SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011

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Media Matters, a report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations. This daily edition lists the main items of known media coverage from 9 a.m. PST Monday Feb. 21 to 9 a.m. PST Tuesday Feb. 22.

  • There was a barrage of headlines and broadcast coverage for a story on how SFU forensic scientist Dongya Yang will attempt to extract DNA from the letters of legendary aviator Amelia Earhart in the hope of finally solving the mystery of her final resting place.
    The Vancouver Sun, for example, wrote:
    “Yang will collect DNA from the gummy seal on four personal letters written by Earhart in the years before her disappearance over the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1937. Yang's findings could resolve claims that a finger bone fragment found on the island of Nikumaroro in 2009 belongs to Earhart. ‘First we will practice on other envelopes to optimize our technique,’ said Yang. ‘We will steam open the envelope and remove the glue to look for cells.’"
    We saw the story in media outlets coast to coast from The Canadian Press news agency, which sent it to newspapers, radio and TV and foreign news agencies. That CP story noted: “Yang came to the research by way of a Simon Fraser health sciences student, Justin Long, who asked Yang to use his DNA expertise to shed light on the Earhart mystery. Long's grandfather, Elgen Long, is considered an Amelia Earhart scholar and has collected about 400 of her letters. The letters had been opened at the sides of the envelopes or with letter openers, leaving the seals intact for scientists to steam open to try to recover DNA.”
    The Vancouver Sun story ran in Postmedia Network newspapers across Canada. Other versions of the story ran on CTV’s Canada AM show, on CBC Radio and TV, the A Channel  TV news, in National Post, on radio stations including News1130 here and its sister stations across Canada, in 24Hours, and in the Metro group of papers. Farther afield, we saw it in the Pakistan Daily Mail, on the UK-based science website of (which ran SFU’s news release), and in international blogs and on social-media channels.
    And Long’s phone began ringing with calls from more media outlets at 7am today.
    It all began with a story on National Geographic News.
    The Vancouver Sun:
    The Canadian Press (on CTV News):
    National Geographic News:
    Daily Mail (Pakistan):
    SFU news release:


  • Clinical psychologist Joti Samra was in demand by media to talk about how a driver could flee after a fatal hit-and-run. This following the hit-and-run death of a Good Samaritan woman—and the woman she was trying to help—in Port Coquitlam on Saturday.
    The Province, for one, quoted Samra:
    Assuming that it's a true accident, the reality is . . . even from the perspective of the person that caused the accident, it can be quite traumatic and cause an acute stress reaction. . . . The fight-or-flight response is something we're exposed to when we are faced with extreme and traumatic events. Our body kind of goes into a shock, it doesn't know what to do."
    Samra was also in The Vancouver Sun and the Victoria Times Colonist, and did interviews with Metro, the Tri-City News, CKNW, CBC (two separate interviews), and News1130. SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Media Relations had suggested to media she’d make for a helpful interview on the subject.
    The Province:


  • Janet Steffenhagen’s Vancouver Sun education blog picked up an SFU news release and told readers: “A book by SFU professor Kieran Egan that encourages educators to ‘re-imagine’  schools has won an award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. The book, called The Future of Education: Re-imaging Our Schools from the Ground Up, has won the association's 2011 Outstanding Book Award. Egan will receive the award Feb. 26 in San Diego.”
    Sun blog:
    SFU release:

  • Business in Vancouver and the Surrey-North Delta Leader reported that, during a mission to India organized by the city of Surrey, “Simon Fraser University signed a letter of intention (LOI) with an Indian university to develop a joint PhD program and an MOU with an Indian technology firm that could lead to that firm setting up an office in Surrey.” The story gave no details.


  • Public policy prof Doug McArthur started his day today on the Early Edition show on CBC Radio this morning. This previewed a special public forum tonight, co-sponsored by SFU’s School for Public Policy, on “What went wrong (and right) at the Olympic Village?” Panelists include McArthur and Michael Geller, architect, planner, developer and adjunct prof in the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development. (The forum takes place in the Segal Graduate School of Business building at 500 Granville St. Registration 6pm, program 7-9:30pm.)


  • The Ottawa Citizen and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal picked up from last week’s Vancouver Sun a story on SFU’s “cruise control for runners.” Quoted was Mark Snaterse, who came up with the idea with fellow biomedical physiologist Max Donelan. "You can set the preferred speed for your run—say, 10 km in 50 minutes—before you head out.”
    Sun story:
    SFU release:

  • The Edmonton Journal picked up a Vancouver Sun column on a study showing that from 1998-2009 average weekly wages for federal public servants outstripped those of other workers. The story quoted Herbert Grubel, prof emeritus, SFU Economics, as saying in 2010: "If the incomes of public sector workers were equal to those in the private sector, fiscal deficits of [federal and provincial] governments would be lowered by at least $19 billion."
    Sun column:

  • The African Development Bank appointed Mahamudu Bawumia as its resident representative for Zimbabwe. Bawumia earned a PhD in economics from SFU in 1996.
    Full story:


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