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Last Updated January 11, 2008

AU in the News

Showcasing AU programs, professors, students and alumni in the news
Week of Dec. 29, 2007 - Jan. 4, 2008

Copyright Protection vs. User-Generated Content
The era of YouTube and user-generated online content has created a legal grey area. A new study by American University's Center for Social Media helps shed some light, noting that copyright holders have increased their efforts to put a tighter leash on piracy, and have now put user-generated content at risk, reports the New York Times. The authors of the study, Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, both American University professors, offer general guidelines to better distinguish between what is and is not illegal, as well as suggesting that a committee be formed to create a list of best practices. (1/4/08)

Bhutto Assassination Creates Uproar in Pakistan
In the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minster of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, many question the future Pakistan as well as its relation with the U.S., WRC-TV reports. “The United States needs to keep a close eye on Pakistan,” said Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic studies and international relations at American University who was also a friend of Bhutto's. “Failure is not an option because Pakistan is an important ally. The United States has a direct interest and continues to show support and sympathy for Pakistani in this difficult moment.” Ahmed was also interviewed by CNBC, BBC, CNN International, CBC, Voice of American and many other outlets regarding the assasination of Bhutto. (12/27/07)

Politics and Pizza
American University School of Communication students are getting a first-hand look at the Iowa caucus, the New Hampshire primary and the surrounding media frenzy. WRC-TV was on the AU campus to speak to SOC students who spent the night of the Iowa caucus eating pizza and watching the play-by-play on all of the major news networks. "I think it’s groundbreaking," said AU student Shari Sangster. "This is the first time you have a woman candidate and a minority candidate out there in the lead." The students, led by AU professors Bill Gentile, Dotty Lynch and Lynne Perri, will now travel to New Hampshire for the primary. (1/3/08)

Internet-Access Courses
More and more universities are offering free online classes and lecture notes. These technological advancements have their advantages--luring students, keeping alumni updated and bringing in donors--but as Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University's drector of general education pointed out in the Washington Post, there is still a lot to learn. "[American University] is still trying to figure out, like any university, its way in a technologically and legally changed environment," said Jackson. “There are intellectual property issues to be worked out here. There are, frankly, revenue things to be worked out here. There are cultural considerations: What kinds of things are appropriate to what audiences?”(12/31/07)

End of an Era
As President Bush nears the end of his eight-year tenure, he plans to move forward with stronger agendas, but faces an equally strong-willed Congress in his final year in office. The Associated Press turned to American University professor James Thurber for insight into the last leg of the Bush presidency. “It's going to be a year of angst and struggle - more of '07,” said Thurber, a political scientist who researches relations between the two branches.
This story appeared in more than 190 news outlets.
(12/31/07)

Lobbyist Boom Diminishes
The Associated Press again looked to professor James Thurber, an expert on lobbying, as Congress prepares to enforce tougher rules that require lobbyists to present more detailed activity disclosure. Thanks to the new rules, a 10-year boom for Washington corporate lobbyists is beginning to quiet down, the AP reports. However, even with stricter rules, critics like Thurber believe there are still loopholes in the system. “They're going to be more and more creative about this,” said Thurber, who calculated that the lobbying business is the third-largest industry in Washington behind government and tourism. (12/30/07)

Campaign Course
As the 2008 presidential candidates push their campaigns into full gear, American University 's Campaign Management Institute (CMI) run by the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies rang in the New Year by showing students what it takes to manage a successful campaign. CSPAN was there for the first day of classes, covering talks by Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report and Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report. (1/2/08)

Does Iowa really have the clout?
While the precinct caucuses in Iowa have been a long-standing U.S. politics institution, with this year possibly proving to bring more power than ever to the candidates, critics argue that the state does not fully represent the nation’s opinion, the St. Louis Dispatch reports. Iowa is “completely unrepresentative of the country,” argued American University political historian Allan Lichtman, noting that the African-American and Hispanic voters represent less than 5 percent of its electorate. Lichtman also called the caucuses “a media obsession, with predictive benchmarks that don't predict.” (12/31/07)

Boomers Retiring
A demographic tidal wave will begin as the US baby boom generation, more than 80 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, goes into retirement, the Agence France-Presse reports. Leonard Steinhorn, an American University professor and author of The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy, predicts a great political shift among other changes. “It's not going to be a generation that's going to go off to the golf courses and do nothing,” he said, noting that boomers will be more aggressive in politics and that the socially conservative vote will diminish as they are replaced by younger voters. (12/24/07)


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