December 20, 2020

Wayne State University in the news during historic times

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, an epidemiologist, speaks with CNN's Kate Bolduan on May 14, 2020. Nearly 2,000 stories featuring or mentioning Wayne State were captured in 2020 by media outlets around the globe.

During most of 2020, the news cycle was dominated by stories about the COVID-19 pandemic, the presidential election, and civil unrest marked by demonstrations and protests across the nation.

Wayne State experts were often called upon for their perspectives on these topics. The Office of Marketing and Communications’ public relations team not only facilitated media requests, but also developed media tip sheets and recruited experts to heed the call from outlets located throughout the nation and beyond.

Though the news cycle was crowded, other stories were developed and pitched to outlets on a regular basis covering myriad topics, including research, the environment, arts, and numerous other programs and activities concerning the university.

Nearly 2,000 stories featuring or mentioning Wayne State were captured in 2020 by media outlets around the globe. Included in the overall number were 930 stories focusing primarily or exclusively on the university — known as Tier I media placements.

The Office of Marketing and Communications annually reviews media activity to determine the content of news coverage and geographical reach. Data is captured through several monitoring tools and identified by a tier structure — Tiers I, II and III. Tiers II and III, though not focused entirely or exclusively on Wayne State, feature faculty experts commenting on trending topics — commonly referred to as pull quotes and soundbites — or topics shared with other institutions.

Tier I stories are often pitched or facilitated by Wayne State communications professionals. Another component of the annual media review is advertising value of the stories, which refers to the actual cost of purchasing comparable advertising space for each story. The estimated advertising value of 2020’s stories is nearly $18 million.

This year’s stories extended from Detroit-area dailies, television and radio to national media outlets such as New York Times, Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Fox News, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The Chronicle of Higher Education and numerous international outlets.

A sampling of major stories’ headlines included:

  • Wayne State University enrollment up; Black graduation rate soars
  • Wayne State University completes STEM Innovation Learning Center
  • Wayne State researchers identify cornea as a potential carrier of COVID-19
  • Ford, Wayne State roll out mobile testing for COVID-19 in Metro Detroit
  • Wayne State University holds first-ever virtual commencement ceremony
  • Wayne State offering free mental health help for pandemic stress, depression
  • Wayne State University publishes new findings of potentially deadly bacterial infection linked to COVID-19 in older patients
  • Wayne State University part of $4M grant to continue studying high energy nuclear physics
  • WSU Theater and Dance offers digital portal to creative performance and learning
  • HUD awards Wayne State nearly $700,000 for study on preventing lead exposure in children
  • Wayne State launches program to address urgent need for STEM educators in Detroit, Dearborn
  • Wayne State begins COVID-19 plasma studies
  • TRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing awards $270,000 to Wayne State
  • Wayne State University center to train officers in de-escalation