Making a Case for Media Engagement

For three years in the mid-1990s, I had the privilege of sending a weekly memo to thousands of readers of the Vancouver Sun on whatever topic most concerned me. Although only a small fraction of them replied (often, it must be admitted, in language that made clear their profound disagreement with my position, syntax, or gender), it was such a deeply satisfying exercise that I occasionally still seek to re-live the experience.
Last September, in a fit of pique I confessed via the comment page of the Globe and Mail that like most Canadians, I don’t have a PhD in criminology, statistics, or environmental studies, and I’m not remotely qualified to judge the validity of scientific research relating to the efficacy of mandatory minimum sentences, or the effect of mining development on the health and sustainability of natural resources.



Bill Ayers Attends Worldviews (on screen)

Just before the Worldviews Conference, outspoken US academic Bill Ayers (pictured) decided he would not enter Canada. He had been barred from the country in 2009 and was given little reason to think he would not be turned away again. But he delivered his views on democracy and the responsibility of academics to contribute to public debate anyway, via a filmed interview screened to the conference.


A platform to Analyse the Arab Spring

The Qatar-based global public television broadcaster Al Jazeera has charted what is known as the Arab Spring – the uprisings that began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt and other parts of the Arab world. But the channel, which broadcasts in Arabic and English, also gave local academics an unparalleled platform to explain and analyse events in their own region.


Australian Researchers Bypass Media to Tell Their Stories

If university researchers think that the media are “dumbing down” their field of knowledge and that important developments are routinely ignored, should they try to bypass news outlets to get their stories directly to the people?


Nuances of Brain Drain

“Brain drain” and efforts to combat it continue to be a major motivation behind a range of higher education policies worldwide. While some of those efforts have succeeded, the ability of the United States and a few other English-speaking nations to attract the best talent to their shores is likely to continue, with serious ramifications for the rest of the world.


Build Bridges Between Academia and Media

Universities and the media should be natural allies, given similarities in their social mandates, and there are many examples of how fruitful partnerships between them have enriched public discourse, Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, said in Toronto last week. But for both sectors to be globally… Read more…