ProfNet Experts Available on Ted Cruz, Voting Technology, Zika Virus, More

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

Feb 03, 2016, 15:22 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 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:


  • Ted Cruz Not Eligible to Serve as President
  • Voting Machine Technology
  • Modern Investigative Technology Crucial in Government Investigations
  • Aliens, History, Religion and 'The X-Files'
  • Zika Virus
  • The Zika Virus and Its Spread


  • Sports Editor – Albert Lea Tribune (MN)
  • Deputy Metro Editor – Hartford Courant (CT)
  • County Government Reporter – Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)


  • Broadcast Journalists and Social Media: The Rules of Engagement
  • 6 Ways to Localize 2016 Presidential Campaign Coverage for Your Audience
  • Journalist Spotlight: Alex Kasprak, BuzzFeed


Ted Cruz Not Eligible to Serve as President
Therese Cingranelli
Adjunct Lecturer
Binghamton University
There is renewed debate regarding the eligibility of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz -- born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father -- to serve as president of the United States. Cruz has cited the U.S. Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790, and the Naturalization Act of 1795 as the basis of his claim that he is eligible to run for and serve as president. According to Cingranelli, Cruz's case is weak, since only natural-born citizens of the United States can serve as president: "Cruz was born in Canada, but our neighboring country to the north is not a territory, military base, or embassy of the United States. Before he could become president, a new law would have to be enacted. Until that happens, Cruz may run for president. He just can't serve as president."
Contact: John Brhel,

Voting Machine Technology
Suzanne Mello-Stark, Ph.D.
Computer Science Faculty
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
"Each election, voters rely on machines from proprietary vendors to carry out democracy. We cast our vote and walk away with little to no evidence that our vote has been counted. In my opinion, this is an exciting problem that has yet to be solved."
Based in Worcester, Mass., Mello-Stark is available to discuss voting machine technology; voting machine vulnerability; election auditing (forensics); digital and cyber security of voting machines and their data; public trust in elections; voting security and privacy; trends in and concerns with new and old voting technology; cybersecurity training; and the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program. Mello-Stark has served as a technical advisor to various election board.
Contact: Alison Duffy,

Modern Investigative Technology Crucial in Government Investigations
Thomas D. Coogan
Associate Dean for Forensics, Director of the Stevenson University for Forensic Excellence, Department Chair and Professor of Forensic Studies
Stevenson University, School of Graduate and Professional Studies
"The explosion of email and mobile device communications has resulted in today's internal government investigations requiring careful planning and aggressive utilization of investigative technology. Whether it's a congressional oversight committee looking into how a former secretary of state handled sensitive email, or an inspector general auditing or investigating if a government contracting officer took a bribe, today's internal government investigators need to have the technical and analytical skills to find the incriminating needle in a haystack of electronic communications. Common frauds against the government, such as contractors who overcharge for their goods or services or grantees who misappropriate taxpayer dollars, involve massive amounts of data. The only effective way to conduct a timely and effective internal investigation is to know how to use modern investigative technology."
Based in Baltimore, Coogan has more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement (various Federal Offices of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service), as a federal judicial law clerk, law associate (Venable and Whiteford Taylor), U.S. Department of Justice, and in various agency positions (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, U.S. Postal Service, and Legal Services Corporation). He has testified at congressional hearings on various topics, and has contributed articles to the Journal of Public Inquiry, Fraud Magazine and other publications. He received his law degree and master's in forensic science from Antioch College, and a bachelor's from Hamilton College, then attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and U.S. Secret Service Academy. He is licensed to practice law in New Hampshire, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is a frequent presenter at educational events and symposiums, and is comfortable with live or taped interviews, video and photography. He can discuss white-collar crime, fraud and embezzlement, as well as internal government investigations. He can also provide legal perspective on congressional investigations or involvement in cases or investigations through inspector general offices or other law enforcement agencies.
Contact: Kristi Betz,

Aliens, History, Religion and 'The X-Files'
Joseph Packer
Assistant Professor
Central Michigan University
"Most people think that it's important one way or another whether alien life exists. If there is no alien life, we have a special place in the universe. We have a purpose. It's a component of some major religions, like Scientology. Mormonism has a big component about aliens. Raëlism, which is a big UFO-based religion primarily based in Europe, is another example. There also are connections with Nazism in the early UFO movement that few people know about."
Packer, communication faculty member and author of "Alien Life and Human Purpose: A Rhetorical Examination Through History," is available to speak about the way major historical figures connect their arguments for the absence of alien life, or "unity," to their philosophical, religious, and ethical agendas -- giving a unique, historical perspective to the scenes you might see during this season's "The X-Files."
Contact: Rachel Esterline Perkins,

Zika Virus
Thomas Voss, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Discovery Biology, and Senior Director, Infectious Disease Research
SRI Biosciences
"Recent recognition of the potential role of Zika infection in microcephaly among babies born to mothers that had Zika infection highlights the need for more intensive focus on 'special populations' that may be particularly vulnerable to negative outcomes from emerging infectious diseases, such as those with underlying disease or special health status such as pregnancy. The rapid expansion of Zika virus-infected mosquitos, and the frequent travel of people and products into and out of endemic areas, significantly heightens the need for increased surveillance, diagnostics and vaccines for Zika and other, related viruses to protect these special populations."
Dr. Voss is a world-renowned thought leader in infectious disease research, and has deep expertise in virology, immunology, biodefense, and vaccine and antiviral development. His team at SRI Biosciences has already begun directing their expertise and unique tools toward the evaluation of treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics against Zika virus. From 1998 to 2005, Dr. Voss served as vice president of the Homeland Security and Emerging Infectious Disease Division at Southern Research Institute. His postdoctoral training in viral pathogenesis was completed in the Special Pathogens Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He can discuss the process involved in identifying diagnostics, vaccines and treatments when starting with an emerging threat such as Zika, including what resources are required, what are the steps, and what timeline we can expect.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Michele Parisi,

The Zika Virus and Its Spread
Rik Heller
Chairman and Founder
Freshloc Technologies and Wello Inc.
"Fever screening is a more important capability than ever in times like these. In addition, humidity monitoring could make a difference."
Heller can discuss the Zika virus and its spread, including how hospitals and public food services can prevent infectious disease, and how temperature monitoring helped prevent the spread of Ebola virus in Dallas.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Jeannie Lewis,


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:

  • Sports Editor – Albert Lea Tribune (MN)
  • Deputy Metro Editor – Hartford Courant (CT)
  • County Government Reporter – Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)


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.

  • BROADCAST JOURNALISTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Anchors, reporters, producers and photographers in television newsrooms across the country increasingly rely on social media in rather innovative ways to engage with viewers and gather elements for stories. We recently hosted a Twitter Q&A with Emmy Award-winning anchor Michelle Li of WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wisc. Li shared her insight on how broadcasters use the tools on the job and offered tips on using social media platforms:
  • 6 WAYS TO LOCALIZE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN COVERAGE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. It's an all too common tale for today's media. Newsrooms are changing. Technology is being pushed to the forefront. All the while budgets are tightening. So for those covering the 2016 election, finding the funds to send front-line staff may be out of the question – especially for smaller news organizations. But just because you're not on the campaign trail doesn't mean you don't have an interesting story to tell. If anything, telling the untold stories of your community may be the most distinctive – and most relevant – to your audience. Here are six ways to give your audience smart and meaningful coverage from your home seat:
  • JOURNALIST SPOTLIGHT: ALEX KASPRAK, BUZZFEED. For this month's Journalist Spotlight feature, we caught up with Alex Kasprak, a science writer with BuzzFeed, who gave us some insight into his daily work life:

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