News21 Voting Rights series available as e-book


October 24, 2012

A major national investigation into voting rights in the U.S. is now available in e-book form.

“Who Can Vote?” is the 2012 project of Carnegie-Knight News21, a national investigative reporting initiative funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The goal of News21, headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, is to produce in-depth, innovative and interactive investigative journalism on issues of national importance. Download Full Image

Twenty-four students from 11 universities across the country worked on the voting rights project under the direction of journalism professionals. The fellows traveled to more than 40 cities, 21 states and one U.S. territory, conducted more than 1,000 interviews, requested thousands of public records and reviewed nearly 5,000 documents. Their most ambitious effort was to gather, organize and analyze all reported cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000, building the most comprehensive database of its kind.

The finished project, launched just before the 2012 national political conventions, consists of more than 20 in-depth reports and rich multimedia content that includes interactive databases and data visualizations, video profiles and photo galleries. Portions of the project were published by The Washington Post, nbcnews.com, National Public Radio, the Center for Public Integrity and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the first month of publication, the project drew nearly 8 million page views and more than 10,000 comments on news websites as well as more than 17,000 comments, likes and shares on Facebook and more than 18,000 tweets. The results were cited on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Diane Rehm Show,” “The Rachel Maddow Show” and several other radio and television programs, and the project was the subject of a New America Foundation event on voting rights in Washington, D.C.

The e-book version of the project, published in e-pub and Kindle format, is optimized for long-form reading and viewing on a tablet or e-reader device. Readers can annotate and bookmark the publication for their convenience and reference.

The e-publication is available for download on the News21 national website at http://votingrights.news21.com/article/ebook/. Previous News21 investigations into food safety and transportation safety in the U.S. also are available in e-book format on the News21 national website.

Reporter , ASU Now

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ASU to lead renewable energy training, education in the Pacific Islands


October 24, 2012

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded $1 million over the next two years to Arizona State University’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) to provide education for solar photovoltaic (PV) energy equipment and technology to up to 12 Pacific Island nations. In collaboration with higher education institutions and other organizations, the program aims to train local capacities to support off-grid solar PV equipment installation, operation and maintenance.

This regional program is part of the five-year Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy (VOCTEC) program, a CTI-led global initiative sponsored by USAID. VOCTEC’s mission is to develop and implement clean energy training and education to the local communities. VOCTEC also addresses the need for developing a sustainable pipeline of solar PV technicians and building human capacity within the island region though its ‘train the trainer’ approach, giving operators and technicians the support system and resources to continue to educate and manage future operators and technicians. Download Full Image

“We have carefully customized the pedagogy for renewable energy in Fiji to focus on training challenges within the region which not only include educational challenges but cultural and social obstacles as well,” said Mitzi Montoya, principal investigator for the project and dean of CTI. “Building human capacity is critical to filling the energy needs of the islands now as well as sustaining the program past its duration.”

All of the Pacific Island Nations face a number of barriers to clean energy development. Of the twelve countries in the Pacific Islands region, five are classified by the United Nations as ‘least developed’ countries, and all have limited financial resources. Development of human capacity for grid-connected and off-grid solar PV must also overcome the economies of scale that the islands face as they struggle to support multiple specialized training programs. In order to provide this institutional support, the VOCTEC team identified Fiji as the centralized training hub for the USAID project. 

“This project emphasizes the United States’ increased engagement and strategic support to the advancement of clean energy in the Pacific Islands,” said Gloria D. Steele, USAID mission director for the Philippines and the Pacific Islands. “We are building local capacities to develop and sustain renewable energy infrastructure in this important region.”

Prior to receiving the grant, representatives from VOCTEC travelled to the Pacific Islands region in order to meet with renewable energy stakeholders to assess conditions and needs for renewable energy. In addition to Fiji the team visited Tonga and Vanuatu. Tonga serves as an exemplar to other nations at it has already developed the Tonga Energy Roadmap (TERM), which demonstrates a strong renewable energy commitment from the government. Only 30 percent of Vanuatu’s population has access to electricity, and while they are working to develop their own energy roadmap, they need regulatory infrastructure to provide standardized training programs.

“Global agencies continue to invest in solar PVs in the Pacific Islands region to support renewable energy and displace fossil-fuel based generation,” said Govisndasamy Tamizhmani (Mani), associate research professor at CTI and principal investigator. “The most fundamental need in that area is creation of a program that trains the trainers that can continue to turn out technicians to support systems in the field and further train operators in the application of those systems.”

The $1M USAID associate grant enables VOCTEC to deliver trainer, technician and operator trainings in the Pacific Islands region over the next two years. VOCTEC will pursue additional associate grants to expand delivery of sustainable renewable energy training programs across developing nations.

Contributor: Sydney Donaldson, College of Technology and Innovation