Media Bytes

June 7, 2006

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A compendium of condensed articles that appeared in the media during the last few weeks quoting members of the SFU community.

The Tories v the media
CanWest Global, May 25
The complete breakdown in the relationship between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the media is a disturbing trend for those who believe democracies need an informed and engaged press to challenge power. The prime minister insists his government has the right to select which reporter gets to ask him a question. According to SFU political science professor, <span style="font-weight: bold;">Patrick Smith</span>, “The job of good reporting is to try and get through and beyond and around spin. One of the ways you do it is you don't have people that are already trying to spin you decide who gets to ask the questions.

Gases kill miner
National Post, May 18
A mine is a dangerous place. Even a decommissioned one can contain pent-up hazards that are potentially lethal, says an expert in occupational and environmental medicine at SFU. <span style="font-weight: bold;">Tim Takaro</span>, SFU associate professor in health sciences, can't speculate on what might have happened at the Teck Cominco Sullivan Mine near Kimberley, B.C., where four people were found dead. But he said mines such as the Sullivan, which was a rich source of lead, zinc and silver for 92 years before being decommissioned five years ago, can contain a variety of potentially deadly gases and liquids as a result of the work done in them.&nbsp; “It's a very hazardous place,” Mr. Takaro said. “It's possible that the gases would look for a way to escape. They would be looking for the place of lowest pressure and that would be outside.”

Mom-friendly workplace praised
The Province, May 18
With companies beginning to feel the effects of the aging - and shrinking - workforce, those with policies that recognize working moms may have an edge on the competition. “Women are nearly 48 per cent of the labour force, and the majority are of child-bearing age,” says <span style="font-weight: bold;">Marjorie Griffin Cohen</span>, SFU political scientist and women's studies professor. “We're a considerable force. Canada couldn't run the economy without women. There wouldn't be enough labour.” Today, about 75 per cent of mothers with children younger than 16 work outside the home, 64 per cent with kids under three years old. Although few employers offer on-site child care, several companies are garnering attention for mom-friendly policies. <br><br>

The failure traps
New York Times, May 13
The project, business or division is hemorrhaging cash. All turnaround efforts have failed, but management continues to spend time and resources trying to turn the situation around instead of pulling the plug. One way to keep a business going is to protect its trade secrets. But as <span style="font-weight: bold;">David Hannah</span>, SFU assistant professor of business writes in The Sloan Management Review, companies are particularly bad at doing so. “Research has shown that the biggest threat to a company's trade secrets does not come from spying competitors but from within: current and former employees.” Employees frequently disclose information simply because they do not know they are supposed to keep it confidential. Specifically, Hannah points out that the need to keep secret information secret is often mentioned just once - during orientation. People should “gently” be reminded “of their ongoing legal responsibility to protect the organization's trade secrets.”<br><br>

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