They Did and This Is What Happened...

Berkeley and its faculty and staff make news every day. Here's how things went for four news makers:

Aaron Anderson, a residential life coordinator, got plenty of press attention about the new substance-free residence hall he developed and oversees.

"It all started with a two-sentence press tip put out by Public Information. The Oakland Tribune picked up on the story and then the race was on. Radio talk show hosts from Texas and Iowa wanted me live on the air. I was also contacted by the BBC, Newsweek and Time and most recently Rolling Stone.

"We did receive some fan mail as well. Two folks in particular sent letters of accolade. One was from a woman in Iowa and another from a student in Boston. It was very nice to receive the positive feedback from ordinary citizens who saw the articles in their local papers via the Associated Press."

CBS news came to the home of Marc Hellerstein, associate professor of nutrition. The news team had arranged to talk about his research on smoking and weight loss for the New Year's Eve broadcast.

"It was kind of weird in this quiet little neighborhood where I live. They showed up with this big huge sound truck with its equipment. All the neighbors thought I had committed a crime," he said with amusement. He was pleased that news coverage carried word of his research beyond the scientific community.

Unfortunately, sometimes reporters go too far for a story. Professor Tim White had announced that he and an international team had discovered in Ethiopia the bones of the earliest direct human ancestors.

One local television reporter "showed up with no appointment, no forewarning and demanded an instant interview, and when I politely told her I had to teach a class, she suggested that I thought I was too important for the local media and said I'd be sorry. That's completely and utterly false, that I don't care about the local media. She needed to understand that I have a job, paid for by the state of California, and part of that job is teaching."

Fortunately, most experiences are more positive. The Re-entry Program is still benefiting from the attention that Mona Freye, who graduated last year at the age of 78, received.

Outspoken and witty, Freye spoke of the value of returning to school--at any age--in major newspapers, on network television and even as a guest on David Letterman's show.

"Public Information recognized that Mona's story was one people would be interested in--it was a universal story about aging and society and it presented a positive view of the aging process," said Helen Johnson, re-entry program coordinator.

The new coverage of Freye and her message continues to inspire. Calls have come from as far away as Japan and interest in the re-entry program has soared.


Copyright 1995, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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