December 20, 2023

2023: Wayne State University in the media

DETROIT – Major state and national media outlets turned to Wayne State University in 2023, seeking expertise and scholarly opinions on a vast range of subjects from faculty and staff.

Research and innovative endeavors by faculty and staff advance knowledge in the experts’ academic fields, help broader audiences understand some of the world’s most complex issues and strengthen Wayne State’s reputation as a premier research institution.

Wayne State professors and researchers were asked to comment on a wide range of topics, including wars in eastern Ukraine and in Israel. Artificial intelligence catapulted into the mainstream and, closer to home, the UAW strike against Detroit’s Big Three captured global headlines and set Michigan’s economy on a tailspin. And then there were the bigger stories, such as climate change and the threat to U.S. democracy.

President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., meets morning talk show host Guy Gordon during WJR's live broadcast from Wayne State on Oct. 23, 2023.
President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., meets morning talk show host Guy Gordon during WJR's live broadcast from Wayne State on Oct. 23, 2023.

Wayne State also celebrated many accomplishments in 2023, including the installation of Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., as its 13th president, and many other events connecting the institution to the community.

Nearly 2,400 stories that featured or mentioned Wayne State were captured in 2023 by media outlets around the world, extending from Detroit-area dailies, television and radio to national media outlets like The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC, News Nation, Yahoo News, and numerous international outlets and higher education publications. Included in the overall number were 1,171 stories focusing primarily or exclusively on the university, known as Tier I media placements.

It is the first time in 21 years that Wayne State surpassed 1,000 top-tier media hits. This year’s Tier I hits also put a halt to a three-year drop in the category, and the 32.6% increase in Tier I hits (+252) from last year is the largest single-year increase since the university’s public relations team begin tracking tiered media counts in 2002.

The public relations team 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 – Tier 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 sound bites.

Assisted by the public relations team, news organizations regularly feature programs and activities in Midtown and interview faculty, staff, students and alumni for their expertise and perspectives on current events and trends. Led by Matt Lockwood, associate vice president of university communications, the public relations team facilitates interview requests and develops monthly tip sheets to proactively engage WSU experts with local and national reporters, editors and producers.

The UAW strike provided a significant bump to Wayne State’s media hits in the second half of the year. Marick Masters, Ph.D., a labor expert and professor of management at the Mike Ilitch School of Business who shared the media spotlight with key labor and automotive figures, compiled 405 media hits – 2.77 hits per day – from early July to late November.

On average, Wayne State registered 2.81 daily Tier I hits this year, the highest such daily average on record, surpassing the previous daily high of 2.73 hits in 2019.

The public relations team also made sure to share the great news coming out of Wayne State this year, crafting other stories and pitching to news outlets on a regular basis on topics, including groundbreaking research, environmental impact, community outreach, student success stories, and numerous university programs and events.

WDIV reporter Nick Monacelli interviews a person on campus for story that aired on Channel 4.
WDIV reporter Nick Monacelli interviews a person on campus for story that aired on Channel 4.

Here is a sample of major story topics and headlines:

UAW Labor Strike
Shifts in union membership suggests unions need to boost membership to turn the tide
Counting begins in UAW election  
UAW set to begin contract negotiations with Detroit’s Big 3 
Opinion: Why this year’s UAW contract talks are different
Winners and losers of the UAW talks with GM, Ford and Stellantis 

New research in Michigan on preterm births, environmental toxins
A train derailment in Ohio nearly caused an ecological disaster – who is to blame
Experts say we could see more toxic chemical pollution if policies don’t change
Combining algae, plastic has ‘scary’ implications for Great Lakes, experts fear
Understanding the Candida auris fungus that is spreading in hospitals, long-term care facilities
Michigan ‘river walker’ program warns anglers on eating contaminated fish
Growing evidence air pollution makes mental health worse  

Diversity, equity and inclusion
Wayne State University receives $6 million grant for humanities faculty cluster hire and Black Studies Center
Christianne Malone named to dual role with TechTown Detroit and Wayne State 
Building Black wealth and opportunity with intention
‘I Saw Death Coming’: New book focuses on Reconstruction-era myths, violence
Michigan saw decline in racial disparities during pandemic, report says  
Bobbie Hirsch is a trans man competing in the upcoming NCAA Men’s Regional  
Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action drawing concerns from people with disabilities
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appoints members to Michigan's first LGBTQ+ commission

Business and economy
Why do companies flush with cash still carry debt 
TechTown Detroit names new board members and gives them a big task  
Do Super Bowl commercials work?
Unionized Starbucks workers still haven’t negotiated contracts 
Detroit councilwoman fights trend of cashless businesses with proposed ordinance  
Bouncing Around the Motor City wins $100,000 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown
First Republic Bank just became the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history
Janus Henderson partners with Wayne State University to combat financial exploitation of older adults 

The ‘runners high’ may result from molecules called cannabinoids – the body’s own version of THC and CBD 
Parents in the U.S. had alarmingly high rates of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic – and that has a direct effect on kids 
Wayne State to collaborate with MDHHS on a $3.1 million program to expand specialty courts for infants and toddlers in the child welfare system
National Institutes of Health awards Wayne State $11 million to research how volatile organic compounds contribute to preterm births 
How Wayne State grad and St. Clair Shores native helped create new RSV vaccine
Mass shootings prompt Wayne State researchers to study damage from assault rifle vs. handgun  
NIH awards $3M to Wayne State to impact Black youth with type 1 diabetes
$20M gift to Wayne State will establish brain health institute
Music improves mood, reduces distress during chemotherapy infusion  
U.S. preterm birth and maternal mortality rates are alarmingly high 
Grant will allow students to learn about semiconductors

Michigan expanding ‘baby courts’ in bid to keep families together
Reducing disparities in COVID, other health outcomes through the Racial Disparities Task Force
Who gets to call themselves a ‘Detroiter’ 
Dating and being single in 2023
Plans for a 5G cellphone tower near Wyandotte school  
Michigan is sending fewer people back to prison. Getting companies to hire them is trickier
Urban farmers encourage people to compost to lower methane emissions
New study shows students experiencing homelessness, housing instability are undercounted
Wayne Health Mobile Unit an innovative solution to a unique problem  
Wayne State professors, students look for artifacts around Malcolm X's Inkster home
Education leaders make renewed push for peace in metro Detroit

Student success and campus news
Wayne State using grant money to save lives with a new type of vending machine
Wayne State to expand program helping college dropouts get their degrees 
Wayne State to offer free tuition to students whose families make under $70,000 annually
WSU inaugurates new Hilberry Gateway with celebratory gala
Former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young inspires Wayne State University course
Wayne State dropout earns opportunity to work with NASA after returning to finish school
Hope Not Handcuffs addiction recover program partners with Wayne State Police Department  
Wayne State hires first assistant athletic director for mental health and wellness
New Center for Gender and Sexuality established at Wayne State University in Detroit 
Kimberly Andrews Espy formally sworn in as Wayne State’s 13th president  
WSU new undergraduate class up 14%, returning to pre-pandemic levels  
Wayne State University receiving $30M for new law school facility

TOP PHOTO: Wayne State University professors Saeed Khan (right) and Howard Lupovitch (left), do a series of presentations called 'A Shared Future', where they talk about how Jews and Muslims can in fact get along. The professors were invited to WJR to discuss the topic on ‘JR in the Afternoon with Chris Renwick, on Dec. 19, 2023.

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