Lawrence Pintak

The Russian airstrikes over the past week make Syria the latest potential flashpoint in the new battle for influence between Washington and Moscow. And, as Lawrence Pintak, the founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College Communication reports from Dubai, the strikes are also likely to destroy any lingering prospect of Syria re-emerging as a viable nation for many years to come.

Lawrence Pintak

The Russians are coming.

That’s the essence of headlines across the Arab world this week. And Arabs are not happy.

Remembering WSU President Elson Floyd And His Legacy

Jun 22, 2015
Washington State University

  Elson Floyd, the president of Washington State University, died over the weekend. He was 59 years old and had led the institution for eight years. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy.

With America’s impending withdrawal from Afghan, Pakistanis are shifting their focus from the U.S. role in the region to their own internal problems. At the top of the list, homegrown violence that continues to wrack the nation.

This port city is Pakistan’s business and media capital. It is also one of the most violent cities in the world. To give you some sense:  the crime log in the Express Tribune newspaper the other day was sub-titled “Grenade attacks and encounters.”

Courtesy of Lawrence Pintak

Sunday was World Press Freedom Day. Lawrence Pintak, founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at WSU, spent the day in Pakistan, one of the most dangerous places in the world for a journalist.

Altaf Qadri / Associated Press

Around the world this weekend, all eyes were on Nepal. But nowhere more so than on the Indian sub-continent. Lawrence Pintak reports from Islamabad.

Courtesy of Lawrence Pintak

It’s not about you; it’s about the story. That’s what we tell journalism students. The tragic death of “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon reminds us that even in the video selfie culture of TV news, accurate reporting matters."

Bob’s death after a lifetime covering conflict comes against the backdrop of the embarrassing spectacle of a major network television anchor caught making up war stories.

Washington State University

Washington State University

    What if there were a two-for-one sale on kilowatts? Your power bill would be cut in half -- not a bad result for your monthly budget.   

Washington State University


Here's the golden tale of, well... gold. WSU’s Rock Doc, Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, brings us up to date on a glittering rock discovered in California.

Public Domain / Wikicommons


Sandi Billings, NWPR’s Major Giving Officer, spends considerable time with generous people and regularly notices our emotional responses to philanthropy - both as giver and as receiver. Here she shares some thoughts about the giving season - and the Thanksgiving season.

Washington State University

How do you catch and prosecute someone illegally trafficking nuclear materials? You could catch them uranium-handed… except that granite also contains traces of uranium. That’s the challenge of nuclear forensics: telling what’s evidence of nuclear material, and what’s just background noise. WSU’s Nathalie Wall is a chemist who handles nuclear forensics. The Rock Doc, Kirsten Peters, brings us her story.  

Smarter Than Your Average Bear

Oct 4, 2014
Washington State University

WSU is known for its smart Cougars. But soon it could have a reputation for something else – intelligent bears. Bears that use tools, like some primates and birds. Veterinary student Alex Waroff tested the bears’ intelligence, and found some surprising results. WSU’s Rock Doc, Kirsten Peters, has the story of WSU’s bright bears.

Alex Waroff had a fantastic summer job this year. The veterinary student at Washington State University worked with faculty members as they tested just how clever grizzly bears are. What’s at issue is the use of tools.

Washington State University

A team of scientists at Washington State University is working to develop new sources for chemicals that might aid in the development of biofuel startups.  One avenue of research: poplars.  Dr. Kirsten Peters, the “Rock Doc,” takes a look.

Washington State University

While I have been dinking around for months, trying to lose five pounds, two of my friends have gotten serious about weight loss. Each of them is down 50 pounds.

I’m pleased for them, of course, and truly impressed by their accomplishments. Successfully combating overweight and obesity is one of the best things people can do for their health. It can help everything from joint pain to heart function, from Type 2 diabetes to certain aspects of mental health.

News Nuggets: Froufrou

May 5, 2014

Language is a slippery thing.  Just when you think you have it pretty much in hand, it slithers away.   

At least it has been that way for more than 200 years.


At least it has been that way for over 200 years.

For a very long time language purists have insisted on using more than rather than over when referring to quantity. 

Fussy news editor: More than 20 people were arrested.

The hoi polloi: Over 20 people were arrested.

Northwest Public Radio

Nothing could be better—or healthier—than a walk through the countryside, right?  Wrong.  New research reveals that walking briskly could be better.  "Rock Doc"  Kirsten Peters explains.

My Labrador-mix from the pound, Buster Brown by name, loves to walk with me. On the weekends we often do a six-mile walk around town or along the Snake River where Buster can be off leash (as Mother Nature intends).

A semi-naked woman in a sequined Carnival costume. A veiled woman with only her eyes showing in a niqab. Two stereotypes of two vastly different regions — Latin America and the Middle East.

On the surface, these two images couldn't be more diametrically opposed. What could the two have in common, right? What a woman wears — or what she doesn't wear, in Brazil's case — is often interpreted as a sign of her emancipation. The veil, for many, is a symbol of female oppression; the right to wear a bikini, one of liberation.

Designing Better Asphalt

Mar 3, 2014
Hitchster /

Asphalt: It’s everywhere and it’s expensive.  And its production is tough on air quality.  But a researcher at Washington State University may have a better way: asphalt made from waste cooking oil. "Rock Doc"  Kirsten Peters explains.

Dr. Haifang Wen grew up in a rural area of Shandong province, in eastern China. In his youth there were not many paved highways in the Chinese countryside.

“Lots of the roads were gravel,” he told me recently. “They were muddy when it rained. I remember riding a cow on them, or going along in a wagon pulled by a donkey.”

Intro:  The revolt in Ukraine is reverberating through other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. One of those is the tiny Republic of Georgia, about one-third the size of the state of Washington.  Lawrence Pintak, a veteran foreign correspondent and dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, is there and filed this report.

He, She or...Ze?

Jan 8, 2014

Most people speaking the English language as recently at 1980 had no notion of what lay in store for the daily vernacular.  With the digital age came swarms of neologisms: bytes, bauds, dongles, exbibytes, favicons, greps, memes….whole herds and flocks of new words and usages thundering into our peaceful linguascape.

Stay tuned.  There are more on the way.  And the driver this time is not digital but sexual.  The latest changelings are pronouns.

From the Associated Press: Nov. 30, 2013 (and picked up by newspapers around the world):

Refrain from Rinsing Raw Poultry

Oct 30, 2013
Northwest Public Radio

  Cooking is part necessity, but it’s also partly cultural. The way we cook says a lot about the societies we live in and the traditions that influence our families.  I know that a lot of what I do in the kitchen is an echo of what my mother taught me. When I crack an egg into a mixing bowl, I scoop out that last little bit of raw egg white in the shell with my finger and scrape it off on the edge of the bowl.

If you live in the U.S. there’s a 47% chance that you have a dog.  That number goes up to 56% if you live in Canada. When your dog goes on a walk with you, snuggles up next to you on the couch or tilts her head at something you say the bond between you deepens.  Here comes the heartbreaking aspect of having a dog.  They just don’t live long enough.  Dr. Kirsten  Peters, the “Rock Doc” offers some insight into why.

Church Dress

Sep 13, 2013

If you attend church services, your motivation is probably spiritual. But as a child, Northwest Public Radio commentator Corinna Nicolaou’s desire to go to church had less to do with God, and more to do with ribbon and tulle.

Corinna Nicolaou

If you're looking for a pet, you may be considering adopting one from your local animal shelter. When Northwest Public Radio’s commentator, Corinna Nicolaou decided to get a dog, she did just that. She was hoping for instant love, but discovered something more complicated.  

  Growing up, NWPR commentator Corinna Nicolaou loved CB radio. She and her childhood friend loved to pretend they were truckers driving across the country. But when she finally took a cross-country trip with that friend, she learned what it takes to earn your CB handle.

Talking with Fido

Jul 11, 2013

A Border Collie named Chaser understands far more words than the usual “sit,” “stay” and “down” that most of us teach our dogs. Trained by retired psychology Professor, Dr. John Pilley, Chaser has demonstrated comprehension of over 1,000 words.  Whether your dog is a latent genius or not remains to be seen, but the subject of language acquisition in canines has sparked the curiosity of a number of people including Dr. Kirsten Peters, the Roc Doc.

May is Motorcycle Safety Month, and you'll hear how NWPR commentator Corinna Nicolaou got her first motorbike at 11. But Corinna learned that wearing a helmet doesn't keep you from getting hurt.

Worship Directory: Corinna Nicolaou

Jan 18, 2013

You may have heard or read about ‘Nones.’ Not the type that live in convents. We’re talking about N-O-N-E, that is, the people who answer questionnaires about religious affiliation with 'none'. Though Nones may not have a religion, they wonder about God. Who, or what is God?  Northwest Public Radio commentator Corinna Nicolaou is searching for answers, but is having a hard time deciding where to start.