Stories this week at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
October 26, 2005

EXPERT ON FEDERAL SPECIAL PROSECUTOR AVAILABLE AT WFU — Katy Harriger, author of the book "The Special Prosecutor in American Politics" and professor of political science at Wake Forest University, is available as a source for stories about Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his investigation into the White House's CIA leak case. Harriger, who has researched and written about special prosecutors since the 1980s, has conducted numerous media interviews on the subject and has testified before Congress during re-authorization hearings for the independent counsel act. Her book was published in 2000 by University Press of Kansas. It is an update of an earlier book, "Independent Justice: The Federal Special Prosecutor in American Politics," published in 1992. The first book focused on the legacy of Watergate. The second book examines the Iran-Contra case and provides an appraisal of Kenneth Starr's Whitewater/Lewinsky investigations.

Contact: Jake McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

WHO REALLY WANTS TO SEE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WING IT? — On Nov. 6, the NBC drama "The West Wing" will feature a live debate between fictional presidential candidates. In a recent interview in The Washington Post, the show's executive producer, John Wells, said the debate will feature more improvisation than a real presidential debate and that viewers should question why the real thing can't be more like the one that will be played out on the show. Alan Louden, an expert on political communication and debate at Wake Forest University, says the media are more interested in spontaneous discussion than the general public. "People are smarter than that," said Louden, associate professor of communication and director of Wake Forest's debate team. "The clamor for less structured debates comes largely from the media. The media are interested in breaking news and immediacy, so they want to see what they believe to be candidates thinking and speaking on their feet." Louden, Elizabeth Dole's debate coach in the 2002 North Carolina senate race, can provide comment about the coming episode of "The West Wing," and he can give insight on the state of debate in politics. He has been called on for expert commentary on candidates' communication strategies and political advertising. Wake Forest hosted presidential debates in 2000 and 1988. Contact Louden directly at 336-758-5408 or

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

'WE THE PLANET' BUS TOUR STOPS AT WFU — Julia Butterfly Hill, activist and author of "The Legacy of Luna," will bring her "We The Planet" bus tour to Wake Forest. She will present a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in Pugh Auditorium of Benson University Center. A booksigning will follow the lecture. Hill says her bus tours are designed to help provide young people the positive solutions and creative strategies they need to act as agents of change toward a peaceful, just and sustainable planet. Hill is known for bringing international attention to the plight of the world's last remaining ancient forests when she climbed 180 feet into the branches of a 1,000-year-old redwood tree and refused to come down. Her protest lasted 738 days.

Contact: Pam Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

HALLOWEEN MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: 'ONCE UPON A PUMPKIN' — Wake Forest will host more than 1,500 children from 40 community agencies for "Once Upon a Pumpkin," its 17th annual Project Pumpkin, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 27. The event will take place on Hearn Plaza (the Quad) between Wait Chapel and Reynolda Hall. Wake Forest Men's Basketball Coach Skip Prosser will serve as the grand marshall. Hearn Plaza will be decorated with fairy tale characters, dragons and bats. Costumed student volunteers will escort children through residence halls for trick-or-treating, and carnival games, face painting, haunted houses and other activities will be set up. Children will also have the chance to meet Wake Forest athletes and the Demon Deacon mascot. The media are invited, but the event is not open to the general public. Morning show segments can be arranged. Event organizers will begin decorating the Quad at 5 a.m. Oct. 27. Student volunteers and agency representatives can also be available for interviews during the event.

Contact: Pam Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

JOPLIN RAGTIME MAKES EAST COAST DEBUT — Wake Forest's Secrest Artists Series will present Rick Benjamin's historical re-creation of Scott Joplin's famous ragtime opera "Treemonisha" at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in Wait Chapel. This will be the first performance of this version of "Treemonisha" on the East Coast. Unlike traditional opera, the performance follows the story of an African-American community's emergence from slavery through heartfelt arias, rousing ragtime choruses and a rhythmic, snappy score performed by the 13-piece Paragon Ragtime Orchestra and a cast of 40. Benjamin, the cast and the orchestra will be rehearsing at Wake Forest Oct. 24 - Oct. 27. Morning show segments and other interviews can be arranged. Tickets are $20 for adults; $12 for senior citizens and non-WFU students; and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are available through the Theatre Box Office at 336-758-5295.

Contact: Pam Barrett, or 336-758-5237.