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Story Ideas for Media 3/14/11


Ohio State receives $24 million grant to boost agriculture, food security in Tanzania. The Ohio State University has been awarded a $24 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve agricultural productivity and food security in the East African nation of Tanzania.
Led by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, the "Tanzania Agricultural Research and Capacity Building Project" involves a consortium of four other U.S. land-grant universities under Ohio State's leadership: Michigan State University, Tuskegee University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech.
The project is part of the U.S. government's Feed the Future (FTF) initiative, which seeks to address the root causes of global hunger by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and advancing global stability and prosperity. A nation of 35 million people, half of whom live in poverty, Tanzania – whose economy is largely dependent on agriculture – has been identified as a priority country for the FTF initiative.
"With global population exploding, and new uses for the crops we grow, this grant is critical for addressing poverty and hunger in this part of the world," said Bobby Moser, Ohio State's vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. "This grant validates Ohio State's knowledge and tools for improving global food security and contributing to poverty alleviation and hunger reduction worldwide." CONTACT: Mauricio Espinoza, espinoza.15@osu.edu, (330) 202-3550. SEE: http://go.osu.edu/tanzania


Web use doesn’t encourage beliefe in political rumors, but e-mail does. Despite the fears of some, a new study suggests that use of the internet in general does not make people more likely to believe political rumors.
However, one form of internet communication - e-mail - does seem to have troubling consequences for the spread and belief of rumors.
"I think a lot of people will be surprised to learn that using the internet doesn't necessarily promote belief in rumors. Many people seem to think that's self-evident," said R. Kelly Garrett, author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.
"The internet does make it easier to circulate rumors, but going online doesn't make us more gullible."
However, e-mail is a special case. People are much more likely to believe false rumors that they receive in e-mails from friends and family.
People seem to be wary about rumors they read on websites and blogs, Garrett said. They are more likely to check these rumors to see if they are correct. CONTACT: Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457. SEE: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/polirumor.htm

Passive news reports may lead readers to feel they can’t find the truth. Passive news reporting that doesn't attempt to resolve factual disputes in politics may have detrimental effects on readers, new research suggests.
The study found that people are more likely to doubt their own ability to determine the truth in politics after reading an article that simply lists competing claims without offering any idea of which side is right.
"There are consequences to journalism that just report what each side says with no fact checking," said Raymond Pingree, author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.
"It makes readers feel like they can't figure out what the truth is. And I would speculate that this attitude may lead people to tune out politics entirely, or to be more accepting of dishonesty by politicians." CONTACT: Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457. SEE: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/hesaidshesaid.htm


Donna James will speak at winter commencement – March 20. Donna James, national business advisor and corporate executive, has been selected to speak at Ohio State’s winter quarter commencement. Approximately 1,800 degrees will be awarded at the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday (3/20) at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Graduates and guests can find complete information on the ceremony at http://www.osu.edu/commence/.
In 2006, James established Lardon & Associates LLC, a business and executive advisory services firm, where she is managing director. She is also corporate director for several public companies including three Fortune 500 companies.
Also during the ceremony, the university will confer the Honorary Doctor of Science Degree on Solomon H. Snyder, a world-renowned neuroscientist. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Ellen Tressel, for leadership during the campaign for the renovation of Ohio State's William Oxley Thompson Library. CONTACT: Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385.

The person listed as the CONTACT will have the most current information about the story. Call on our media relations staff for help with any Ohio State story: Liz Cook, (614) 292-7276 or cook.17@osu.edu; Shelly Hoffman, (614) 247-4748 or hoffman.511@osu.edu; Jim Lynch, (614) 247-4110 or lynch.270@osu.edu; or Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385 or murray-goedde.1@osu.edu