MacMillan show debuts

Yale’s international studies professors now have their own Internet talk show.

As part of continuing efforts to make Yale’s resources available to a wider public, the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies launched its own Internet show — “The MacMillan Report” — Wednesday at noon. MacMillan Center faculty and Yale students said that with engaging guests, the show could provide an accessible introduction to international scholarship at Yale, although a few students suggested that Yalies might not actually find time to tune in.

Each 15 to 20 minute episode, aired weekly, will feature a one-on-one interview with a Yale professor involved in the area of international and area studies, said Marilyn Wilkes, the center’s public affairs director and the show’s host.

“By having faculty interviews online and available to all, the project fits into the broader mission of the MacMillan Center, as well as with Yale’s mission, to make educational materials accessible beyond the walls of the University,” MacMillan Center Chair and Sterling professor of political science Ian Shapiro said in an e-mail.

Wednesday’s show featured philosophy and political science professor Thomas Pogge, who spoke about Incentives for Global Health, a non-profit organization he leads, and its new flagship proposal, The Health Impact Fund. The fund aims to stimulate research and production of life-saving drugs that can then be provided to patients, especially those in developing nations, at a reduced cost.

Pogge said the program could be successful, provided that it showcases a diverse group of professors and is marketed appropriately.

“It will need good branding,” Pogge said. “I think this is very possible so long as it’s well known.”

In addition to increasing access to information, the project is an attempt to push forward Yale’s increasing focus on utilizing modern technology.

The cutting-edge Anycast technology was used to shoot the high definition show said Rick Leone, the director of Yale’s CMI2 Media Team and technical producer of the MacMillan Report.

“We’re shooting the whole thing with remote cameras. This remote camera system is a good and interesting way to shoot projects like this,” Leone said in an interview on Tuesday. “Anycast has been used for [Yale’s] graduation and cost $90,000 to $100,000, so we’re looking for new ways to use this piece of equipment.”

Wilkes said she hopes the show will achieve widespread popularity, although when asked about marketing techniques, she said she has so far actively advertised the program only within the Yale community.

“I do want the rest of the world to find out about this and to enjoy it,” Wilkes said. “What I’m hoping is that it’ll become kind of viral, like YouTube.”

Wilkes added that the interview format was deliberately chosen. It seems to provide a shorter alternative to Yale’s Open Courses project, which puts full-length lectures and course materials online.

But while the seven students interviewed said the MacMillan Report sounds like an intriguing idea, three suggested that time restraints will mean that few students will actually watch the show.

“There’s just not enough time in the day,” Madison Grinnell ’12 said.

Monique Wolfe ’12 suggested that given short student attention spans, the episodes might still be too lengthy for casual viewing.

Still, the project could shake up standard reading assignments should professors adopt the episodes as part of their syllabus, as Pogge suggested they could.

This sort of assignment would be more personal —and thus more engaging — because of the Yale connection, Cristina Ruiz ’12 said.

Next week’s guest on the show will be anthropology and international affairs professor Marcia Inhorn, who will speak about the Middle East and fertility issues.

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