Eric Schlosser on Food Justice


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Election Aftermath: Why Should I Believe What I See on the News?

Last Friday, Marin Porges, A82, came back to the hill to discuss news coverage of the 2012 election with students. Porges has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and is currently a senior producer of news standards and practices at NBC News and previously worked at ABC News. She was the 2012 recipient of the Tufts P.T. Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment.

Marin Porges discussing election night coverage with students

Porges began her discussion by describing her experience in journalism and her current role as senior producer of news standards and practices. She specifically detailed how her role took a part in the 2012 election: for the first time in her career, Porges took a seat at the “Decision Desk,” an secluded area where only senior producers and political science statisticians deal with data coming in from each state. Her job as senior producer was to approve the conclusions the statisticians came to from the data for reporting, a job she described as scary. Throughout her discussion, Porges stressed that it’s “better to be right than first,” even though NBC was the first network to call Obama’s victory on election night at 11:12pm.

Porges also made attendees aware of journalistic and ethical standards and processes. For example, she discussed how NBC makes sure to include the context of any piece of news they report that was given to them by any political party or candidate in order to have complete control of the messages they are sending to their audience. This, Porges stressed, keeps audiences informed and trusting the network since, “once our viewers don’t trust us, we’ve lost it all.”

Porges also taught her audience that every news organization uses the same exit polls. Since these news organizations don’t have enough money to each have an exit poll, they pool their resources. She also discussed that a special group at NBC reports and checks voting irregularities. She went into detail about the things that complicate election coverage like early voting. By election night, 50%+ of the battle ground states will have already voted so the exit polls aren’t as reliable as they used to be. In order to solve this problem, news stations have resorted to new tactics like calling voters in battle ground states to add to their exit poll data.

Another complication for Porges and her team is social media. Today her journalists have to be trained on everything: camera work, editing, writing, and this has made their work “a lot easier and a lot harder.” In the past, journalists could get help from experts on their team, but today, there is no time to fully train journalists one-on-one on the skills they must know. Also, on election night, journalists are given sensitive material, which they must not disseminate through their social media channels prior to the news being reported as stated by NBC policy. Yet during this election, NBC dealt with two instances of people on their team tweeting information before it was reported. Porges advised students to be careful of their social media presence claiming that, “It’ll come back to haunt you,” and asking them to check the social media policies of the news organization they work for and to make sure students don’t send anything on email that they wouldn’t want to be public.

The discussion ended with a Q&A session and the chance for students to meet and network with Porges.

 

 

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Anthony Romero at Tufts’ Snyder Lecture


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Doug Conant, Corporate Citizen Fellow Lecture

On November 5, Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, was honored by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service as the first Corporate Citizen Fellow. He received this honor for his “exemplary leadership and emphasis on sustainability and corporate social responsibility.”

His lecture, Embracing the Genius of the “and” – Delivering Economic “and” Social Value, gave attendees a peak into how Conant approached leading Campbell and the personal factors that drove him to the success he has today.

Throughout the lecture he emphasized the importance of “touchpoints” and using every moment we share with others to make a positive impact in their lives. He also gave specific advice to students who wish to succeed in the business world while staying true to their active citizen roots.

Check out some points from his talk:

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“The Story of Bananas” Dinner

On October 24th, Tufts Dining and the Tufts Office of Sustainability teamed up to present “The Story of Bananas” at Dewick Dining Hall. The event focused on educating students on their favorite dining hall item—from farm to plate to compost heap—and was modeled after Annie Leonard’s “The Story of Stuff.” Students were treated to a chocolate dipping bar and five stations that detailed the journey bananas go through before and after they get to our dining centers. If students visited each station, they were entered in a raffle to win a pizza and cupcake party along with other banana-themed prizes.

Story of bananas "passports" were hole-punched after visiting each station.

Student volunteers teach their peers about the transportation and storage of bananas.

Student volunteers were easily identified by their matching "Ask Me About Bananas" t-shirts.

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Sam Sommers’ Author Talk


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Engage the Debate: Election 2012


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Global Land Art by Andrew Rogers

Through December 16, the Tufts Art Gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center is featuring an exhibit called “Global Land Art.” The exhibit showcases photographs of land art created by Australian sculptor Andrew Rogers.

For several years, Rogers has traveled the globe to create art in deserts, on glaciers, and in parks using a variety of natural materials, including rock, clay, granite, and sandstone, among other things. His large-scale art is then photographed from aerial perspectives for a stunning look at the vastness and scale of his impressive projects. Check out some of the photos below, and be sure to stop by the exhibit to see the entire collection!

"Ancient Language" in Chile's Atacama Desert is a two-headed llama made of rock and clay

"Labyrinth" in Nepal features the universal motif of a maze, made entirely of granite

"To Life" in Israel's Arava Desert uses sandstone to create the Hebrew word Chai ("life")

"Rhythms of Life," on the Dakshin Gangotri Glacier in Antartica, was constructed entirely of moraine gravel. The art was only visible for a few hours, as the ice melted quickly, and it stood to symbolize the transient nature of life.

 

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GDAE Brown Bag Lunches

It’s clear that Timothy Wise, Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts, is passionate about the global food crisis. At the first brown bag lunch of this semester, Timothy and  Research Assistant Elise Garvey presented their research on how US corn ethanol is contributing to record high global food prices and how this impacts developing countries.

The packed crowd listened intently while the pair showcased their research entitled, “Drought and the Food Crisis: The Costs of U.S. Ethanol Expansion to Developing Countries.”  The hour-long session ended with questions from the group.

The Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) is hosting a series of brown bag lunches this semester, all at 12:30pm at GDAE, 44 Teele Avenue:

  • Monday, October 1 - Neva Goodwin, Co-Director – “Work in the Post-Growth Economy”
  • Monday, October 29 - Jonathan Harris, Director, Theory and Education Program – “Population, Resources, and Energy in the Global Economy”
  • Tuesday, November 13 - Brian Roach, Senior Research Associate – “Is Protecting the Environment Bad for the Economy?”

 

Check their website for more upcoming events:

 

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Brian Williams at Tufts


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