In the News: Morgan Wallen, libertarians, COVID-19...

In the News: Morgan Wallen, libertarians, COVID-19, food pantries, minimum wage and more

Members of the MTSU community shared their expertise with various news organizations recently on topics including libertarianism, minimum wage hikes, body mass index, stocking food pantries and three-dimensional audio, among other issues.

Dr. Anne Anderson, professor, Department of Economics and Finance, and chairholder of the Weatherford Chair of Finance

Dr. Anne Anderson

Dr. Daniel Smith, director of the Political Economy Research Institute; associate professor in Economics and Finance

Dr. Daniel Smith

• Dr. Anne Anderson, a professor of finance, and Dr. Hilary Miller, director of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, answered questions about personal finance for military families in a Feb. 1 story at Their expertise is available here.

• Dr. Daniel Smith, director of the Political Economy Research Institute and an associate professor of economics, opined that increasing the minimum wage would hurt Tennessee in a Feb. 2 editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. His views can be read here. (Paywall may prevent access.)

Smith, along with Texas Tech University economics professor Alexander William Salter, wrote an editorial warning that the Republican Party is in danger of losing libertarians by embracing Trumpism. The opinion piece was published Feb. 7 by the Dallas Morning News and can be accessed here.

Ken Paulson, director, Free Speech Center at MTSU, College of Media and Entertainment

Ken Paulson

Dr. Vaughn Barry

Dr. Vaughn Barry

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center, said a Chattanooga television station’s practice of charging mayoral candidates $1,000 each to be interviewed raises ethical questions in a Feb. 2 article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. His perspectives are available here. (Paywall may prevent access.)

• Dr. Vaughn Barry, an associate professor of exercise science, said it is possible to have a higher-than-normal body mass index and still be fit in a Feb. 2 article in Bicycling Magazine. His comments can be accessed here.

Beverly Keel, dean, College of Media and Entertainment

Beverly Keel

Dr. Danielle Brown, lecturer, Biology Department

Dr. Danielle Brown

Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, commented on country music star Morgan Wallen’s use of a racial slur in a Feb. 3 report by WKRN-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript are available here.

• Dr. Danielle Brown, a lecturer in the Department of Biology, explained the drawbacks to the use of accelerometers to study animals in a Feb. 4 story at Her views can be read here.

Dr. Jonathan "Jon" M. DiCicco, associate professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations

Dr. Jon DiCiccio

• Dr. Jon DiCicco, an associate professor of political science and international relations, explained the 1954 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Puerto Rican nationalists in a Feb. 4 article by Zenger News. His perspectives are available here.

Coach Rick Stockstill

Chris Massaro, director of athletics

Chris Massaro

Rick Stockstill, head football coach, was interviewed by WTVF-TV for a Feb. 7 report on COVID-19 protocols in the football program. The video and transcript can be accessed here.

Chris Massaro, athletic director, addressed the football team’s alleged lack of adherence to COVID-19 protocols in a Feb. 8 report by WTVF-TV. The video and transcript are available here.

Dr. Crystal deGregory, research fellow, Center for Historic Preservation

Dr. Crystal deGregory

Bonnie Baker, Songwriting faculty

Bonnie Baker

• Dr. Crystal deGregory, research scholar at the Center for Historic Preservation, expressed concern about the fragility of archives at historically black colleges and universities in a Feb. 9 story at The article can be read here.

Bonnie Baker, an adjunct professor of recording industry, explained her partnership with American Songwriter magazine for a workshop titled “Expanding Your Songwriting Skills” in a Feb. 9 report in American Songwriter. Her remarks can be accessed here.

Professor John Merchant, chair, MTSU Department of Recording Industry, College of Media and Entertainment

John Merchant

Danielle Rochelle, outreach and student support coordinator at MT One Stop

Danielle Rochelle

John Merchant, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, discussed how three-dimensional audio could change podcasts in a Feb. 10 story at His views are available here.

Danielle Rochelle, MT One Stop’s coordinator of outreach and support programs, made recommendations for people who want to start their own food pantries in a Feb. 10 article in Parents Magazine. Her suggestions can be read here.

Reporters seeking expertise from MTSU personnel, as well as members of the campus community with expertise for media, may contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Media Relations at 615-631-8322 or via email at

— Gina K. Logue (