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MHP’s Wake the Vote comes to Iowa

From volunteering on the campaigns of presidential candidates to attending classes to planning community forums to organizing non-partisan voter registration efforts, 22 Wake Forest students will spend 2016 examining issues central to the presidential election.

Ahead of the Iowa caucus senior Austin Cook and Daniela Feijoo discuss Wake the Vote and engaging with the democratic process on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show.

Coverage of Wake the Vote was widespread and is expected to produce ongoing media coverage throughout the election cycle.

DeAngelo Williams and other NFL stars do their daughters’ hair in charming Pantene ads

The campaign echoes Pantene’s past women-empowering efforts, with the theme “Strong is Beautiful.” In this case, kids are the focus because “We know strength and self-esteem start by building confidence in girls at a young age,” says P&G vice president of hair care and color Jodi Allen.

“When we discovered research done by Dr. Linda Nielsen from Wake Forest University revealing that quality time spent with dads is key in raising daughters who are more self-confident, self-reliant and more successful in school and in their careers, we wanted to do something to encourage dads to do with their daughters,” Allen says.

“We didn’t want to just say, ‘Spend time with your daughter.’ Pantene wanted to give them a tangible thing they could do: style their hair. We wanted to give them the tools to do it, with how-to’s and tips. So many empowerment campaigns just tell you to be empowered. Pantene wanted to show them.”

Nielsen is a professor of educational and adolescent psychology who has researched and written several books on the father-daughter relationship.

To watch the ads, click here.

Candidates launch final political ad drives in Iowa

On the eve of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, candidates are launching their final political ads for this phase of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Cornfields, American flags, Bibles, Wall Street banks and talk-show hosts feature in commercials planned for television, along with ads targeted at Iowan digital users.

The Republican candidates seem to be in a fight over who can appear the most conservative and most religious. Allan Louden, a political communications professor at Wake Forest University says it is more overt than usual. “They are wrapping themselves in the Bible,” Mr. Louden said.

News Center Media Report for Jan. 29 – Feb.2

The WFU News Center Media Report for Jan. 29 – Feb. 2 is now available online.

To achieve work-life balance at 30, start at 18

Malika Roman Isler writes, “Whether you’re a second-semester senior or still years away from your first job after college, now is the time to focus on work-life balance.
Consider a recent report that suggests today’s teens are spending nine hours a day using media. Imagine the difficulty tomorrow’s adults will have unplugging. More than half of working parents already report difficulty balancing their work and families? It’s worth considering how to manage increasingly blurred boundaries before you enter the workforce.

In today’s working world, technology allows – and sometimes requires – us to work from anywhere. Despite the flexibility it offers, technology has made it incredibly difficult to balance work and life.

Cruz, GOP candidates step up complaints about media bias as Iowa approaches

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz dismissed the mainstream media as being “almost without exception” liberal Democrats, many of whom support Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Fox News on Sunday. “Any Republican who’s running should not be confused and think that the mainstream media are our friends. They are partisans. They wake up every day fighting for liberal political agendas. The New York Times wants Hillary Clinton to be the next president,” Cruz told Media Buzz.

“I don’t think he’s totally wrong in some of the things he’s saying,” said Allan Louden, chair of the communication department at Wake Forest. However, he sees the media’s bias as favoring conflict and drama more than promoting liberal ideology.

“They’re not mutually exclusive,” he added. “Both can be true. Bias is a beholder’s phenomenon,” Louden said.

Feeding English majors in the 21st century

What if, rather than offer platitudes about the value of the liberal arts to students who are justifiably anxious about their economic future, we actually taught them to market themselves and their degrees with integrity?

Those questions led me to offer a new course this past fall called “Novel English Majors.” I developed it because I want to make sure that my students can literally feed themselves and their loved ones without starving their souls.

Not taking skills for granted became a mantra for the course, spurred in part by Katharine Brooks’s guide, You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career. Former English majors gave talks – through class visits or via Skype – on their careers, which helped associate the major with a narrative of professional plenitude rather than scarcity.

News Center Media Report for Jan. 23-30

The WFU News Center Media Report for Jan. 23-30 is now available online.

Maya Angelou and I Still Rise

Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep deep roots in American culture,” icon Maya Angelou gives people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. Angelou’s was a prolific life; as a singer, dancer, activist, poet, and writer she inspired generations with lyrical modern African American thought that pushed boundaries.

Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack’s unprecedented film celebrates Maya Angelou by weaving her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining civil rights moments.

Skillfully crafted with heart and ease, this film reflects the vibrant spirit of an American legend who was determined to live her philosophies and fought for what she believed in her whole life.

Ellis Island of the South

The Syrian refugees – about 50 in all – have fled political brutality in their home country and settled in this working-class town that has become a new Ellis Island for immigrants in a state and region which, at least recently, have turned decidedly hostile to outsiders. Indeed, since 1983, the town has accepted and helped resettle about 60,000 refugees – most from Africa and many of whom were Muslim. The locals’ hospitality has turned the community into what is considered the most ethnically diverse square mile in the U.S. Now comes another wave of outsiders – a group of Syrians that so many other places in the U.S. have spurned.

“What you’re seeing in a little town [like Clarkston and others in the surrounding area] is both people being decent and at the same time exhibiting fear of some amorphous refugee jihadist,” says Sarah Lischer, a politics and international affairs professor.