In Today’s Business

Finding a Grad School with Peterson’s Guides

No Peterson’s Rankings

Hire a Teacher,

Developer Dollars

Tech Transfer Awards

Latest in Degrees:

Corporate Angels

Corrections or additions?

These stories were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 19, 1999.

All rights reserved.

Television PR: War of Images

Publicists for hi-tech companies may find it difficult

to generate interest from television reporters, but Bev Aaron,

creator and producer of Philadelphia WPVI-TV’s Prime Time Weekend,

has actually built a 23-year career on the back of hi-tech entrepreneur

stories. "Television is unique; it’s a war of images," he

says. "It’s not necessarily `if it bleeds, it leads’ anymore,

but you need to have good visual documentation."

Aaron offers some strategies for getting science and technology stories

into the public eye at the annual dinner meeting of the Princeton

ACM/IEEE Computer Society on Thursday, May 20, at 6 p.m. at Sunny

Garden. He speaks on "Science and Technology: Reporting in the

Television Age." Cost: $17.50. Call 609-924-8704.

A Princeton native who glowingly recalls Einstein walking past his

family house on Mercer Street, Aaron revels in science (Darwin is

his hero). He is hardly an academic, though. He left Yale in the 1960s

to join the army’s special weapons unit during the Cuban missile crisis

and never went back. Sitting in the ivory tower, he says, didn’t seem

relevant. "I wanted to be part of the real world."

While working his way from the mail room to the documentary film unit

at WPVI-TV, the ABC station in Philadelphia, a vision for capturing

the real world on television slowly formed. "I got bored with

the typical public affairs social documentaries," he says. "I

was casting about for a new show, looking for something pretty dramatic,

and I went up to Jim O’Brien and said: Ever thought of jumping out

of an airplane?"

O’Brien, a weatherman at the station, agreed to do the parachuting

stunt on TV, but Aaron had to take the first leap. He landed with

a broken leg and a new program for the station. [O’Brien, who become

a parachuting enthusiast, died much later in a parachuting accident.]

Prime Time Weekend covered the "risk-takers" in business,

environment, medicine, and technology then, just as it does now. "We

were doing entrepreneurs before entrepreneurs were cool," Aaron

says. To him, entrepreneurs are modern-day adventurers. "`Could’

is perhaps the most operative word on the stock market and the media,"

he says.

The complex and often abstract nature of the stories that attract

Aaron makes his job as a producer a risky venture. One daunting thing

for television people reporting on science is finding good visual

material, he says. "A lot of great science stories don’t get done

because there’s no visuals to support them."

Publicists can make the television producer’s job easier with a little

preparation:

Have your visual material ready. "The media-savvy

ones always have a videotape ready for producers like me," says

Aaron. Projects associated with a university might have the media

department get the necessary footage.

If you can’t get video, he says, animate it. "Whatever it is that

you’re trying to design, come up with some visualization. There are

so many great programs now that do animation."

Use PR people. Aaron’s stories largely originate with

PR people or articles in newspapers or magazines.

Build a great website. It may sound obvious, says Aaron,

but that could be an important source for visuals as well.

Aaron adds that the fastest growing part of WPVI-TV and every

other station is its website. "Instead of becoming one of the

centers of the universe, we become one of a billion stars," he

says, humbled by the implications of the new technology. "Here

we sit in this industry and tell stories about technology, and one

of the most important stories of the century — we don’t know how

it’s going to turn out."

— Melinda Sherwood

Top Of Page
In Today’s Business

Manners Still Count

If you want to make money, try good-old fashioned manners,

says Barry Farber, a nationally syndicated conservative talk

show host with Talk Radio Network. The good ‘ol boy from North Carolina

thinks people should capitalize on etiquette. "Coming across well

and having others like you is a devious tactic, and one I recommend,"

he says.

The Mercer Chamber of Commerce has asked Farber to share his unusual

perspective as a social commentator on Thursday, May 20, at the Hyatt

at 11 a.m. Cost: $30. Call 609-393-4143.

After 40 years on the air, Farber toes a conservative line ("my

greatest interest is bringing America back morally," he says),

but his life has been anything but conservative. He spent the greater

part of the 1950s traveling in and out of Cuba, Brazil, the Soviet

Union and Hungary to cover stories of war, revolution and repression.

He speaks 14 languages (fluently) and founded the New York Language

Club. He also wrote three books, all of which draw on conventional

wisdom to help people better themselves.

"We’re all mice trying to become rats through bodybuilding,"

says the self-proclaimed moralist. His third book, "How To Not

Make The Same Mistake Once," was just released by Barricade Publishers.

He describes it as a kind of Aesop’s fables for adults; a series of

true stories about people who have destroyed their friendships, relationships,

careers, marriages, elections, and aspirations of every kind by "saying

or doing something extremely stupid." Farber says it was his mother’s

story-telling that inspired him to write the book.

Farber was born and "bred" in Greensboro, North Carolina,

where he and his brother were raised by their stay-at-home mother

and a father who worked in the clothing business. By the early age

of 14, Farber began to study Italian and, later, Norwegian and Chinese.

Farber received a BA in journalism at the University of North Carolina,

Class of 1952, where he was a boxer and a wrestler. A love of languages

and foreign affairs led him to Europe before he would seek out a journalism

career on domestic shores.

Farber’s unconventional track record landed him a job as a producer

of the Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenberg Show in 1957. "They liked

what was in my background that others didn’t like," he said. "I

didn’t just work in my local newspaper after graduating from college."

For three years, Farber lined up guests for the popular radio show

hosts before breaking out on his own. "I just gradually approached

the flame," he says, and then "I realized that I can do this

too."

Farber debuted on WINS in New York, covering every topic from the

mafia to NASA’s space program. Forty years later, Farber’s show is

still somewhat similar; he takes "whatever motivates the day"

and incorporates it into the show. "It’s a great way to make a

living," he says. "Beats plowing."

Although nothing can compete with "good breeding" (of which

Farber was a recipient), he does think people can improve business

performance through common courtesy. He offers the following simple

tips:

If you hear someone’s phone ringing, offer to hold. "You

will stand out like a volcano in a forest of Ronson lighters,"

says Farber. Don’t wait for the person to ask to put you on hold.

"There will be a subconscious good feeling in the heart of the

person that you do that for."

When calling a coworker at home, acknowledge the spouse.

"If you say `Excuse me, is this Mrs. Jones?’ all of sudden she

feels like a person and not an answering service."

Order lunch at the same pace as everyone. "Don’t let

a noticeable delay in lunch be charged to you," he says, adding

that women are often guilty of delaying lunch with complicated requests,

thereby "demoting herself from a totally equal player."

If some of these suggestions appear sexist (Farber points it

out himself), there’s a good reason: "God," he says, "is

politically incorrect."

Top Of Page
Finding a Grad School with Peterson’s Guides

Graduate school guides are traditional sources of information,

at least at the initial stages of the graduate school hunt. They give

you an overview of colleges, the programs they offer, and other pertinent

information such as financial aid and admission requirements. Peterson’s

Guides to graduate schools — produced by the Carnegie Center-based

publishing company — are a good place to start exploring your

options.

For a person seeking to go to graduate school for a degree in communications,

for instance, there is the "Arts, Humanities, and Archaeology"

book/CD duo that profiles more than 5,300 accredited programs in these

fields. It also provides advice on applying, testing, and financing

your graduate education. The CD provides in-depth descriptions of

specific graduate programs, along with the GRE test-prep software.

This 900-page softback guide costs $24.95.

If you are seeking a management degree, the Peterson’s 1999 exclusive

MBA guide to "U.S., Canadian, and International Business Schools"

provides information on more than 900 institutions with full-time,

part-time, joint-degree, distance learning, and executive MBA and

master’s level business programs. It also provides an inside track

to the job market, career options, hiring trends, and salary details.

An access advisor CD, an interactive student financial planner, comes

with the book. This 1,300-page softback guide costs $26.95.

Peterson’s also has six hardback volumes, each with over 2,000 pages,

purchased mainly by libraries and colleges. The volumes include an

overview; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Biological Sciences;

Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Agricultural Sciences, the Environment,

and Natural Resources; and Engineering, and Applied Sciences.

Each volume has a tremendous amount of information. For instance,

the sixth volume, "Graduate Programs in Business, Education, Health,

Information Studies, Law, and Social Work" covers more than 15,000

graduate programs in 126 disciplines and provides details on entrance

and degree requirements, expenses, housing, and financial aid. This

particular volume costs $39.95.

Apart from directory listings of institutions and programs, it also

has in-depth information about some colleges. For example, in the

Information Studies section, there are almost 60 colleges offering

the program that are listed but only 16 institutions "have chosen

to prepare detailed program descriptions," according to the guide.

These descriptions include research facilities, living and housing

costs, faculty, history, location, and transportation.

Information that is conspicuously absent in both the hardback and

soft back versions (with the exception of colleges that have provided

detailed descriptions in the hardback version) is living and housing

costs.

All this information is also available on the Internet at http://www.gradschools.petersons.com,

which Peterson’s claims is the Internet’s largest graduate study database.

While both the book version and the online version have their merits,

the online version is superior in one regard. It provides a listing

of colleges on the basis of location, which the book version does

not. This information is vital for someone searching for public institutions

or with a particular state preference. Searching through a list of

1,500 alphabetically-listed institutions for schools in one particular

state obviously can be quite laborious.

— Teena Chandy

Top Of Page
No Peterson’s Rankings

And No Advertising, Either

One hallmark of the Peterson’s Guides is that they are

not swayed by advertising. "The difference between advertising

and what we do is that, in advertising, you get to say what you want

and where you want," says Michael Ditchkofsky. As director

of institutional markets at Peterson’s, Ditchkofsky is in charge of

services to the universities and colleges and he presides over the

print and web-based listings that are so popular among prospective

students.

Founded in 1966 by Peter and Casey Hegener, Peterson’s

is based at the Carnegie Center and publishes books, data bases, and

software for career guidance, college choices, and recruitment. It

accepts no advertising, and it prints all of the basic listings without

charge, but it does allow colleges to buy expanded listings. Peterson’s

edits the paid-for expanded listings to conform with its style, and

it makes its own decisions about where to place the listing.

"We survey every accredited graduate program in North America

and generate a profile for every program. Schools can opt to give

additional information, but we prescribe a format and they must write

in terms of the format," says Ditchkofsky. An alumnus of LaSalle,

Class of 1981, he has a PhD in English from the University of Chicago

and has worked at Peterson’s for seven years.

A standard listing might be five inches, sharing a page with four

other institutions. An expanded listing covers two facing pages and

includes what prospective graduate students are intensely interested

in, the list of faculty members, their awards, degrees, publications,

and research interests. It also has an extensive quote from the admissions

director, which as Ditchkofsky points out, "has to be written

by the head of the program in the form we prescribe."

"The manuscript is scrupulously edited. we don’t allow anyone

to make qualitative statements, only actual viable reference information,

so readers can go compare and contrast," he says. "Also they

can’t tell us where to place it. The idea there, from the beginning,

has been that when a student is looking for a particular kind of program

they can go to one place, whatever the program happens to be called."

A college seeking chemistry majors for its graduate biology program

may request to have it put in the chemistry section, but that request

would be denied.

The data is "rebuilt" every year and changes are made as received

and "refreshed," on the website, every two weeks. "When

we decided every indepth description would go up on the web, we raised

the price of the indepth description," he says. "Later this

fall there will be a dramatic shift, and we will offer a number of

services only on the web, with no print equivalent. These services

will help the admissions directors."

"When our research department sends out a survey, the institution

doesn’t necessary know how those questions will be put together in

a profile. We mail a copy of last year’s manuscript, but we don’t

send out proofs in advance. We verify volatile data by phone."

Even though admissions directors focus their marketing efforts on

the Web, because they know that is where their students are, they

usually reply to the survey on paper, so that someone at Peterson’s

has to keystroke in the changes. So far, paper replies don’t cost

more. "We do have price incentives," says Ditchkovsky, "but

they have to do with getting the manuscript in early."

That may change next year after Peterson’s converts its editorial

database software from Signature to Oracle, a change that is taking

place company-wide. The new platform will integrate all the databases,

and the in-house programmers are being trained in Oracle.

Peterson’s is partnering with Educational Testing Service for online

application for MBA programs, including payment through Verifone.

On August 31 it will release a version for all graduate programs.

Peterson’s traditionally eschews a service that news magazines supply

— the ranking of colleges and graduate schools. "Financially,"

says Ditchkovsky, "we would make a lot more money, on consumer

publications, if we were to rank. but we don’t believe that

ranking is a valid way to make educational choices. Ranking assumes

there is one right place for every student and that all students have

the same needs and aspirations."

— Barbara Fox

Top Of Page
Hire a Teacher,

Save Some Wages

You may reconsider hiring "temps" this summer.

Several area teachers are giving up a month of summer vacation to

work in area businesses, and the Department of Labor will reimburse

employers for roughly 50 percent of the teachers’ wages.

The new program was created by both the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

and the Department of Labor to expose teachers to crucial business

skills that will, in turn, help them better prepare their students

to enter the workplace.

Although businesses can hire a teacher for four weeks for little more

than $1,000, employers are required to appoint a supervisor who will

be enrolled in a two-day mentor training program that the Chamber

of Commerce sponsors. For their part, teachers must complete an after

hours program in which they devise a way to incorporate workplace

readiness skills into classroom activities.

The program will start in July. The Chamber of Commerce is currently

accepting teacher resumes and applications by employers. Anyone interested

should contact the Chamber before mid-June at 609-989-7888.

Top Of Page
Developer Dollars

Developers and commercial lenders can compete for $6

million in subsidies under Governor Whitman’s Urban Home Ownership

Recover Program (UHORP). The program has just entered its fifth phase

and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) is ready

to review applications.

Since its inception in 1996, the UHORP has awarded nearly $275 million

in subsidy funds, construction financing, and home-buyer mortgages

to encourage the development of affordable homes in urban neighborhoods.

In that time, 68 developments, or 1,695 new homes, have been completed

or developed, and 7,200 construction jobs created.

Developments approved under UHORP are also eligible for participation

in the HMFA 100 percent Financing Consumer Mortgage Program, which

does not require a down payment for qualified buyers, says HMFA executive

director Deborah De Santis. "That means more hard-working

families, who often find saving for a large down payment to be an

insurmountable hurdle, can now become home owners," she says.

The deadline for UHORP Phase Five applications is July 15. Call 609-278-7617

or E-mail uhorp@njhmfa.state.nj.us. Subsidy awards will be

announced in September.

Top Of Page
Tech Transfer Awards

The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology

(NJCST) has just distributed nearly $2 million in Technology Transfer

Awards to nine companies, including five from the Princeton area.

"The Technology Transfer Program gives the commission the opportunity

to really accelerate the commercial adoption of important new technologies,

and get new technology-based products in the marketplace," says John

Tesoriero, the commission’s executive director. Princeton’s recipients:

EpiGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., 2005 Eastpark Boulevard,

Cranbury. Home page: http://www.epigene.com.. Based

at Exit 8A and headed by Jonathan Nyce, the eight-person firm is developing

new respiratory drugs, including the first once-weekly preventive

therapy for asthma (U.S. 1, March 17).

Ocean Power Technologies, 1590 Reed Road, West Trenton

(609-730-0400). George W. Taylor is president of the nine-person firm;

it is working on a line of power generation buoys that can convert

wave energy into electricity, for use along coastlines where access

to power grids is limited (U.S. 1, January 8, 1995).

PharmaSeq Inc., 11 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate

Center, 732-355-0100. Wlodek Mandecki is working on light-powered

microtransponders for applications in radio frequency identification

devices that have tags, attachable to objects for identification use

(U.S. 1, January 20).

Westar Photonics, 88 Canal Road, Fairless Hills 19030.

Edward Polkowski (215-736-3555) plans to move his company to Trenton;

the firm is developing a prototype system that can do "maskless"

photolithographic patterning of substrates and wafers for semiconductor

production.

WorldWater Corp. (WWAT), 55 Route 31 South, Pennington

Business Park, Pennington 08534. Home page: http://www.worldwater.com.

Quentin T. Kelly is CEO of the 20-person company working on off-grid

drip irrigation systems powered by solar energy, to be developed in

partnership with Rutgers University (U.S. 1, May 7 and October 15,

1997).

Other recipients included New Jersey Seafarms in Bridgeton,

ElectroChemical Systems in Ridgewood, Green Drop Ink Co. in Morristown,

and Sealtech Company in Weehawken. Awards are given quarterly, and

the next proposal deadline is July 13. Copies of the application may

be downloaded from http://www.state.nj./us/scitech.

Top Of Page
Latest in Degrees:

Mecomtronics

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) is offering

degree programs in mecomtronics and insurance this fall. Insurance

needs little explanation but "Mecomtronics Engineering Technology"

trains students in the essentials of mechanical, computer, telecommunications,

and electronics technology and prepares them for careers in engineering

technology.

The curriculum for mecomtronics was developed by the New Jersey Center

for Advanced Technological Education, an educational consortium bringing

together RVCC, Middlesex Community College, St. Louis Community College,

the College of New Jersey, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and

the Woodbridge School System. The program is funded by the National

Science Foundation through its Advanced Technology Education Program.

The insurance option is an Associate of Applied Science degree in

Business Management, and includes specialized courses in property

and liability insurance, personal insurance, commercial insurance,

sales agency management, and multiple lines in insurance production.

Graduates are able to work in the field as managers, customer service

representatives, claims adjusters, market researchers, product developers,

or as insurance educators.

The degree option is the result of a collaboration between RVCC and

representatives from the Independent Insurance Agents of New Jersey,

Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Hunterdon County Polytech, and

Thomas Edison State College. For information, call 908-218-8861.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

The Junior League of Greater Princeton has released over $11,000

in community grants to twelve selected organizations. The League awards

community grants to organizations serving children and families throughout

Mercer County, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

First Union Bank and the Main Street Project of Lawrenceville

awarded matching grants of up to $500 to three village businesses

to upgrade store signage.


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