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ProfNet Experts Available on General Motors Recall, Science Behind NCAA Brackets, More

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

NEW YORK, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 these updates by email, send a note to [email protected] with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the appropriate edition. 

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  • The Science Behind NCAA Brackets/March Madness
  • General Motors Faulty Ignition Recall
  • Income Tax Returns


  • Business Writer - Boston Globe (MA)
  • Energy Reporter - Houston Chronicle (TX)
  • Metro Reporter - Seattle Times (WA)


  • Writing After Criticism
  • The Q&A Team: Hanging out with Melissa Carlson
  • Faster Fact-Checking, Part 2: Making Sense of Social Media


The Science Behind NCAA Brackets/March Madness
Tony Harkin
Mathematics Professor
Rochester Institute of Technology
An interesting thing to think about for this March Madness tournament is the billion dollar perfect bracket challenge offered by Warren Buffet and Quicken Loans. Says Harkin: "The odds of getting a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (that's 9.2 quintillion), That's equivalent to flipping a coin 63 times and coming up with all heads."
Harkin, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology School of Mathematical Sciences is available to discuss the science behind NCAA brackets during March Madness.
Media Contact: Susan Gawlowicz, [email protected]

General Motors Faulty Ignition Recall
Thomas Stroble
Michigan Personal Injury Attorney
Stroble Law
General Motors reached an out-of-court settlement with the family of the first known person to have died in 2005 as a result of faulty ignition systems on Chevrolet Cobalts. Families of two Wisconsin girls killed in a 2007 crash are considering a lawsuit. The automaker has declined to say how many other lawsuits have been filed. Says Stroble: "As early as 2004, General Motors became aware that Chevrolet Cobalt ignition systems were potentially faulty. GM engineers suggested a fix that year and the next, but executives nixed both proposals citing costs and lead time. After 10 years and a dozen related deaths in 31 crashes, GM has finally issued a recall of more than 1.6 million affected vehicles from model years 2003-2007. Anyone adversely affected by GM's willful neglect should seek legal counsel to address any damages they may be entitled to."
Stroble, a Michigan personal injury lawyer, is able to comment on what it takes to prove negligence in these cases, whether the ignition-parts manufacturer can also be held liable, what the legal burden is for car manufacturers to ensure product safety and what effect GM's public apology will have on current or pending litigation. (Facts collected from this NYT article:
Media Contact: David Paul, [email protected]

Income Tax Returns
Jeff A. Schnepper
Financial, Tax and Legal Advisor
Estate Planning of Delaware Valley
"Your income-tax return can inflict a special kind of pain when you make a mistake. Even a simple error can cost you time, aggravation, stress and, yes, money. So doing your return dispassionately and carefully is a must."
Schnepper is a financial, tax, and legal advisor for estate planning of Delaware Valley and operates a tax, accounting, and legal practice in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is Microsoft's MSN MONEY tax expert, an economics editor for USA Today, and tax counsel for Haran, Watson & Company. He is also the author of multiple books on finance and taxation, including all 30 previous editions of "How to Pay Zero Taxes." The book, which is a bestseller now in its seventeenth annual edition, published the revised, updated 31st edition of the popular guide that helps anyone save thousands at tax time, focusing on how to pay fewer taxes, rather than how to fill out the forms and figure out what you owe. The book is organized into six sections: exclusions, credits, general deductions, "below the line" deductions, traditional tax shelters, and super tax shelters.
Media Contact: Elena Magg, [email protected]



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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 [email protected]

  • WRITING AFTER CRITICISM. If you're a writer, you've most likely received criticism, constructive or not, and have had to do some rewriting to finalize a piece for publication and make an editor happy. But sometimes the criticism comes from the most difficult editor you'll ever meet -- you.
  • THE Q&A TEAM: HANGING OUT WITH MELISSA CARLSON. Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a TV station? Melissa Carlson, anchor and reporter for KRNV News 4, gives viewers the opportunity to find out by using Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) while being live on air Monday thru Friday. Find out how Carlson is embracing social media and using it to connect with her viewers: 
  • FASTER FACT-CHECKING, PART 2: MAKING SENSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. Social media often gets blamed for inaccurate reporting and spreading misinformation. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks can be helpful, so long as they're used responsibly:

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