Posted January 10, 2024

Temple news media highlights from 2023

Temple faculty members and experts routinely offered thoughtful commentary and helped lead conversations in the news media during 2023.

A student walking outside Charles Library.
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito

It goes without saying that 2023 was a busy news year. Lawsuits related to student loan forgiveness, the collapse of I-95 and the improbable resurgence of the Barbie brand were just some of the top stories that dominated both local and national headlines during this past calendar year. 

As always, Temple University faculty experts and thought leaders were featured in many of these stories, offering thoughtful commentary and helping to lead conversations around these news events and major happenings. 

According to the earned media tracking software platform Cision, the university and/or its experts were mentioned in more than 43,900 different news stories from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2023. Some of the prominent outlets in which they regularly appeared include The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Here is a brief snapshot of some of the prominent faculty expert mentions in the media from the past year. 

Temple experts hop aboard the Barbie bandwagon 

The release of Barbie in July served as a cultural hallmark of sorts in America. Baby boomers, Generation Xers and millennials alike embraced the nostalgia of the moment, donned their favorite pink attire and helped the film vastly exceed its box office projections. 

According to Dustin Kidd, associate professor of sociology and director of Temple’s general education program, there was a reason for this. 

“The key story that gets told by Barbie is a story about how the American dream is an American dream of consumption,” said Kidd an interview with the 19th. “Barbie has especially done that through the concept of the teenage girl’s bedroom — from the toys that she might have in her bedroom to the ways that she might decorate her bedroom, then to the ways in which her bedroom kind of gets extended out into her car and other spaces that are part of her world, the mall and so forth.” 

It also helps that by its very nature, Barbie is just meant to be fun. 

“Everything about this movie and the toy is fun,” said Sheri Lambert, a professor of practice in marketing during an interview with CNN. “I think people are looking to escape.” 

Temple experts discuss the impact of the I-95 collapse 

One of the more eerie and bizarre news stories of the year occurred during the morning of Sunday, June 11. It was then that a tanker truck that was carrying gasoline caught fire underneath I-95, which led to the collapse of a portion of the bridge on the northbound lane of the highway. 

The ramifications of the collapse were significant. It led to disruptions within the supply chain, major traffic challenges and questions around how the bridge would ever be rebuilt. Almost immediately after the collapse, Temple experts were discussing these pressing topics with news media. 

For instance, during an interview with the Associated Press, Subodha Kumar, the Paul R. Anderson Distinguished Chair Professor of Statistics, Operations and Data Science, discussed how it would be impossible to estimate the significance of shipping delays and higher costs as a result of the collapse. 

Questions persisted regarding how the bridge could ever be quickly rebuilt, but Mehdi Khanzadeh Moradllo, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was one of the first experts in the media to suggest that accelerated bridge construction could be a possibility. 

“Lightweight aggregate materials are just one example of how you can implement new technology and at the same time be green and sustainable,” Moradllo said in an interview with The American Prospect

Student loan forgiveness plan argued with Supreme Court 

In February, the Supreme Court heard arguments related to two lawsuits that challenged President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. 

The cases drew national attention, and there were a number of questions surrounding how the Supreme Court’s ruling would affect people who currently have federal student loans. 

Mark Rahdert, a professor of law, touched on the complexities behind the case, both in a Temple Now piece and in conversations with mainstream media members. The individual borrowers' claim “is essentially that they should get something that someone else got, or if they can't get it, then no one else should get it either,” Rahdert said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal

Michael Jordan and the revolution of the sneaker industry 

When the film Air, which chronicled the rise of Nike, was released in April, it brought with it a fascination wtih sneaker culture, fashion and athlete endorsement deals. 

Members of the general public were curious as to how Michael Jordan seemed to singlehandedly propel Nike into the world’s largest athletic apparel company, and Thilo Kunkel, an associate professor at the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, was there to provide the needed context

“[Michael Jordan is] not the underdog compared to the everyday person, but he’s still someone people can relate to,” said Kunkel in an interview with the New York Times. 

Kunkel’s commentary on the topic also appeared in prominent international outlets, including Marca, China Daily and The Mirror.