ProfNet Experts Available on Immigration, Trade Secrets, Zika Virus, More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Jan 27, 2016, 17:13 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Supreme Court to Rule on Obama's Immigration Plan (continued)


  • The Zika Virus
  • Keep Trade Secrets Secret
  • Is Perception Reality in Discrimination?
  • Buckley v. Valeo: 40 Years Later


  • Digital Producer – Birmingham Business Journal (AL)
  • Web Producer – The Desert Sun (CA)
  • News Reporter and Feature Writer – The Jewish Star (NY)


  • The Rules of Engagement: Broadcast Journalists on Social Media
  • 5 New Journalism Trends to Expect in 2016
  • 5 Tips to Shoot a High-Quality Video Using Your Mobile Device

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Supreme Court to Rule on Obama's Immigration Plan (continued)

Following are experts who can discuss the Supreme Court's plan to rule on Obama's immigration actions. This is a continuation of last week's roundup, which you can view here:

Sarah Niebler
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Dickinson College
"One question to consider in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election is what impact the actions might have on the voting behavior of Hispanics. In the 2012 presidential election cycle, approximately 48 percent of eligible Hispanic/Latinos voted and 71 percent of them voted for the Democratic presidential candidate. If Obama's executive actions solidify the Hispanic/Latino vote, making it more solidly Democratic across the country (and turnout remains as it was in 2012), it is possible that North Carolina could be winnable for the Democratic Party.  If, on the other hand, the Republicans are able to cut into the percentage of votes Democrats got from Hispanics/Latinos in 2012, states like Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada could be winnable for the Republican Party. In Pennsylvania, Hispanics comprise a smaller percentage of the electorate (approximately 7 percent) than the national average, but they voted 80 percent for Obama in 2012."
Niebler's research and teaching interests are in American politics, specifically political behavior, campaigns and elections and public opinion.
Contact: Christine Baksi,

Luis Fraga
Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership; co-director of the Institute for Latino Studies
University of Notre Dame
Fraga, an expert on the politics of immigration, Latinos and American politics, says reform is necessary, but could limit executive power: "It is very unclear how the Supreme Court will decide.  At least four justices had to agree to hear the case, but we do not know whether it was the four most consistent liberals, the four most consistent conservatives, or a combination of these two groups. Because one of the central issues is about the limits to executive authority, it is likely that the court will split between the four most conservative Republicans and the four most liberal justices. That again places Justice Anthony Kennedy, who most often votes with the conservative group, but on occasion does not, in the position of being the person who will decide national policy. The primary issue to the Obama administration is how it can legally maneuver around a Republican wall of opponents to immigration reform in both the House and the Senate. It is the members who constitute this wall who prevent any vote being taken on legislation to reform our immigration system. There is considerable bipartisan consensus that some type of reform is necessary. Given the Republican leadership's unwillingness to allow a vote, the president used his executive authority to provide temporary protection from deportation to undocumented parents with children who are U.S. citizens by birth. This would provide this special protected status to an estimated five million parents of U.S. citizen children. The risk the Obama administration takes in appealing the case to the Supreme Court is that it might support the decisions of the lower courts to limit the president's authority. If that were to happen, this would be a significant limitation on the president's executive power with implications for other areas of public policy."
Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,


The Zika Virus
Mugur Geana
Associate Professor of Strategic Communications, Director of the Center for Excellence in Health Communications to Underserved Populations
University of Kansas
"I think perceived risk is the number one issue. Brazil seems a remote place for many Americans, and things happening there don't strike as having a possible impact at home. Nothing can be further from the truth. Let's not forget that we have had cases of Dengue in the southern areas of the United States and in Hawaii, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito is endemic in Mexico and the Caribbean. Those are the same mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, so we already have a fertile ground for that infectious agent to come to the U.S., mostly through travelers that have acquired the virus abroad. Nevertheless, because continental U.S. doesn't have a significant presence of Aedes aegypti, secondary transmission from those infected overseas is less likely. At least that was the case for Dengue, according to the CDC. That doesn't mean we should be less vigilant or that we should ignore this threat, especially those travelling abroad."
Based in Kansas, Geana can discuss Zika, the mosquito-borne virus affecting Brazil, media coverage of the disease, response by the government, CDC and WHO, communications as key to prevention in poverty-stricken areas and more. He is fluent in Spanish.
Contact: Mike Krings,

Keep Trade Secrets Secret
Joe Ahmad
Trade Secret Expert
Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., Houston
The recent guilty plea of former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for his unauthorized access of a protected computer owned by the Houston Astros serves as a strong reminder for businesses that their biggest cyber-weakness actually may result from a very human condition: lousy password hygiene. Correa was able to access a proprietary Astros database because he knew the password of a former Cardinals employee who had since joined the Astros. His knowledge of the password may undercut the Astros' ability to hold the Cardinals accountable for damages. Says Ahmad: "If I'm defending the Cardinals, I would definitely point out that had the Astros taken some simple steps to protect their proprietary information, there would have been no way Correa could have accessed it. Companies need to treat their trade secrets like secrets and ensure that everybody with access to them varies not only their passwords but also their password naming conventions. If the only thing you change in your password is the month, it won't take a criminal mastermind to figure it out."
Contact: Amy Hunt,

Is Perception Reality in Discrimination?
Elisaveta Dolghih
Labor and Employment Lawyer
The question at the heart of the recent U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in Heffernan v. City of Paterson is whether a city government can legally discriminate or retaliate against an employee based on a mistaken perception. In Paterson, N.J., the mayor, who was running for re-election, demoted a police detective who had obtained a yard sign supporting the mayor's political rival. The demotion for "overt" political involvement came despite the detective's explanation that it was his mother who wanted the yard sign supporting the other candidate. The court's ruling later this year could have widespread repercussions. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the position that discrimination based on a perception of pregnancy still constitutes sex discrimination. Also, the Americans with Disabilities Act expressly affords full protections to employees mistakenly regarded as having a disability. Says Dolghih: "If the court finds that retaliation based on the perception of political activity is prohibited by the First Amendment, then we may see the EEOC's and ADA's position on perceived discrimination expanded to other types of discrimination claims, such as religion, race and color."
Contact: Rhonda Reddick,

Buckley v. Valeo: 40 Years Later
Joel Gora
Professor of Law
Brooklyn Law School
Jan. 30 marks the 40th anniversary of Buckley v. Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court case that continues to have a significant impact on campaign finance law. Professor Gora was one of the original attorneys who helped to litigate the case on behalf of the ACLU and argued before the Supreme Court: "Despite ongoing issues, Buckley v. Valeo remains a landmark of political freedom. For the last 40 years, it has provided the constitutional framework for the law governing the financing of our politics and the doctrinal platform for the more recent Citizens United ruling. Both decisions have been harshly criticized, as well as staunchly defended. But their core principle -- that the people, not the government, should decide how much free speech they want and need in order to challenge the government -- remains an essential foundation of democracy."
Gora is the author of "Better Parties, Better Government: A Realistic Program for Campaign Finance Reform" (AEI Press, 2009; with P.J. Wallison) and "The Right to Protest: The Basic ACLU Guide to Free Expression" (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991; with others). Articles he has written include "The Legacy of Buckley v. Valeo," 2 Election Law Journal 55 (2003) and "Buckley v. Valeo: A Landmark of Political Freedom," 33 Akron Law Review 7 (1999). He is based in New York City.
Contact: John Mackin,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Digital Producer – Birmingham Business Journal (AL)
  • Web Producer – The Desert Sun (CA)
  • News Reporter and Feature Writer – The Jewish Star (NY)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: BROADCAST JOURNALISTS IN SOCIAL MEDIA. Are you a journalist struggling to navigate the social media landscape? If so, you won't want to miss ProfNet's next Twitter Q&A, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26. We'll be talking to one of the most interactive journalists in the country, Emmy-winning anchor Michelle Li of WISC-TV, the CBS-affiliate in Madison, Wisc. Li will discuss how she engages with more than a half million followers on social media channels. Details here:
  • 5 NEW JOURNALISM TRENDS TO EXPECT IN 2016. We rely on journalists to explain how and why the world around us is evolving, so it's only natural that the practice of journalism evolve with it. New technology and consumer behavior drive the biggest impact as shuttering broadcast and print mediums make way for digital competitors. Advancements in technology show no signs of slowing down and neither will its direct effect on journalism. Here is a roundup of insightful think pieces on what changes we can expect in 2016:
  • 5 TIPS TO SHOOT A HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO USING YOUR MOBILE DEVICE: These days, most of us walk around with HD video cameras in our pockets, so shooting a high-quality video might seem as simple as whipping out your smartphone, pointing it in a direction, and shooting. Don't press that record button so fast. Here are a handful of tips you may want to consider to make something a little more polished:


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