In the News: MTSU experts weigh in on Confederate ...

In the News: MTSU experts weigh in on Confederate history, free speech, pandemics, music, more

National media outlets recently printed MTSU faculty experts’ perspectives on various topics, including  the area economy, tobacco advertising, political endorsements, Confederate history, pandemics and the upcoming fall semester.

Dr. Ken Blake

Dr. Ken Blake

Beka Crocket, employer relations supervisor, Career Development Center

Beka Crocket

• Dr. Ken Blake, a professor of data journalism, said retail and restaurant business in Middle Tennessee picked up prior to the July 4 weekend in a July 18 report on WZTV-TV in Nashville. The transcript is available here.

Beka Crocket, employer relations supervisor for the Career Development Center, offered advice to college graduates struggling to find jobs in a July 17 report on WTVF-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript can be accessed here.

Dr. Katie Foss, associate professor of media studies in MTSU's School of Journalism and Strategic Media

Dr. Katie Foss

• Dr. Katie Foss, a professor of media studies, was quoted in a July 15 History Channel report on pandemics. The transcript can be read here.

Foss authored an article about humor during pandemics that was posted July 27 at Her work can be read here.

Foss also commented on tobacco companies’ use of cartoons to attract young people to their products in a July 28 article in Medical Daily. Her perspectives are available here.

Kent Syler, assistant professor, political science

Kent Syler

Linda Olsen

Linda Olsen

Kent Syler, a professor of political science and international relations, assessed the impact of endorsements on political campaigns in a July 23 story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. His views can be accessed here.

Syler also analyzed the Democratic primary race between U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and former public defender Keeda Haynes in a July 23 story in Tennessee Lookout. His comments are available here.

Syler also participated in a July 30 Facebook Live discussion with WSMV-TV in Nashville about President Trump’s recent suggestion that the November election be delayed. The video can be accessed here.

Linda Olsen, undergraduate admissions director, explained how scholarships are being handled during the COVID-19 pandemic in a July 24 report by WSMV-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript can be accessed here.

Odie Blackmon, coordinator of the Commercial Songwriting Program in the Department of Recording Industry in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainmen and an MTSU alumnus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Odie Blackmon

Professor Charles Dahan, Department of Recording Industry

Charlie Dahan

Odie Blackmon, an associate professor of recording industry, moderated a webinar titled “Music, Voices and Recording in the Time of COVID-19” presented by the Association for Popular Music. The video was posted to YouTube July 25 and can be viewed here.

Charlie Dahan, a professor of recording industry, explained why Gennett Records, a quirky record label in Richmond, Indiana, didn’t last in a July 27 story in the Indianapolis Star. His remarks can be read here.

Dr. Mark Byrnes, university provost

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at MTSU

Ken Paulson

• Dr. Mark Byrnes, university provost and a professor of political science and international relations, addressed MTSU’s preparations for the fall semester in light of the COVID-19 pandemic for a July 28 article by Inside Higher Ed. His views are available here.

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center, expressed concerns about a judge’s ruling to force local journalists in Seattle, Washington, to turn over photos and videos of Black Lives Matter protests to police in a July 28 story at The article can be accessed here.

Dr. Alexander Jackson, psychology professor

Dr. Alexander Jackson

Dr. Brenden Martin, history professor and director of the MTSU Public History Program

Dr. Brenden Martin

• Dr. Alexander Jackson, an assistant professor of psychology, co-authored a peer-reviewed article on why narcissists can’t admit they make mistakes that was published recently by the Journal of Management. The research paper can be read here.

• Dr. Brenden Martin, a professor of history, said he would like to see more stories about the people who were enslaved on Confederate hero Sam Davis’ plantation in a July 30 article in the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His views can be read here.

Martin also commented on slavery as the basis for the Confederate Articles of Secession in a July 31 story by the USAToday Network. His quotes are available 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