Anti-GMO Activism is at its Prime, Mate: Jane Goodall and Steven Druker in The Huffington Post

Jane Goodall and Alexander Kaufman

Jane Goodall and Alexander Kaufman

photo by Emily Labes

By Emily Labes, Associate Publicist

From the moment that Dame Jane Goodall entered the room, affably declaring that she just realized that she had forgotten to comb her hair today, she commanded the attention of everyone present. As soft-spoken as she is passionate, anyone who has had the privilege of hearing her speak will inevitably wind up as transfixed as a Kindergartener during story time.  It’s almost impossible not to pay attention when she speaks. Yesterday, during an interview with The Huffington Post, her messages were twofold and equally important: it’s time to ban GMOs from the global market, and it’s time to put the heart back in science.

The MEDIA CONNECT team has had the great privilege of working with Steven M. Druker, a respected public interest attorney, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, and author of the new book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth; How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public (Clear River Press, 2015). Druker has found a great friend and supporter in Goodall, who even wrote the book’s foreward, declaring it to be “one of the most important books of the last 50 years.” Yesterday morning, Druker and Goodall sat down with Alexander Kaufman, a reporter from The Huffington Post, and I was fortunate enough to get to sit in on the interview.

Although she spends roughly 300 days a year on the road, Goodall is incredibly generous with what little free time she does have, particularly when it’s to promote a cause about which she cares deeply. So when she graciously volunteered to donate the only free hour she had during her New York City trip to do a media appearance with Druker, we all knew how lucky we were. As soon as they embraced, it became evident how much they genuinely enjoy each other’s company and respect one another.

The pair chatted amicably with the crew as they were given mics and directions on where to look when answering questions. Kaufman dove right in, asking why Druker and Goodall so staunchly opposed GMOs, and what alternatives they would suggest to combat the problems that GMOs purportedly solve. He seemed to take an almost decidedly pro-GMO stance, but Druker and Goodall effortlessly and eloquently answered every question, recalling an impressive amount of dates, data, quotes, and anecdotes in a manner that would have impressed even the most diligent AP History students.

What struck me most was the determination with which both Druker and Goodall spoke in regards to terminating the genetically engineered food (GE) movement. Although I’ve read Altered Genes, Twisted Truth and have had many exchanges with Druker, watching he and Goodall in action renewed my inspiration in their cause. In his book, Druker argues that the marketing and distribution of GE foods is not only immoral, it’s illegal. He gives evidence, citing that even FDA scientists warned of the abnormal risks of GMOs prior to their arrival on our dinner plates. Furthermore, Druker and Goodall offered a more viable, organic alternative to every “benefit” that GMOs are meant to offer.

The chemistry between the two was also thrilling to observe. They played off one another perfectly – a lawyer and a scientist. Although Goodall is the first to admit that she is not necessarily an authority on GMOs, she offered anecdotal evidence regarding animals’ reaction to natural vs. GE feed that bolstered the argument in a whole new way, and Druker was always ready to fill in any blanks.

Kaufman took the last fifteen minutes of the interview to ask Goodall a few questions about topics other than GMOs. When asked about the gender disparity in STEM careers, Goodall gave an answer that – I have to admit – almost made me want to consider a drastic career change. She said that the issue isn’t just that science isn’t appealing to women; it’s that we are taught to think about science in a manner that is contrary to human instinct. She recalled being taught to remain cold and objective when she first started studying. She said young scientists must be trained to stray from this mentality, adding that to study science is to passionately endeavor to discover all the mysteries of our world, and to take joy that there will always be new unknowns to explore.

Related: Author Q&A: Kay Koplovitz Shares her Expert Tips for Entrepreneurs

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Author Q&A: Howard Schatz’s Books Capture 1,100 Best Images out of 4 Million


All photos credited to Howard Schatz


You have not truly seen the world until you have witnessed the illuminating photography of Howard Schatz.

The internationally critically-acclaimed, award-winning photographer is one of the most prolific artists of his time. His new two-book set, Schatz Images: 25 Years, (Glitterati, June 2015) captures breathtaking images that will fascinate those who love original, cutting-edge photographs.

Perhaps Vanity Editor-in-Chief said it best:

“Howard Schatz is so versatile that this volume at times seems like the work of a dozen photographers, Weegee, Avedon, Penn, Beaton, Newton, and Goude, among them. He has affection for his subjects—athletes, dancers, models, actors, pregnant moms, and interesting nobodies—and it shows in every remarkable image. Sometimes funny, often dramatic, he is a master both of the quiet portrait and the explosive surprise.”

Schatz_Anthology_2_Final_Page_200Schatz’s work ranges from dance, underwater studies, athletes, fashion and beauty, actors, models and their moms, motion studies, botanical, and pregnancy to “liquid light” studies.

His work has been published in 20 books and exhibited in numerous galleries and museum exhibitions worldwide and is contained in innumerable private collections. His images are regularly featured in illustrious publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Time, Sport Illustrated, Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker. Schatz has worked with such prominent clients as Ralph Lauren, Escada, Sergio, Nike, Reebok, Sony, and Mercedes-Benz, and he’s won nearly every award in his field.

Prior to becoming a photographer as he neared age 50, the scientist-turned-artist was an internationally renowned ophthalmologist and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.


The following is a Q and A with the legendary, masterful photographer:

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What to Do When You Can’t Finish a Book


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By Adrienne Fontaine, Senior Publicist


I’m in a lull. The last book that I read in its entirety was Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, which I highly recommend. Since then, I’ve been stuck on page 384 of Remembrance of Things Past, page 80 of Artemis Cooper’s biography of Patrick Lee Fermor, and page 112 of Look Homeward Angel.

It’s not a good sign when I’m reading more than one book at a time. It typically means that I’ve not been able to concentrate long enough to finish the books or that they just aren’t grabbing my attention. Proust is obviously time-consuming and verbose, but I can’t explain why the biography of a world traveler or a classic like Look Homeward Angel haven’t been able to drawn me in.

It could be that my daily news diet is making my brain too full or that TV and movies have won me over. But now I’m at an impasse.

I’ve digested all the news I can stomach and I’m suffering from sensory overload thanks to Mad Men and House of Cards. When I get in this state, I like to read literary criticism and listen to podcasts. Book reviews can keep me from wasting my time and help me discover the next book that I’ll actually sit down and read from cover to cover. Podcasts are great when I no longer want to stare at a screen and are also useful when I’m having trouble sleeping.

When you just can’t finish that book, or watch one more episode, check out some of these book reviewers and podcasts:

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Curling up with a Good Game for the Opening of Book Season


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By David Hahn, Managing Director


Isn’t Opening Day of Book Season great? The anticipation. The feel of the opening page.  The cheap ticket that still gives you in a box seat with a close up view. The promise of something great!

And the best thing about Book Season is that it never ends! Talk about the never-ending summer. Your team is always in the playoff race. If you’re suffering through a losing streak, you can switch genres. If a game is out of reach and going very badly, you can end the game anytime you want. And no one cares! You don’t have to pretend to be the coach…you are the coach. You get to pick out the team each time.

Yes, Book Season is special.

Every book offers the potential of a perfect game; a walk off home run; a twist you didn’t see coming, a rookie you’ve never heard of coming in and blowing you away with his talent. Every game offers the potential of a bicycle kick going in for a goal, a series of one touch passes building up to a perfect cross, a header going into the upper right off a corner kick, a diving save by the goalie of a penalty kick just when the game was getting a bit boring. And best of all, each game has a play you’ve never seen before!

Oh. And is it international? You bet! You can watch a game in every part of the world 24-hours a day. And you don’t need any sort of package. Sometimes the game doesn’t translate as well in other countries, but it’s there for the taking.

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To Con A Mockingbird


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By Dee Donavanik, Publicity Director


Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is perhaps my favorite book of all time. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel has become a modern classic, and rightfully so. Most of us are familiar with the adventures of Scout Finch, her brother Jem and friend Dill, and the wisdom imparted upon them their father Atticus. The book does a brilliant job of bringing attention to difficult issues such as rape, race, and inequality while telling the tale through the eyes of an innocent child. Many readers saw themselves in Scout and idolized Atticus as a hero.

So when news broke that Lee would be publishing a sequel of sorts, legions of the book’s fans, including myself, were brimming with anticipation for the opportunity to revisit our beloved characters.

According to The New York Times, “The narrative of Go Set a Watchman unfolds in the 1950s, 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird, as Scout travels to Maycomb to visit her aging father Atticus Finch.”

Not set to publish until mid-July, the book is already in high-demand. The book has earned so many pre-orders pouring in it has already achieved best-selling status.

Once the excitement died down a bit, fans started raising questions and something didn’t quite add up.

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Will ‘YouTubers’ Decide the 2016 Presidential Election?

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By Nicole Martineau, Publicist


In January, the White House announced that YouTube personalities, like education blogger Hank Green, YouTube comedian GloZell Green, and 19-year-old style and beauty vlogger Bethany Mota, were scheduled to interview President Barack Obama in the days following the State of the Union. According to The Hollywood Reporter, while Obama has been participating in Google+ Hangouts with the public, and on occasion YouTubers, for quite some time now, this is the first time the interviewers were flown to Washington, DC to interview the President in-person at the White House.

It was immediately clear that some members of the media were baffled by this new approach.

The most buzzed-about reaction came from CNN Senior White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta, who asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest the following during a daily briefing: 

Just noticing that these folks who are going to be conducting these interviews are not professional journalists, they’re people who post videos on YouTube, and I’m just curious, was ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ or ‘David After Dentist’ not available?

For those unfamiliar with those titles, “Charlie Bit My Finger” and “David After Dentist” were two wildly popular videos on YouTube, arguably the first videos to ever go viral on the Internet.

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10 “Spring Cleaning” Must-Reads

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By Cori Cagide, Publicist


Spring is almost in the air! After having our fair share of snow this Winter season, I think I can speak for everybody in the northeast when I say, “Bring on the warmer weather!”

With warmer weather and sunny skies also comes our seasonal desire to start fresh. Whether that means kicking your workout regimen into high gear for the Summer, shedding winter coats for light raincoats, or day dreaming about your next beach visit at work (not me, of course), tis’ the season for Spring cleaning!

Spring cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean swapping out your seasonal clothes or finally being able to open the windows for some fresh air without developing hypothermia – it can also mean updating your reading list. While you’re at it, why don’t you add some literature to that list that will be adapted into a movie this Summer.


Here’s my top 10 picks for must-read books for Summer 2015 (these selections were pulled from a longer list on Buzzfeed):


In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick

Okay, let me start off by saying the most important thing – Chris Hemsworth. *Swoon* Based on the book that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, In the Heart of the Sea is the true story about the tragedy that fell upon the Whaleship Essex in 1819. Twenty crew members aboard the ship left Nantucket bound for the South Pacific. While on their journey, the ship was attacked by a sperm whale, leaving the crew members to survive horrific weather, avoid starvation and disease, and rely on drastic measures to survive for over 90 days at sea. This is sure to be a Titanic-esque film, equally as exciting of a movie as it is a heart-racing read.

Release Date: March 13th

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy & Charlotte Riley

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Museum of Public Relations Founder Discusses the Evolution of PR


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Shelley Spector has been on a mission to establish and expand the Museum of Public Relations. She founded it in 1997, and recently moved into a space at Baruch College in New York City.

Our own firm has recently celebrated 50 years in the Public Relations industry, and has seen a lot of changes. We spoke with Shelley about the museum, the state of PR, and how she sees the landscape of the industry changing:


MEDIA CONNECT: Shelley, what was the motivation behind the Museum’s creation?

Shelley Spector: First, I think that it was an entity that needed to be created. Very few people truly understand the evolution of the field and especially, how the field has helped shaped our history. They might know certain names– like Bernays and Ivy Lee– but beyond that, practitioners today have little knowledge of the why and how modern PR began 100 years ago.

Besides which, unlike most professions, there are very few existing documents or records of the early days of PR, so there is hardly a way for people today to truly get a sense of our beginnings. As Harold Burson said at the museum’s opening, “Public Relations is one of the few professions with no institutional memory of its history.” I know Bernays, too, thought the same. He also felt it was important to preserve the records of that history for future generations. Bernays lived in a Victorian mansion near Harvard. Most of the first floor was lined with bookcases, and these were filled to the brim with very old, very important books, many from turn of the century social scientists. In the study on the second floor hung about 250 original photos and letters, going back to the early 1900s:  Sigmund Freud, Enrico Caruso, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Calvin Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt– a pretty impressive collection.

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Author Q&A: Kay Koplovitz Shares Her Expert Tips For Entrepreneurs



Kay Koplovitz, who founded USA Networks, served as its CEO and was the first woman to serve as the president of a TV network, is the co-founder of Springboard Enterprises, a non-profit dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs raise funds.

They raised 6.6 billion dollars over 15 years for 562 companies, including ZipCar and MinuteClinic. In 1998, President Clinton appointed Kay Koplovitz to chair the bipartisan National Women’s Business Council. She is also an honored member of the Cable Hall of Fame and the Babson Academy of Entrepreneurs.

MEDIA CONNECT is promoting her new book, Been There, Run That. Here is an interview with one of the nation’s leading businesswomen and authorities on entrepreneurship:


MEDIA CONNECT: You are among an elite group of what we call Unicorns – people who have built multibillion companies.  Your book highlights the lessons and learnings of entrepreneurs who share similar entrepreneurial DNA. How does Springboard help others?

Kay Koplovitz: Springboard has created an expert network of advisors, investors and influencers who help to guide women entrepreneurs through capital-raising and growth phases of their company all the way to liquidity. This is powerful human capital backing them all the way through liquidity.


MC: Been There, Run That, is an actionable collection of advice-filled essays from you and several dozen entrepreneurs. What is its lasting message? 

KK: There are very few technical barriers to starting a business these days, as there were when I started USA Networks but still the most precious resource driving success is human capital.


MC: You were a pioneering force in cable television, having been the first woman to found – and serve as president – of a Cable network (USA Network).  What were the drivers that led you to disrupt an entire industry?

KK: I was inspired by Arthur Clark and wrote a Master’s thesis on satellite communications in 1968 and was driven by a vision for opening up the television landscape through satellite connectivity. There were only three broadcast networks then, and I knew expecting to fight my way to the top at those companies was a barrier too high. So I had to build my own. It took seven years of hard labor to get earn my way in, but I always had confidence that I could do it. I had mentors that added much value and I truly believe that if I had had access to the advisors available to the Springboard entrepreneurs today I would have built a 10 billion dollar business.  That’s why we want to share this knowledge network with others.

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#AuthorSay: How a Simple Hashtag Propelled the Biggest Debate in Publishing


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By Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist and Social Media Strategist


Self publishing versus traditional publishing: the debate has been raging in the publishing industry for some time, and the embers of each new argument only further kindle the conversation. For most of the life of the publishing industry there was only one route to publication, but digitization forged a new path, and in doing so created a choice.

But how does the existence of an unprecedented choice translate into overall impact when it comes to the landscape of the ever-changing publishing world? All that was missing was the numbers.

Until #AuthorSay.

#AuthorSay is the hashtag created for the “Do You Love Your Publisher?” survey of traditionally published authors, created by UK-based author Harry Bingham and US-based publishing analyst Jane Friedman. The online survey aims hopes to both quantify and qualify a better understanding of authors’ experiences with traditional publishing.

The survey is only 32 questions long, and is aimed only at traditionally published authors to ask them about their experience of the business model. The survey is available worldwide until March 31st, giving authors four weeks in total to weigh in, and the results will be released April 10th in time for the London Author Fair.

The latest report released on the ongoing survey reported that more than 630 traditionally published authors have taken it. Among other results, of those 630 surveyed so far:

  • 80 percent are “happy with their cover design.”
  • 75 percent are “either neutral or horrified at the thought of taking control” by self-publishing.
  • 70 percent are “happy with the copyediting received.”
  • 50 percent “had self-published at least one title.”
  • 45 percent said they would stay with their current agents if offered a chance to move to another.
  • 31 percent: indicated that they would stay with their current publisher if that similar deal were offered by another.

While the results released so far are compelling, I’m interested in how the digitization effect, the seed that led to the catalyst of self-publishing in the first place, plays a role in the conversation. The #AuthorSay hashtag has been buzzing with authors, both self-published and traditional, who are lending their voices and opinions to the discussion.

The hashtag itself has become a microcosm for the effect of digitalization on the publishing industry. Where there once was only a traditional way to be published, there are now various avenues. Where the survey only echoes the opinions of traditionally published authors, authors of all platforms are taking to Twitter to spread their blog posts, predictions and theories.

Out of the top 300 tweets posted using the #AuthorSay hashtag so far, here are the results (courtesy of TweetBinder):

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