Spotlight: Dan Borné

Dan Borne'
Dan Borné

Dan Borné is known as the “voice of LSU” for his role in calling LSU football games for more than 30 years; however, his support of LSU goes beyond lending his voice to the Tigers. He is an ardent supporter of the Manship School, a master’s graduate and a Manship School Hall of Fame inductee who graciously agreed to share behind-the-scenes details of his work for LSU and his life:

Interviewer: You’re known for being the voice of LSU. Can you give us some details that people don’t usually know about your role?

Borné: Lots of folks I’ve spoken with think it’s a really tough job. But it really isn’t. All I do is call the plays after the team runs them! My two spotters help me a lot with jersey numbers and names. They’re both from the Manship School: graduates Chelsea Brasted and Sarah Laborde. The guys don’t want to spot. They want to coach.

Can you share a bit about the journey that your career took you on through the years?

I began writing sports for the local newspaper in Thibodaux when I was a junior in high school and did radio play-by-play for Nicholls baseball for all four years that I attended school there. But I really wanted to be a history professor and sports reporting was sort of a hobby. I came to graduate school in history in 1968 and applied for a job at Channel Nine. I got it and began doing news and sports, covering LSU sports and legislative stuff. I eventually decided that I wanted to pursue a master’s from the Manship School.

What brought you to the Manship School to get your master’s degree?

I met with Dr. A. O. Goldsmith, the head of the J-school and he encouraged me to enroll in graduate school for a master’s in journalism. That’s how it began. And it ended 30 years later, in 1998 when I got my master’s from what had become the Manship School. I went to graduate school off and on over those three decades but settled into finishing the degree in 1998.

How did you use the master’s degree you earned at the Manship School?

I took a ton of courses in my 30-year quest for a master’s, and so many of them helped me in my career, be they courses in research, feature writing, law, foreign press and the like. There was always something from the J-school classroom that I could apply to my jobs in media, education, government, public affairs, industry and in my ministry as a Catholic deacon.

You’re very involved with the Manship School and serve on the Board of Visitors. Why is it important to you to remain involved?

It’s important to keep in touch with colleagues who are successful in their careers and it’s equally important to help assure Manship is preparing young people for the careers that are out there now and those on the horizon.

What do you hope to accomplish on the Board of Visitors?

The school needs support from its graduates and from professionals who seek to hire our graduates. Engineering has its supporters, Business has its supporters and so does Manship. Our Board of Visitors hopes to keep that support solid.

What is the most rewarding part of being involved in the Manship School today?

Just seeing how it’s grown and how well it’s preparing young people for exciting careers in media and related fields.

History & Modern Politics Share Partisan Commitments, New Research Finds

Kalmoe-updated
Manship School professor & researcher Nathan Kalmoe

In the days leading up to and following the turbulent 2016 presidential election, Americans divided along increasingly hostile partisan lines. As anyone not living under a rock noted, anger, outrage and outright hostility dominated social media and spilled over into personal relationships. Surely this was a new dynamic, and the internet had ushered in a frighteningly unheard-of era of political partisanship, right? According to historical research on partisanship in the Civil War by Manship School professor Nathan Kalmoe, Ph.D., the answer is no. Unusual as it seems to those of us accustomed to civil politics, the charged partisan atmosphere thriving online isn’t as unprecedented as it seems in rhetoric or partisan loyalty.

“As hostile as things are now, even more extreme partisan commitments and contentious partisan rhetoric were hallmarks of the extreme circumstances of the Civil War,” Kalmoe said.

Kalmoe, who studies partisanship and its dynamics in the present, took a fresh look at the Civil War era public opinion surrounding President Lincoln’s reelection, voting behavior, and extreme partisan rhetoric in the press for this study he began in 2014. He found surprising evidence of party loyalty and rhetoric during this period that mirrors and exceeds the partisan turbulence going on in our own period.

“I discovered that several political research questions we wrestle with today are the ones political historians are tackling too, and those continuities made it easier to make contributions to social science and history at the same time,” he said.

Civil War Public Opinion Reveals Surprising Stability of Partisanship in the Past

At the time of the Civil War, Lincoln’s Republican party had formed only a few years prior. Given the context of the Republican party’s newness, Kalmoe was surprised to find that Republican voters and supporters at the time showed the same deep-seated party loyalty to their new party as Democrats did to their older, more established party. To find this trend, Kalmoe observed for the first time that Republican voters during the period of Lincoln’s reelection stayed firm in their commitment to vote for Lincoln, despite the horrors of war that historians expected to sway public opinion against him. In modern-day political research, scholars have found that people who suffer, whether from war or natural disasters, tend to penalize the party and leaders in power at the time by voting against them in the next election. Shockingly, Kalmoe found that this did not happen in the case of Lincoln’s reelection, despite the extreme wartime conditions under which it happened. His supporters remained firm.

“Every historian I’ve talked to talks about how Lincoln was in trouble during the stalemate in the war leading up to his reelection, but good after it ended. Historically, that’s how we thought he got reelected. But Republican vote share actually was stable that whole time,” Kalmoe said.

Despite the newness of the Republican party, this partisan loyalty both strongly influenced the overwhelming choice people made to support Lincoln and helped push ordinary people to do the unthinkable and go to war for the cause espoused by their party. While individuals did not explicitly fight for their party, Kalmoe said, party identification did play a significant role in whether or not they supported war.

“The Civil War was fundamentally a partisan war,” Kalmoe said.

Civil War Death Tolls Produce Ripple Effects in Voting Behavior for Generations

Nationally, all was well for Lincoln and his Republican party. As Kalmoe poured over records of voting trends from this period, though, he noticed something odd in the counties who had leaned Democrat before the war, then endured massive casualties during the war. For these areas, votes for Republican leadership waned in response to heavy losses, in contrast to Republican leaning areas which did not show these effects. Kalmoe dubs these shifts “casualty effects,” and notes that, for the first time, his research found evidence that incredibly traumatic events like war have consequences that affect the voting choices people make for generations.

“My study is the first to show that these casualty effects persist not only during the war, but for decades after even until the 1912 election. It’s a testament to the power of partisanship,” he said.

Prior research on casualty effects had focused solely on public opinion and voting trends while the war was ongoing, and the results of these earlier studies were mixed, Kalmoe said. His research is the first to demonstrate the strength and longevity of these effects long after the end of war.

Partisanship and Extreme Language

Kalmoe notes that the partisan and often hostile environment of U.S. politics today differs from the partisan rhetoric and motivations of the Civil War primarily in that our present day is far less extreme than that of earlier Civil War times.

“Historically, political partisanship and violence are more closely linked than we might like to think,” Kalmoe said. “Different partisan perspectives can’t always even agree on facts.”

Interestingly, Kalmoe notes that the press at the time had neither the objectivity nor neutrality we expect from journalism now. Instead, partisan owners directed partisan news content, and papers at the time dealt passionately with the issues of war based on their owners’ political leanings.

Although more explicitly violent than even the most partisan sources today, Kalmoe said he sees the echoes of similar hostility in some reports from the modern press.

“It’s weird because I’ll read reports from the time of the Civil War, and reports from now, and it’s almost like reading the same thing,” he said.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Kalmoe found evidence that the hostile partisan language people read in the media of the day matched up with the likelihood they would vote a certain way, support the war, and even participate in it.

A Personal Connection

Kalmoe’s interest in Civil War era partisanship isn’t strictly academic. Back when he was a graduate student, his mom uncovered information on Ole Rocksvold, a Norwegian immigrant and later prisoner of war from the 12th Iowa Infantry. After the war, Rocksvold served his community in other capacities, including as postmaster, and ran for the state legislature. He was also Kalmoe’s great, great grandfather.

Ole Rocksvold in Civil War uniform, lighter version
Kalmoe’s great, great grandfather, Ole Rocksvold

“This was definitely a passion project for me,” Kalmoe said, “I was very interested in Civil War history, and I wanted to find ways to apply my expertise in political communication and public opinion to that pivotal era.”

To complete this project, Kalmoe combined soldier data on over one million individual Union soldiers with U.S. Census data during the period of the Civil War, election data, data on Civil War monuments and Civil War veterans’ organizations, and coded news content from over one hundred issues of twenty-four northern newspapers. Much of the news material was only available via microfilm at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and other historical locations, which required travel to access.

“The quantitative methods I use are less common in historical research, and the historical context shows partisanship under more strain than most social science studies in recent years have shown,” Kalmoe said. “That made it a perfect way to generate lots of new insights.”

Kalmoe plans to share his results and pieces from his book at an upcoming conference in February 2019.

Article by graduate student Mary Chiappetta

Manship Alum Harnesses Degree for Habitat for Humanity

moriah hollander
Manship School alum Moriah Hollander

Moriah Hollander, a 2014 graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication, became the Resource Development and Marketing Director for the Habitat for Humanity office in her new home of Summerville, South Carolina last fall.

Hollander joked that her new title is a mouthful, so it would stand to reason that such a title comes with a long list of responsibilities. She listed a few.

“I do their fundraising events, grant writing, I oversee all the marketing efforts.” Her voice trails off for a moment before she continues with a laugh. “There are a lot of other things that aren’t as easy to explain. I do advertising and the PR stuff. So, it’s a little bit of everything.”

For example, last week, Hollander was simultaneously planning one of the smallest events on her organization’s calendar, a community outreach kickball tournament, and one of the largest, a sporting clays shooting tournament fundraiser that would draw participants from nearby Charleston and across the state.

Like many fresh high school graduates, Hollander, who was then Moriah Purdy, was not sure what she wanted from her college experience. A Mandeville, Louisiana native, she attended the University of Mississippi for one semester before transferring to LSU. As a sophomore, she said the tight-knit community of the Manship School and the variety of concentrations were the main reasons she selected it as her senior college.

Hollander decided on a concentration in journalism and threw herself into the extracurricular opportunities in that field. She worked for The Daily Reveille and later secured a summer internship in TV news with WGNO in New Orleans.

“I liked it, but discovered that I didn’t want to do spend my whole life in TV news,” Hollander said.

But looking back, Hollander said that even though she did not pursue a career in news, her course work was the ideal preparation for her current position.

“At the end of the day I do a lot of communication and a lot of community relationship building,” Hollander said. “Manship helped instill in me how much you need to know the people you’re working with and form good relationships with them.”

Now that she is building her career, Hollander said she has observed all the ways that mass communication drives business and how many opportunities for public relations and advertising professionals there are in the world of nonprofits.

“I didn’t initially realize that everyone needs advertising and PR,” Hollander said. “You can take something you’re passionate about and do advertising for it. You can take something you are passionate about and do PR for it.”

Her first job in the field was as the lone public relations worker for a small ministry-based nonprofit in Houston. She said joining professional organizations and relying on her writing and communication skills helped her acclimate to the new position on the fly.

After that experience, she felt well equipped to seek a similar role with a bigger organization when her husband Steven, a graduate of the LSU College of Engineering, landed his “dream job” at Boeing.

Hollander said that like in her previous job, she is the only staff member tasked with specific duties, but the larger overall staff and name recognition that Habitat for Humanity provides represent a significant step up in her career.

With a few years and major life events separating Hollander from her time in the Manship School, some of the specifics of her memories have faded, but the overarching feeling of fondness remains. She urged prospective students to take to time to explore all of the possibilities Manship provides.

“Don’t just treat it like your classes or just a building,” Hollander said. “Get involved.”