What Next? Pizza Hut School Of Nutrition?

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USA Today reports that a university is considering putting a corporate name on its diplomas.

"The University of Iowa is mulling whether to rename its College of Public Health after Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield's foundation in exchange for a $15 milion gift from the company's philanthropic arm," the newspaper reports.

"We're close to the tip of the sword for an AT&T School of Business or a Kodak School of Digital Communication. I can see that as not so far off," said Terry Burton, a naming-rights consultant.

The idea has ignited debate.

As Randa Safady, vice chancellor at the University of Texas, put it, "It's important that the public and we don't equate the generosity of corporations with selling out."

Dream Or Nightmare?

The heading at the top of this morning's Wall Street Journal said "Mogul's Dream," but the sale of the newspaper to media mogul Rupert Murdoch seemed more like a nightmare to some of the nation's biggest newspapers - including the Journal.

Those wanting the details should start with the Journal's person-by-person breakdown of just who within the Dow Jones organization opened the doors to Murdoch and broke down the Bancroft family's sales resistance. The power lunches, personal connections, conflicts of interest and family betrayals are worthy of their own Fox mini-series.

The New York Times takes a similarly mournful tone most of in its five stories on the subject. As Times media columnist David Carr put it, Murdoch "did not end up as the owner of one of the world's best newspapers because he is a paragon of journalistic principle." He simply "wanted it more."

The Washington Post implicitly snickers when, in the third paragraph of its story on the sale, it sums up Murdoch's media empire as including "the Times of London, "American Idol," "The Simpsons Movie," Fox News Channel, MySpace, National Geographic television and a British tabloid that prints photos of topless women."

The LA Times is the most cheerful of the major dailies, going high with the ways Murdoch will use the Journal brand to bolster his new business cable channel, beef up the Journal's editions in Asia and Europe, and position the Journal "as a head-to-head rival of the nationally circulated New York Times."

Katherine Harris' Ghost Sill Haunts Polling Stations

The New York Times has a story on the calls for reform in the way states administer elections.

The problem, according to the Times, is not actually the conflicts of interest kicked up by state election officials also frequently running for office, running campaigns or lobbying for voting machine companies, but the fact that that "perceptions of conflict of interest undermines public confidence in the integrity of the voting process."

One sentence in the story was particularly undermining: "In the last presidential elections, the secretaries of state in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio were chairmen of their states' re-election campaigns for President Bush."

Several states have passed laws to limit this kind of conflict of interest in the past year, the Times reports, but the Wall Street Journal's newsbox reminds us that there's still a long way to go.

The Journal reports that Florida voting machines remain vulnerable to tampering despite efforts to fix the flaws, and a new federal report says that states have spent just 60 percent of the $3 billion they were given to bolster voting security after the 2000 "debacle" in Florida.

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