WMU News

WMU experts are hit with national media

Dec. 3, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- Calls from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, an interview with the BBC and stories in newspapers around the nation kept Mark Roehling, assistant professor of management, busy for much of November.

Roehling, whose research on weight discrimination among employers will be published next week, is just the latest success story among WMU faculty members who have been working with the staff of university relations to boost awareness about WMU and the quality of its faculty among the nation's major media outlets.

"We have had a phenomenally successful year in terms of raising the profile of the University by promoting faculty expertise," says Matt Kurz, associate vice president for university relations. "It's becoming routine to see the work of our faculty members featured in such publications as Forbes, the San Francisco Examiner and the Chronicle of Higher Education."

Kurz says that such placements have been a major focus for staff members in recent years, and placements are often the result of WMU's membership in nationwide online networks developed to help reporters find expert sources. Such placements, he notes, enhance the University's academic reputation and visibility.

"Every day, our staff members screen more than 100 queries from reporters around the nation. They also keep abreast of breaking news stories and suggest the names of faculty members who can help interpret and explain events," Kurz notes.

In March, those efforts were enhanced by the addition of the resources of Gehrung Associates, a New Hampshire consulting firm that focuses on national media placements. Staff members now routinely work with Gehrung personnel in making such national contacts.

The Roehling research placements grew out of an interview Mark Schwerin, university relations, did with Roehling for "News Call," an audio feed provided to radio stations throughout Michigan. Because of the news potential of the topic, the information was shared with Gehrung personnel, who alerted reporters at several national publications.

"This story was a natural, but it took a tremendous amount of work by everyone involved," Kurz says. "Every day, we're working to make the same kind of placements with faculty members across the campus."

Recent major WMU media placements are the focus of a new addition to the University's Web site. "WMU in the News," a link on the university relations site <www.wmich.edu/ur/>, lists major non-local stories about WMU that have appeared in 1999.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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