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Berkeley in the News

by Jacqueline Frost, Public Affairs
posted November 18, 1998

Traditionally Stanford may have an edge over Cal on the football field, but Berkeley leads the Cardinal in the race for column inches in the nation's newspapers and newsweeklies. Since news coverage increases awareness of campus research and faculty expertise, column inches can add up to superior visibility.

The campus' Department of Public Affairs examined media databases to determine how frequently campus news made print last year.

Berkeley came out on top of Stanford in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Time magazine and Newsweek when sports stories were excluded.

Overall, the campus was cited 8,451 times from January through September, an increase from 7,751 references in 1997.

The San Francisco Chronicle referred to Berkeley 631 times -- excluding sports stories -- between January and September 1998. By contrast, Stanford was mentioned only 269 times. During the same period, the New York Times mentioned Berkeley 261 times, compared to 255 references to Stanford.

The articles about Berkeley are as varied as the campus itself.

Reporters ask faculty for their opinions and expertise on a range of subjects, from impeachment to classical archeology, from phenomena known as the "mystery spot" to the potential health hazards of using plastic containers in microwave ovens.

The news pages reflect Berkeley's intellectual diversity. In September, Associated Press, Reuters, Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News ran stories about the Bancroft Library's new collection documenting the conception and growth of America's Conservative movement.

A few weeks later, dozens of reporters and photographers crowded onto the steps of Sproul Plaza to hear students and faculty call for a return to affirmative action policies.

Animal stories are always big in the press, and the story about the discovery of a new population of primitive coelacanth in Indonesia was no exception. It made the New York Times, Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe (including an op-ed piece), The London Guardian, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, Knight-Ridder wire, CNN, National Public Radio, Discover on-line and CBC (Canada), plus numerous national and international papers.

The informal news-clip survey ranked Cal with Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan as one of the top newsmakers.


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