|Sept. 13, 2007
grad, Pulitzer winner says war reporters have to dig for the truth
Hanley, a 1968 St. Bonaventure graduate, gave the opening talk for a traveling exhibit based on a new book that examines AP reports of war and other memorable stories. “BREAKING NEWS: How The Associated Press has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else,” the first book about The AP since 1940, tells the stories behind the stories that captured the world’s attention, from the civil rights movement to the 9/11 terror attacks.
The exhibit, which includes large display panels featuring photos and text highlighting different chapters of “BREAKING NEWS,” is on display through Oct. 10 at St. Bonaventure’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, where Hanley gave his talk.
Hanley joined The AP’s Albany, N.Y., bureau in 1968 and for most of the past 25 years has been a correspondent assigned to the Associated Press International Desk in New York. He has reported from 80 countries and spent 12 months covering the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
War is “an abomination, an evil,” and will one day be banished to the dustbin of history, but only if reporters are able to get to the truth, said Hanley.
For 161 years The AP has been committed to a single mission: communicating facts, said Hanley. “It’s the closest thing to a straight news source. There’s no advertising, no hyperventilating over exclusives,” he said.
But in times of war its efforts are sometimes stymied by military and government bureaucracies that want to control the story. That is the case in Afghanistan and Iraq where the military has adopted corporate-like public relations models.
“The military wants to control the story beginning to end,” said Hanley. “They’re suppressing the realities of war, which is something we need to fight against constantly.”
He said their tactics are as subtle as applying post-publication pressure on reporters and as direct as forbidding the publication of photos of wounded soldiers without permission from the soldier or his family – “a rule clearly designed to keep down the number of photos of wounded Americans.”
Asked by a student
in the audience if the media is doing enough to inform Americans about
the war in Iraq and if Americans are doing enough to inform themselves,
Hanley said no on both accounts. “I don’t think the media ever does
a good enough job, and to some extent it can’t because of some of the
constraints,” he said. “But for all those constraints, The AP does its
Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on America were remembered Tuesday in a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial on the St. Bonaventure University campus.
Some 200 students and community members fanned out in front of the stone monument and stood on the steps of the nearby Plassmann Hall academic building as University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., placed a wreath in front of the memorial.
A bagpiper opened and closed the annual service held to remember members of the University family killed in 9/11 and to pray for all those whose lives were impacted by the tragedy.
Fr. Mychal Judge, O.F.M., a 1957 St. Bonaventure graduate, became the first victim of 9/11 when he was killed by falling debris while attending to a victim at the World Trade Center in New York. Fr. Mychal was chaplain of the New York City Fire Department at the time and a beloved friar known for his outreach to all people.
The list of St. Bonaventure alumni, family members and friends killed in 9/11 numbers more than 20 and there are presently students on campus whose lives were impacted by the tragedy.
Among those who spoke Tuesday was Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., vice president for Franciscan Mission at the University, who was in New York City at the time of the attack. He said that as he made his way to Ground Zero that fateful day, he was struck by the scene of emergency medical personnel outside St. Vincent’s Hospital, waiting for the injured to start flooding in.
“Ironically, no one would come,” he said.
Br. Ed said each member of the University family has a similar responsibility to “stand ready, make one’s gifts available to those who might be in need” as he or she goes about the task of building “a good and better world.”
Think of it as a Gulf Coast relief mission, without the travel.
BonaResponds made a name for itself in 2006 when it sent some 300 volunteers to assist in the cleanup of the hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts. Volunteers have since made repeated relief trips to the region.
No less significant, however, is the service group’s continued efforts to help those closer to its home on the St. Bonaventure University campus.
Some 100 SBU students, staff members and community volunteers participated in BonaResponds’ sixth local service day Saturday, Sept. 8, working at 17 sites across the region. They painted softball dugouts, the SBU Observatory, and began cleanup of a pond area on campus. They covered graffiti in Olean parks, painted street posts and fire hydrants in a section of the city, built a wheelchair ramp at a home in Allegany, and even picked vegetables for an elderly couple in nearby Hinsdale.
“In many ways it is like working in the Gulf,” said Dr. Jim Mahar, head of BonaResponds and assistant professor of finance at St. Bonaventure. “We are helping people, and that part of it does not change.”
About a dozen SBU students spent a good part of the day at Allegany River Park, just down the road from campus. They cleaned up public restrooms, scrubbed picnic tables and weeded flower gardens. Other BonaResponds volunteers were dispatched to help at other village parks and public grounds.
“This is wonderful,” said a grateful Mark Lombardo, director of the Allegany Parks and Recreation Department. “Normally, it’s difficult to get to a lot of this end-of-the-season work because most of our summer workers have gone back to college.”
One of those working in Allegany was St. Bonaventure senior Ryan Nicole Hasper, a BonaResponds member who has twice gone on relief missions to Mississippi and who has been a team leader at a number of events.
“I joined BonaResponds because I thought that it would be a great way to help out communities and people who are in need of great help,” said Hasper. “Every trip that I have made with BonaResponds has been rewarding and quite an experience.”
It is the tangible results of its labors that earns BonaResponds its reputation, but just as noteworthy is the quiet way in which the group brings people together, said Mahar. “A feeling of camaraderie really develops during the day. From total strangers to friends happens quickly when you are working side by side,” he said.
Mahar said BonaResponds plans to do a couple of local service days each semester.
A Buffalo native and St. Bonaventure University alumna is preparing for the Western New York debut of her first documentary film on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Claudia Chiesi, Ph.D., a 1969 St. Bonaventure graduate, will debut "The Sugar Babies," a 99-minute documentary about the plight of children of Haitian ancestry in the Dominican Republic’s sugar industry, at 2 p.m. at the Sisters of St. Francis Center, 201 Reist St., Williamsville.
Chiesi served as executive producer of the film, which focuses on the history of slavery in the sugar industry, as well as the current conditions surrounding human trafficking and child labor in Hispaniola.
“The field of human rights is as significant to me now as when I first visited the Franciscan missions in Jamaica when I was a 16, and later, in 1988 and 1989. While I was working at a college in south Florida I visited the local sugar plantations and saw the impoverished living conditions of its workers,” Chiesi said.
Chiesi credits her 16 years of Franciscan education as being the foundation for her new career. Chiesi graduated from St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School and Archbishop Carroll High School in Buffalo. Following her undergraduate work at St. Bonaventure, Chiesi earned her master’s and doctorate at the University at Buffalo. Chiesi credits her career work to those in the St. Bonaventure community who taught her “to serve and to lead, as it was a big part of educating the whole person.”
Haitian author Edwidge Danticat narrates "The Sugar Babies," which was shot in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The film includes interviews with the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., U.S. State Department’s Office of Human Trafficking, Human Rights Watch, an organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world, and anthropologist Dr. Sidney Mintz. The film also features human rights activists, missionary priests and the child workers and their families.
"The Sugar Babies" was directed by Amy Serrano of Siren Studios and co-produced by Serrano and Constance Haqq. Before beginning work with Siren Studios in 2005, Chiesi served as a college president in Maryland for 10 years. Chiesi also previously worked as a college vice president for academic and student affairs in Ohio, dean of instruction in Florida, humanities professor in Maryland, coordinator for institutional research in New York and caseworker and social worker in New Jersey and New York.
“It was a natural transition from my career in higher education and social service,” Chiesi said. “It made sense to use my professional skills to engage in more direct, proactive efforts for social justice.”
The Sugar Babies will be shown at a variety of venues over the next several months. The film will have its public debut for the Washington, D.C., area on Sept. 15 at St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church in Arlington, Va., at 2 p.m. It will also be featured at the Montreal-Haitian Film Festival in Canada, starting Sept. 19.
“We will be sharing the expectations we have to improve the future for the children and their families, to bring justice to their communities and to enlighten the public regarding the dismal, inhumane conditions surrounding the business of U.S.-owned sugar companies,” Chiesi said.
There will be a $10 admission fee for the general public and a discussion will follow the Williamsville showing. Chiesi asks that guests use personal discretion, as there is graphic footage. Tax-deductible cash donations can be made. For more information, call (716) 949-1543.
Dr. Rodney Paul, associate professor of economics in the Department of Finance, had the paper "Running the Numbers on Lotteries and the Poor" accepted for publication in the Atlantic Economic Journal. The paper illustrates that lottery sales for Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 5-type games increase when transfer payments such as welfare, Social Security, Disability, etc. are paid, but sales of Pick 6 (lottery) games do not. This type of behavior by relatively poor individuals and families is shown to be inconsistent with the Permanent Income Hypothesis/Life-Cycle Theories of consumption due to liquidity-constrained consumers basing their consumption on current income rather than permanent income (wealth). Relatively poor individuals and families are willing to take transfer payment monies and gamble at poor odds (expected values of 50 cents or fewer on each dollar bet on the lottery) for small relatively small payoffs ($500 or $1,000) to temporarily increase their wealth in the near future, but still behave rationally when it comes to high-payoff, extremely low probability games such as the Pick-6 (Lotto) as the extremely low probability of winning does not encourage additional consumption on these games. The paper offers suggestions for alternative transfer mechanisms that do not encourage gambling by relatively poor individuals and families.
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) recently awarded Dr. Leslie M. Sabina, professor of music, an ASCAP Plus Award (Popular Music-Jazz) for the 12th straight year. This award is for established writers whose main activity is outside of broadcast media and whose catalogs have prestige value for which they would not otherwise be compensated. Each applicant is considered on merit and in the context of all others applying. The primary basis for panel determinations is the activity generated by each member's catalog, with emphasis on recent performances. Some of Sabina’s recent international performances include “Shoot Da Hoop” by the Concert Jazz Band of the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico (featuring NYC jazz bassist Eddie Gomez), “Motor Mouth” by the Hadano Windband of Hadano, Japan, “Blowtorch” by the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain) Big Band, and “Brazil Nuts” by the International School of Brussels Big Band at the International Jazz Band Festival in Uxbridge, UK, and the Big Band of Switzerland’s KD2 International School. Lastly, Sabina’s “Philosopher’s Walk” was heard on the TV show "Animal Planet’s Funniest Animals" in Malaysia.
Dr. Daniel Tate,
assistant professor of philosophy, participated in a week of lectures
and seminars July 7-13, 2007, on the topic "Interpreting Word and
Image" in Citta di Castello, Italy, sponsored by the Collegium
Phaenomenologicum. Tate delivered a paper titled "Retrieving the
Symbol: Gadamer on Image and Word."