a little-known sport originating in the Netherlands, was the subject of a lengthy segment on the nationally broadcast public radio program Only a Game. The broadcast featured a national tournament organized by Louis Boguchwal ’12.


The emerging field of digital humanities and the role Hamilton is playing on the forefront of that field via its Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) was noted by The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Former Vice President Al Gore’s commencement address received broad national coverage before and after the event from The National Journal, The Huffington Post and The Washington Times, among others.


Many alumni mentioned their Hamilton affiliation when speaking with the media. Board of Trustees Chair A.G. Lafley ’69 extolled the benefits of a liberal arts education in The Huffington Post in a piece titled “A Liberal Education: Preparation for Career Success.” Opinion writer Stuart Muszynski ’76 referred to his time at Hamilton and his senior thesis research in a Huffington Post submission about the Occupy Wall Street protests. As part of a CNBC program, Richard Bernstein ’80, CEO and chief investment officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors, participated in an interview of fellow alumnus and former U.S. ambassador Edward S. Walker ’62 about the political situation in Egypt. Bernstein was able to “shamelessly promote” his alma mater on air. The Washington Post profiled Michael Bloomquist ’91 when he was tapped to serve as general counsel for Congress’ 12-member debt-reduction panel and Paul Christman ’85 when he became president and chief executive of Quest Software. Forbes’ “30 under 30” included Eric Kuhn ’09 on its list of standouts in the entertainment industry.

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