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Over the airwaves and in print, Berkeley scholars share their expertise on war

– In morning newspapers, on afternoon talk shows and during nightly newscasts, more than two dozen scholars from UC Berkeley are sharing their expertise about the war in Iraq.

Bioterrorism, homeland security, children's stress about war, battlefield technology, and troops' environmental health risks are among the many subjects they're addressing with media across the country. Faculty members have been whisked away in a limousine to appear in San Francisco on a cable news show. Another conducts e-mail interviews from the war zone. Others are answering reporters' questions between classes, or from home, or at broadcast studios on campus.

"I enjoy contributing to the public debate. I do what I can, as the issues are very important," said Michael Nacht, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy. Nacht appeared live on March 19 on CNBC's "Power Lunch" show, talking about the rebuilding of Iraq after the war. Last Sunday, he was interviewed by MSNBC around 1 a.m. - after being transported from his home by a limo - as part of the network's 24-hour coverage of the war. That interview was about a female bioweapons expert that's been seen in the company of Saddam Hussein.

Physics professor Richard A. Muller also was transported to MSNBC's Beyond PIX studio for a recent late night interview about military technology, and was a guest during an entire two-hour "Forum" show on KQED about the same topic.

Before the war began, UC Berkeley Media Relations began compiling a substantive list of campus experts on war-related issues and continues to update that list. It also is sending out press releases and tip sheets about the scholars' research and viewpoints, and fields countless call from reporters looking for help with their stories.

This week, the office tracked down Eric Stover, director of UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center, in Iraq, where he is monitoring the plight of the Kurds fleeing Iraqi-controlled areas. Despite the war around him, Stover agreed to share his research with reporters via e-mail and cell phone. The same day a press release was issued about Stover's work, CNN, the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, and Dateline NBC all expressed interest in speaking with him. The Mercury News already has carried an interview with him, as has The New Yorker.

"This interest in our experts reflects the credibility we have with the news media, projects the research accomplishments of each professor and underscores the intellectual vitality of the campus," said George Strait, UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor for Public Affairs. "We help set the national agenda on these issues; now more Americans know it."

Recent highlights of other UC Berkeley professors speaking about the war include political science professor Bruce Cain, whose many interviews included one with CNBC about whether war will divide or rally Americans; linguistics professor Robin Lakoff, who spoke to USA Today about military jargon; and an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News by Tom Campbell, dean of the Haas School of Business on "The 12 Year Gulf War."

For a daily online digest of news clippings featuring Berkeley (put together by Media Relations, a unit of Public Affairs), see UC Berkeley in the News.