ProfNet Experts Available on Pope Benedict's Resignation, Drone Strikes, Investor Visas, More

   ProfNet Experts Available on Pope Benedict's Resignation, Drone Strikes,
                             Investor Visas, More

PR Newswire

Feb. 13

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers and Media Industry Blog Posts

Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss
timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any
of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of
the listing. To receive updates by email, drop us a note at with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the
appropriate edition.

If you are in need of additional experts, you can also submit a query to the
hundreds of thousands of experts in our network. You can filter your request
by institution type and geographic location to get the most targeted
responses. The best part? It's free! Just fill out the query form to get

If you have any questions or need assistance with any aspect of ProfNet,
please drop us a note at


  oU.S. Postal Service's Decision to End Saturday Mail Service
  oWhy Drone Strikes Remain the Best Option in Pakistan
  oAxed Worker Takes Keys to Twitter Account
  oInterest Grows in 'Investor Visas'


  oPope Benedict XVI's Resignation
  oCredit Card Surcharges


  oCorporate Journalist – News Link (Lincoln, Neb.)
  oEconomics Writer – Federal Reserve Bank or Richmond (Richmond, Va.)
  oAssistant Business Editor – OC Register (Orange County, Calif.)


  oTips for Beating Blog Burnout
  oGrammar Hammer: The Premier Premiere?
  oHow Twitter's Vine App Will Impact Journalists



U.S. Postal Service's Decision to End Saturday Mail Service
Robert Atkinson
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
"While this decision is a step in the right direction, what we really need is
a fundamentally new postal model. The USPS should concentrate on its true
competitive advantage -- last mile mail delivery -- and open up all other
parts of the system to true and fair competition."
Based in Washington, D.C., Atkinson is the author of numerous reports and
articles on innovation, including, "Stick to the Mail: Postal Reform Means
Radical Cost Cutting, Not 'Product Innovation.'"
ProfNet Profile:
Media Contact: William Dube,

Why Drone Strikes Remain the Best Option in Pakistan
Michael W. Lewis
Professor of Law
Ohio Northern University
Lewis, who flew F-14s for the U.S. Navy and graduated from the Navy's TOPGUN
training school, wrote in a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times: "President
Obama's second term begins amid intense criticism of the drone strikes being
conducted by the United States in Pakistan. Much of this criticism is based on
claims that drones are doing more harm than good… After examining the
alternatives, it is clear that drones remain the best option available to
minimize the negative effects of the conflict on civilians while continuing to
disrupt the Taliban and deny it control of territory in the tribal areas."
(See link:
Lewis is coauthor of the book,"The War on Terror and the Laws of War: A
Military Perspective"and "Drones and the Boundaries of the Battlefield."
Media Contact: Mary A. Wilkin,

Axed Worker Takes Keys to Twitter Account
Michael McCabe
Employment Attorney
Munck Wilson Mandala in Dallas
"A United Kingdom-based entertainment retailer suffered international public
relations embarrassment when it laid off dozens of employees, including the
sole worker with access to the company's Twitter account. The fired employee
proceeded to post a string of messages detailing how the company was
discharging its workers. Terminating employees is never an easy task. It can
be stressful for everyone involved, and companies need to think through all of
the possible outcomes. Companies should make sure they're communicating a
consistent message during downsizing, and today that includes making sure
social media channels are not neglected in the communication plan."
News Contact: Robert Tharp,

Interest Grows in 'Investor Visas'
Marc Klein
Thompson & Knight is Dallas
"While the debate over immigration continues, a 20-year-old program designed
to attract specific immigration is seeing increased growth as well. Last year,
the U.S. government granted lawful permanent resident status to more than
7,000 wealthy foreign investors through EB-5 visas, nearly twice the number
issued in 2011, with more than 70 percent of EB-5 visas issued to investors
from mainland China, with substantial investment occurring in new or existing
real estate developments. A foreign national can secure a conditional resident
visa after a 12- to 18-month process, as long as several conditions are met,
including a minimum $500,000 business investment that produces at least 10
jobs. As personal wealth increases in other countries, I'm seeing the EB-5
program attracting individuals who want to leave those regimes for the U.S.,
even if they face an increased tax burden."
News Contact: Barry Pound,

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation

Following are experts who can discuss Pope Benedict DVI's resignation:

Mark Chopko
Chair, Nonprofit and Religious Organizations Practice
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young
"Pope Benedict was instrumental in addressing the way that the Church
responded to claims of sexual abuse and gave a great witness by personally
meeting with victims," says Chopko, a prominent religious organizations
attorney with the nonprofit and religious organizations practice group of the
law firm Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young. He has more than 20 years of
experience serving as the principal legal officer to the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops (USCCB), an organization that provides a framework by which
the Catholic Bishops of the United States address important issues of national
policy and matters affecting church life. He was the public contact for the
USCCB on all legal matters, including church-state, Supreme Court cases,
bankruptcy, complex litigation and bioethics. He has participated in more than
30 Supreme Court cases as counsel for the Catholic Bishops as well as other
religious groups, in friend-of-the-court briefs. In addition to his practice,
Chopko is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, where he
teaches a seminar on church-state law. He has lectured widely in the United
States and in Europe on liability trends, church-state relations, legal ethics
for church lawyers, assisted suicide and a variety of other topics, at
conferences hosted by bar associations, colleges and universities, lawyer
guilds and religious organizations. He is also the published author of more
than 40 articles on topics including church-state affairs, education,
bioethics and liability issues.
Media Contact: Jennifer L. Becker,

Michele Dillon
Professor of Sociology
University of New Hampshire
Dillon, a scholar of Catholicism, is available to discuss Pope Benedict XVI's
legacy, how he was thought of by the laity, Benedict's decision to resign, and
key issues facing the Roman Catholic Church and the next pope: "This is highly
unexpected news, although given Pope Benedict's age and his deteriorating
health, it strikes me as a very moral, courageous, selfless, and responsible
act on his part. The church and Catholics around the world are going through a
lot of changes and challenges, and its leader really needs to be in the whole
of his health. Pope John Paul II was admired by many for his tenaciousness in
the face of illness, but given the extensive leadership duties of the pope and
the mental and physical energy necessary, it makes a great deal of sense for
Pope Benedict to resign."
Other than for his resignation, Pope Benedict will be remembered primarily for
his intellectualism and his concern for the integrity of Catholic moral
teaching, according to Dillon: "As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for 24 years prior to being elected
pope, Pope Benedict was responsible for articulating and enforcing official
church teaching on highly contested issues, including homosexuality and
women's ordination. As pope, he emphasized time and again the threat against
the church and faith in general posed by the forces of secularism, especially
in Europe where he witnessed historically Catholic countries embracing
legislation extending on divorce, abortion, and gay rights. But he also spoke
out against economic inequality and emphasized the responsibility of highly
developed countries toward disadvantaged economies and societies."
Media Contact: Lori Wright,

Andrew Chesnut, Ph.D.
Religious Studies Professor
Virginia Commonwealth University
"There is a good chance the Pope's successor will be from Latin America,
Africa or Italy. There is a compelling argument for a Latin American or
African pope, with two-thirds of the world's Catholics in the global south,
and almost half in Latin America. That would be a smart choice for the future
of the church. However, Italians have missed the papacy, with the last two
popes being non-Italians, so some could fight for an Italian candidate."
Chesnut, the Bishop Walter Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies and professor of
religious studies in VCU's School of World Studies, can discuss Pope
Benedict's resignation and the future of the Roman Catholic Church. Chesnut is
an internationally recognized expert on Catholic topics and is frequently
interviewed by national and international media on Latin American religious
Media Contact: Cassie Williams Jones,

Gabriele Boccaccini
Professor of Near Eastern Studies
University of Michigan
Boccaccini says the pope's resignation is not totally unique: "Benedict XVI is
the seventh pope to resign, and his resignation in itself does not imply any
major theological change in the understanding of the role of the papacy.
Benedict XVI's resignation highlights the incompatibility between the growing
political role attributed to the pope in contemporary times (which would
require young and energetic leaders and shorter periods of rule) and his more
traditional role as representative for life of the Catholic Church. In today's
world, it is impossible to have younger popes and shorter terms without some
mechanisms of resignation."
Media Contact: Jared Wadley,

Brian Porter-Sauces
Professor of History
University of Michigan
"Because this is so incredibly unusual, it is hard to know for sure how events
will proceed over the coming weeks. I expect that the selection of a new pope
will come more quickly than usual, because the process can move forward
without the usual period of mourning over the death of the previous pope. In
many ways, the selection of a pope is like any leadership struggle, but in
other ways it is quite distinctive. There will be backstage lobbying, various
alliances will be formed and broken, and supporters of the leading candidates
will try to cajole and persuade the cardinals. But what makes the process
unique is the fact that the participants sincerely believe that God is working
through them during this moment of choice. That places significant constraints
on what they can and cannot say, and it forces partisanship to be framed
within the rhetoric of faith."
Media Contact: Jared Wadley,

Justin Catanoso
Director of the Journalism Program
Wake Forest University
On Pope Benedict's resignation: "The pope's resignation is unprecedented,
historical, and very, very practical. It is a stark recognition that the
papacy really is a job, a very difficult and demanding job. In a sense, this
move demystifies the role of pope somewhat. Pope John Paul II chose the
opposite path -- to suffer, wither and die in full public view, thus, as
commentators said at the time, demonstrating his staunch belief in the value
of all human life."
On Pope Benedict's handling of sex abuse scandal: "On this topic, the overall
church hierarchy is generally viewed negatively in its response, and there are
ongoing struggles. But Benedict very clearly and very movingly apologized
repeatedly for these abuses during his visit to the U.S. -- Washington and
Boston -- and met with victims to apologize personally. It became the defining
memory of his U.S. visit, and it seems to be largely overlooked at the
Catanoso is the former executive editor of the Triad Business Journal and
author of a book, "My Cousin the Saint," about his cousin, one of the last
saints canonized by Pope John Paul II before his death. His book deals with
saint-making, Catholicism, miracles and finding his family in Italy. It's a
testament about being Catholic in the 21st century.
Media Contact: Stephanie Skordas,

Dr. Nick Cafardi
Professor and Dean Emeritus of Law
Duquesne University
"The considerations that will be paramount in selecting a new pope are which
candidate is able to maintain fidelity with the church's teachings and present
them effectively to the modern world; which candidate can handle the world
stage that the papacy now functions on; and which candidate can manage the
bureaucracy of the Roman Curia. The challenges that await the pope are many,
as you would expect in a worldwide church of over 1.1 billion members. He must
create unity out of diversity."
Cafardi is widely interviewed regarding the intersection of faith and
politics. One of the foremost lay canon lawyers in the nation, he has
represented dioceses (Pittsburgh), archdioceses and religious orders across
the nation. He holds a doctor of canon law from the University of St. Thomas
Aquinas in Rome, and is a former member of the board of governors of the Canon
Law Society of America. An original member of the U.S. Catholic Bishops'
National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth, Cafardi served
as that board's chair from 2004-2005. He is also a co-author of the National
Review Board's "Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United
States." His articles have appeared in America, Commonweal and the National
Catholic Reporter. His most recent work, "Voting and Holiness," a collection
of essays by Catholic scholars on Catholic participation in political life,
was published by Paulist Press. In addition, Cafardi co-authored -- with
Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit – "Church Property, Church Finances and Church
Related Corporations," and is the author of "Before Dallas," a history of the
child sexual abuse crisis in the American church. Cafardi, who also speaks
Italian fluently, has been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia
Inquirer, Politico, the Associated Press, the Catholic News Agency, the Boston
Globe and the Washington Post, among others.
Media Contact: Rose Ravasio,

Miguel Diaz
Retired U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
University Professor of Faith and Culture
University of Dayton
"In making this decision, the Holy Father shows us his awareness of the grace
of living the transcendence of human life while accepting its limitations. I
feel personally happy for the Holy Father, who, like me, is a teacher, scholar
and an intellectual at heart. May he know the blessing of physical rest and
Sabbath prayer." Diaz served as United States Ambassador to the Holy See from
2009-2012. A prominent Catholic theologian, Diaz was the first Hispanic to
represent the United States at the Vatican and joined the University of Dayton
faculty last year.
Media Contact: Shawn Robinson,, or Cameron Fullam,

Daniel Thompson
Religious Studies Professor, Chair
University of Dayton
"The legacy of Benedict XVI will be mixed. I have seen that, like his
predecessor's, Benedict's project of conservative reform has attracted many
young people toward a renewed sense of their Catholic identity. Yet, for every
student so attracted by this vision, I find four or five who have little use
for a Catholicism that seems focused in this country on opposing same-sex
marriage or contraception to the apparent exclusion of all else. They do not
find in his project any plausible way of life in response to their pressing
concerns and often unspoken hopes."
Media Contact: Cameron Fullam,

Sister Angela Ann Zukowski
Director, Institute for Pastoral Initiatives
University of Dayton
"Pope Benedict XVI's resignation has set the stage for a new perspective for
contemplating roles within the church. I believe this may be one of his most
significant contributions to the Catholic Church -- not just a new perspective
on papal leadership but something about the election of future cardinals, as
well." For more than 40 years, Zukowski has served the church at the Vatican
and around the world as an advocate for global communication. She was a member
of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (Vatican) 1994-2002 and
received the "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" Medal from Pope John Paul II in Rome
in 2001.
Media Contact: Cameron Fullam,

Dennis Doyle
Religious Studies Professor
University of Dayton
"There has been a kind of long-standing cultural expectation the pope should
and will remain pope until he dies, so there is legitimately an element of
shock at this news. But there are several reasons why Pope Benedict's
retirement should not be completely shocking: First, the 1983 revision of
Canon Law makes explicit provisions for a pope to be able to retire. Second,
Pope Benedict is known for wanting the papacy to be somewhat more functional
and relatively less iconic and charismatic. Third, it has seemed for a few
years now the pope has not been the one completely in charge. When he says
that his strength is failing him, he is telling the truth." Doyle is an expert
in Vatican II, Catholic theology and the Catholic Church and author of The
Church Emerging from Vatican II. He is currently teaching at the University of
Augsburg, Germany, and is available for Skype interviews.
Media Contact: Cilla Shindell,, or Cameron Fullam,

Vincent J. Miller
Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture
University of Dayton
"Pope Benedict XVI's statement is every bit as striking as his resignation
itself. It deserves attention before talk turns to succession. This is not
simply a retirement from the hectic pace of public office. Benedict emphasizes
the humanity of the papacy and the demands of history. He humbly admits that
he no longer possesses the mental and physical strength to lead the church as
it faces 'rapid changes' and is 'shaken' by deep questions concerning the
'life of faith.' Always the theologian, Benedict is carefully refining the
definition of the papacy even as he leaves it." Miller is an expert on
religion and politics, religion and consumer culture, the U.S. Catholic
church's involvement in politics and public policy, social justice and public
policy, and the moral consequences of budgetary policies.
Media Contact: Cameron Fullam,

Sandra Yocum
Religious Studies Professor
University of Dayton
"Benedict has shown a great deal of courage in resigning. He has recognized
his limits and accepted them, and this recognition has come, no doubt, with
'prayer and suffering.' He has shown a genuine humility in letting go of his
office to allow someone physically more capable to take on the many demands of
the contemporary papacy. In this age of longer life spans for those of us with
access to medical care, he is a witness to letting go and accepting the
limitations that come with advanced age." Yocum, president of the College
Theology Society, is a well-known writer and lecturer nationally on U.S.
Catholic life and thought. Her research interests include U.S. Catholic
history and women in the Church. She's an associate professor of religious
studies and former chair of the department.
Media Contact: Cameron Fullam,

Joseph Valenzano
Communication Professor
University of Dayton
"U.S. media markets and news programs are already viewing this decision and
the consequent impending meeting of the conclave through the lens of American
politics and culture, despite the fact these practices are not in place for
the Vatican. News reporters and hosts talk about who would be a favorite, and
who are the 'candidates' for the next pope, but there is actually no public
campaign, and often the person entering the conclave as the perceived
frontrunner leaves as he entered -- not as pope." Valenzano's research
interests include rhetoric and public communication, political communication,
religious communication and culture, and communication education. He has
written about Pope John Paul II's death as a final homily and Pope Benedict
XVI's trip to Turkey. He has a Ph.D. from Georgia State University in public
communication. He teaches a course called, "Priests, Preachers and Politics:
Religious Communication."
Media Contact: Cameron Fullam,

William Portier
Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology
University of Dayton
"It is clear in making this announcement Pope Benedict XVI is attending to
both the past and the future. First, he is careful to make sure that everyone
knows his resignation is made freely in accordance with church law and that it
is his certain intention to resign on a specific date and at a specific time
so that there is no question the See of Rome will be vacant. There can be no
repeat of the Great Western Schism when as many as three men claimed to be
pope at the same time. Looking to the future, some theologians have lamented
that the church had no explicit constitutional provision for a peaceful
transition of office should the pope become unable to fulfill his duties due
to illness or old age. Benedict's decision will have increasing significance
in the future as medicine enhances human longevity and his successors with an
alternative to the precedent set by Pope John Paul II, whose own conscience
did not permit him to resign the office to which he had been called by God."
Portier is an expert on Catholic theology, U.S. Catholic history and Catholic
higher education. He has written or edited several books, and contributed
nearly 100 articles and reviews. He has been frequently quoted and interviewed
by the national press on the U.S. Catholic church, evangelical Catholicism,
church culture and young Catholics.
Media Contact: Cameron Fullam,

David Perry
Associate Professor of History, Coordinator of Catholic Studies
Dominican University, River Forest, Ill.
Perry, an expert on Medieval history and religion, is available to discuss
Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation. "When Pope Benedict XVI announced he
was retiring, the first question for many was, 'Can a pope retire? Can he even
do that?' Medieval canon law tells us that yes, he can. But medieval history
also tells us why so few popes have done so and that each retirement has had
major consequences for the Church and the legacy of the outgoing pontiff."
Perry has researched and written extensively on both historical and
contemporary issues for popular and academic publications.
ProfNet Profile:
Media Contact: Dan Armstrong,

Marie A. Conn, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Chestnut Hill College
"There is no escaping the comparison of Pope Benedict with Pope John Paul II,
whose decision was not to abdicate, a decision he no doubt made after his own
period of prayer and discernment, and one that expressed his belief that
remaining in the papal role was the best way for him to serve the people of
God. Pope Benedict's decision strikes me as very loving, and one quite in
keeping with the reality that people today simply live longer and so staying
in any position for a lifetime is neither feasible nor advisable in many
instances. Personally, I also think his decision, which strikes me as
selfless, could assure those who revere him that acknowledging the challenges
that aging brings on are quite natural, and, like all of life, are gifts from
a loving Creator. His decision, finally, shows great respect for the office
from which he is stepping down. Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints
and the Body of Christ, beliefs that tell us that every one of us has a role
to play in the life of the church. Pope Benedict is laying aside the very
public papal role and entering into a quieter ministry marked by prayer and
reflection, but a ministry that he also puts at the service of the universal
Conn received her doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame.
Her research interests include the "underside" (women's history) of
Christianity, bereavement, social justice issues, and biomedical ethical
issues. Her books include "Noble Daughters: Unheralded Women in Western
Christianity, 13th to 18th Centuries" (Greenwood Press, 2000), "C. S. Lewis
and Human Suffering: Light among the Shadows" (Paulist Press, 2008), and two
previous books of essays co-edited with Therese McGuire for University Press
of America.
Media Contact: Lisa Mixon,

Francesco Cesareo
Assumption College, Worcester, Mass.
Cesareo specializes in and has been published on the Renaissance papacy and
Catholic Church history. He is a frequent commentator for the media on issues
regarding the Catholic Church and the papacy, and holds a Ph.D. in late
Medieval/early modern European history from Fordham University. He makes these
points about Pope Benedict's resignation: 1) While this is unprecedented in
modern times, this is not the first time in Church history that this has
happened. In his book "Light of the World," the Pope has said that at any
point when the Pope can no longer carry the obligations of the office, he has
a right and an obligation to resign. Pope Benedict has put the good of the
Church ahead of his position. In Pope John Paul II's case, John Paul saw his
suffering as teaching. Pope Benedict sees the needs of the Church as primary.
2) We should not expect to see a dramatic shift in the positions of the
Catholic Church. All of the cardinals in the College of Cardinals were
appointed by John Paul II or Benedict. They will not choose someone who would
dramatically change the direction of the Church or repudiate Pope Benedict's
policies. 3) We should expect this process to move quickly. After a pope dies,
there are nine days of formal mourning. In this case, I would expect the
Cardinals to begin their Conclave early in March, since Pope Benedicts
resignation is effective Feb. 28.
Media Contact: Lorraine U. Martinelle,

Timothy Thibodeau, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y.
Dr. Thibodeau has been interviewed by dozens of radio and television stations
across the country and worldwide on the death of John Paul II and the election
of Benedict XVI, including live commentary for ABC News in New York shortly
after the pope's death. Other expertise includes: Medieval history and
manuscripts, Catholic Church (church and state, church and civil society,
church and education, religious life and orders, demise of church as
institution, sex abuse scandals in the church and impact of the church on the
presidential campaign). Interesting Note: Dr. Thibodeau wanted to be priest as
a teenager but, in his 20s, switched to academia. He has published extensively
on the history, theology and liturgy of the Church in the Middle Ages,
including a chapter on medieval worship titled, 'Western Christendom,' in the
new Oxford History of Christian Worship (2006). He has traveled throughout
northern France and Provence, and has firsthand knowledge of many of the great
cathedrals and historical monuments of those regions. His largest work was
co-edited with the French Benedictine scholar Fr. Anselme Davril, O.S.B.
"Rationale divinorum officiorum" of Bishop William Durandus of Mende (c.
1230-1296). A PDF of his CV is available at:
Media Contacts: Julie Long,, or Alicia Nestle,

Father Curt Cadorette
John Henry Newman Associate Professor of Catholic Studies
University of Rochester
A Maryknoll priest, Fr. Cadorette is the author of several books, including,
"Liberation Theology: A Reader," and spent much of the '80s and '90s as a
missionary among in Peru.
Media Contact: Valerie Alhart,

Paul Wilkes
Wilkes is author of more than 20 books, mainly focused on Catholicism, and has
written about the topic of Catholicism for many magazines, including The New
Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, America, and Commonweal.
His media appearances include "Larry King," NPR, and Religion and Ethics
Newsweekly, and he is very comfortable on camera.
Bio on Wikipedia:
Media Contact: Miles C. Daniels,

Randall "Woody" Woodard
Assistant Professor of Theology
Saint Leo University
Woodard teaches graduate-level courses in theology at Saint Leo, a Roman
Catholic institution based in Saint Leo, Fla., with educational centers
through the U.S. He is available to discuss Pope Benedict's resignation.
Media Contact: Scott Willyerd,

Brian Benestad
Theology Professor
The University of Scranton
"Pope Benedict's surprise resignation was an act of humility. Pope Benedict
did his job on a high level for eight years, and he knows how important the
job of pope is in the world, so his stepping down due to age and health is
something to be praised." Benestad, who had read Benedict's writings and often
used them in his classes, also included his teachings in a 2001 book, "Church,
State and Society: Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine" (Catholic
University Press).
Media Contacts: Stan Zygmunt,, or Bill Johnson,

Thomas Cattoi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christology and Culture
Jesuit School of Theology
Santa Clara University
Cattoi can discuss Pope Benedict's legacy and some of the views of successors
that have been discussed in Rome. He is based in Berkeley, Calif., and is
available for interviews.
Media Contact: Deborah Lohse,

Michael McCarthy, S.J.
Professor of Theology
Executive Director, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
Santa Clara University
McCarthy can discuss Pope Benedict's strengths and contributions to the
Catholic Church during the past eight years, as well as the challenges facing
the Church going forward under a new pope.
Media Contact: Deborah Lohse,

Elizabeth Drescher
Professor of Religious Studies
Santa Clara University
Drescher can discuss Pope Benedict's "substantial" legacy from a social-media
perspective for the Church. She is author of "Tweet if You (Heart) Jesus,"
about the intersection of social media and religion.
Media Contact: Deborah Lohse,

David William Scott
Pieper Scholar in Religion
Ripon College
Scott, a professor at Ripon College, a private liberal arts college in
Wisconsin, can talk on deadline about the news of Pope Benedict XVI's
retirement in historical perspective -- how this incident compares to previous
instances of popes resigning and how it reflects certain aspects of Catholic
doctrine, particularly papal infallibility.
Media Contact: Melissa Anderson,

Kevin Sullivan, D. Phil
Associate Professor and Chair of Religion
Illinois Wesleyan University
Sullivan is an expert on the New Testament and Christian origins, late second
temple Judaism, apocryphal and pseudepigraphal texts, and Christian history to
Nicaea. He has a doctorate in philosophy from University of Oxford; masters of
arts from the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame; a diploma
from Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; and a bachelor's degree from
the University of Michigan.
Publications and Presentations:
Faculty page:
Media Contact: Matthew O. Kurz,

Michael L. Budde
Director, Department of Catholic Studies
DePaul University
Budde is an expert on Catholicism and political identity, the interactions of
Catholicism and contemporary cultures, and the church as a
worldwide/transnational actor now centered in the so-called "global south"
(Latin America, Africa, Asia). Recent books include "The Borders of Baptism:
Identities, Allegiances and the Church."
News Contact: John Holden,

Patrick Callahan
Professor of Political Science
DePaul University
Callahan is an expert on Catholic social thought and the role of the papacy in
the church
News Contact: John Holden,

Peter Casarella
Director, Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology
DePaul University
Casarella is an expert on issues pertaining to the Catholic Church's growing
presence in the "global south" including Latin America and Africa, the
demographic makeup of the College of Cardinals, and the centrality of Latino
communities in the church. He also can comment on the theology of Pope
Benedict XVI and his approach to cultural diversity. He is fluent in Spanish
and German.
News Contact: John Holden,

William Cavanaugh
Professor of Catholic Studies
DePaul University
Cavanaugh is a Catholic theologian specializing in social ethics; theology and
politics; and theology and economics. Interests include the rapidly growing
Catholic Church in the global south. Cavanaugh previously lived in Chile and
wrote a book about the Catholic Church's response to the Chilean regime of
General Augusto Pinochet.
News Contact: John Holden,

Matthew Maguire
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
DePaul University
Maguire is a historian of modern Europe, especially the history of
Christianity and intellectual cultural history. He is currently writing a book
about Catholic theology and philosophy in the early 20th century and its
influence on the modern world. He is fluent in French.
News Contact: John Holden,

Thomas O'Brien
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
DePaul University
O'Brien is an expert on Catholicism and its economic, social and political
teachings, business ethics. He is a board member of the progressive Catholic
organization Call to Action. Though he doesn't expect a major shift in the
overall direction of the church under a new pope, O'Brien notes that a new
papacy may be able to more directly address various aspects of the sex abuse
News Contact: John Holden,

Alexander Stummvoll
Research Fellow
Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology
DePaul University
Stummvoll is an expert on issues related to the Catholic Church and global
politics, Vatican politics, the College of Cardinals, and papal election
procedures. A native of Austria who lived and studied on three continents, he
can comment on the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI and challenges awaiting the
future pope on a variety of national, political and cultural perspectives. He
is fluent in German.
News Contact: John Holden,

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Credit Card Surcharges

Following are experts who can discuss credit card "swipe fees" and their
impact on consumers and retailers:

Greg McBride, CFA
Vice President and Senior Financial Analyst
"There are a lot of consumers that will walk in the door, see the notice that
there's a surcharge posted, and they're not going to resort to another method
of payment. No, they're going to turn around and they're going to walk right
back out the door and they'll go down the street to one of their competitors
that does not assess a surcharge."
McBride is available to provide analysis and advice on personal finance. With
almost 20 years of experience, he has the unique ability to provide both
in-depth commentary and practical advice to consumers. He has appeared on
hundreds of national cable and network broadcasts, and is a frequent guest on
CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. He is routinely quoted
by major print outlets such as The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and
USA Today, and is a regular radio guest on financial talk shows throughout the
United States. He is also an accomplished public speaker, having appeared
before audiences at the Federal Reserve Board, Mortgage Bankers Association,
Federal Trade Commission and at the China Times Golden Cicada Awards in
Beijing, China. He is on the board of directors of CredAbility, an
Atlanta-based nonprofit credit counseling agency accredited by the National
Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Media Contact: Ted Rossman,

Charles Tran
"Consumers are king. Thanks to the Internet, social media and mobile phones,
consumers can easily compare and share with the world their shopping
experience. According to a January 2013 survey of over 700
active credit card holders, nearly 21 percent said they would not buy anything
at merchants that impose a credit card checkout fee. Small-business owners
should evaluate if it makes sense to potentially lose one in five of their
best customers by charging a checkout fee of up to 4 percent on transactions."
Tran is founder of, a credit card comparison and financial
education website. He is available to discuss credit card surcharges.
Expert Contact:

Kathy Doyle Thomas
Executive Vice President
Half Price Books
"As a retailer, just because we can now charge a fee doesn't mean we will.
Retailers are already worried about alienating our customers, and in this
tough economy, when we're fighting for every sale, we do not need any
additional reasons to deter the customer from spending money in our stores. It
is also important to note that a credit card transaction is larger, in most
cases, than a cash one, so retailers don't want to discourage people from
using their credit cards. If retailers do decide to charge a fee, educating
the customer is a concern. To be able to charge customers, the law states
retailers need to let the customer know a fee will be charged with signage on
the door, so a prospective customer walks in knowing they will pay two to
three percent more with their credit card."
Working in the retail industry for more than 20 years, Thomas currently serves
on the Global Retail Marketing Association board and is a member of NRF's
Integrated Mobile Initiative Task Force. She is also a former board chair of
the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA).
ProfNet Profile:
Half Price Books Bios:
Media Contact: Emily Bruce,

Patricia Seaman
Director of Marketing and Communications
National Endowment for Financial Education
Seaman joined the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) in April
2007, as director of marketing and communications. She is responsible for
communications, media and public relations outreach, and marketing NEFE
programs. She also supports the chief executive officer in his service on the
President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. Her recent media
interviews include Forbes, Parents, Washington Times, Woman's Day magazine,
and local radio and television. A lifelong student of personal finance, Seaman
is conversant with a wide variety of financial education topics and research,
and is available to discuss credit card surcharges and how they will impact
both consumers and businesses.
Media Contact: Daniel Malkin,

Paul Golden
Media Relations Project Manager
National Endowment for Financial Education
Golden serves as project manager for the National Endowment for Financial
Education (NEFE), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping all Americans
acquire the information and gain the skills necessary to take control of their
personal finances. Golden is the media relations manager for the foundation,
and is responsible for communications and public relations efforts. He also
serves as NEFE spokesperson and has been quoted by the Associated Press,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Detroit Free Press and Baltimore Sun.
Prior to joining NEFE in 2005, he worked as a managing editor for an online
news service and has spent time working in the financial services industry.
Golden graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, with an
emphasis in broadcast media, from the University of Northern Colorado. He is a
member of the Public Relations Society of America, the Society of Professional
Journalists and the Radio-Television News Directors Association. He is
available to discuss the credit card surcharges and how they will impact both
consumers and businesses.
Media Contact: Daniel Malkin,

Taki Skouras
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Skouras is the co-founder, CEO and CFO of Cellairis, a specialty retailer of
wireless accessories with more than 700 locations (many of which are
franchised) nationwide. He is available to discuss not only the impact of
credit card surcharges at the corporate level, but also how the individual
franchisees (independent small-business owners) will be affected. He can also
detail the strategies he has explored with his team in response to this
Considered by many to be a thought-leader in the industry, Skouras
revolutionized the retail arena by taking an emerging trend (wireless
accessories) and commercializing that popularity in a store model separate
from wireless retailers like Verizon, T-Mobile and Apple. In an increasingly
demanding marketplace, Skouras has overseen the company's growth from a
single, standalone kiosk 13 years ago to the world's largest wireless
accessory retailer. With more than 15 years of retail and operational
experience, as well as more than 12 years in franchising, Skouras is
instrumental in the operation of all of Cellairis' 700 locations and recently
led the implementation of a cloud-based POS companywide in order to improve
measurement and consistency in the customer experience.
Media Contact: Jessica Hatcher,

Greg Hammermaster
Sage Payment Solutions, a division of Sage North America
Hammermaster has 25 years of experience in banking, payment solutions and
business software applications. He is currently president of Sage Payment
Solutions, a division of Sage North America that has been providing businesses
and organizations with electronic payment systems for more than 20 years. He
was previously with SunTrust Banks, where he served as senior vice president
and managing director of the commercial card and payment solutions division.
He has also had experience with a number of online businesses, as well as with
Visa International, the world's largest card network, where he worked with
banks in the areas of online merchant services, debit, credit, and commercial
payment solutions. Prior to working for Visa, he was instrumental in
delivering Visa's first corporate and purchasing card program. Hammermaster
has presented at various industry conferences and events, including the annual
Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) Meeting & Expo and Commercial
Payments International (CPI) events, and contributed payments-related
information to numerous trade and business publications, including Business
Finance, Chain Store Age, Credit Union Journal, eWeek, The Green Sheet, ISO &
Agent, Journal of Accountancy, Small Business Computing and several regional
business journals.
Media Contact: Cynthia Sutton,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors
and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  oCorporate Journalist – News Link (Lincoln, Neb.)
  oEconomics Writer – Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (Richmond, Va.)
  oAssistant Business Editor – OC Register (Orange County, Calif.)

See more listings here.



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find
useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in
and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line at

  oTIPS FOR BEATING BLOG BURNOUT. Producing an engaging and successful blog
    means coming up with new ideas while staying energized, but how do you
    find inspiration, and generate fresh and creative ideas, time and time
    again? BlogHer's Susan Getgood shares her strategies and tips for
    generating ideas and avoiding blog burnout: 

  oGRAMMAR HAMMER: THE PREMIER PREMIERE? It's awards season, so for this
    week's Grammar Hammer, Cathy Spicer tackles the trickiness of "premier"
    vs. "premiere":

    out Vine, a video-sharing app that lets users capture a six-second video
    that loops continuously. In this week's Q&A Team column, four ProfNet
    Experts discuss how Vine will affect journalism:


PROFNET is an exclusive service of PR Newswire. To submit a request for
experts: To search the ProfNet Connect experts
database: To contact ProfNet by phone:
+1-800-PROFNET, ext. 1 To share a thought on Expert Alerts:

/PRNewswire-- Feb. 13, 2013/


Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.