public sociology trivia

I still intend to write a post with my thoughts on newsocprof’s discussion of public sociology and the tenure process, which jt also addressed in a response post in The Public and the Private.  That will come later, after the flurry of end-of-term grad advising and family business (including my son’s college graduation and attendant in-law visit, out of town trips, and help moving).

In the meantime, I thought I’d mention this week’s public sociology issue for me, which is less philosophical and more mundane.  The Governor is finally giving a press conference next week about his intentions with respect to the big racial disparity report released by the Governor’s Commission in February .  We Commissioners have been invited to the press conference, which is being held in the city 80 miles away at 2 in the afternoon.  As far as I can tell, we are being invited to stand behind the Governor while he talks.  I’ve never met him; I don’t know whether he will even bother to talk to me.  I’ve decided to go, even though this will take up at least four or five hours of my day, lead me to reschedule a bunch of grad student appointments, and make it that much harder for me to get time to get any work done before the relatives show up next week.  It could turn out to be a total waste of my time.  But I find that I hate to miss it.

In other public sociology news, two national NGOs jointly released their reports on disparities in drug arrests last week showing that the big city in our state is one of the nation’s worst, so I got calls from reporters.  A bunch of people said to me, “I heard you on the radio.”  I said, “So what did I say?”  I never did find out.  I did not realize he was taping, although I guess I should have.  Apparently what he put on the air was OK.  You never know.  That’s another fun part of public sociology: there is nothing like a good quotation out of context to make you sound like an idiot, or worse.

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Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. It isn't hard to figure out my real name if you want to, but I keep it out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either!), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with.

4 thoughts on “public sociology trivia”

  1. To be fair, he probably assumed I knew he was taping, as he has interviewed me often before and I should know the drill. And it did cross my mind that he was probably taping. And even if the reporter is not taping, anything you say is fair game, everything is on the record unless you specifically ask to be off the record. So I don’t feel violated about being on the air. It is more the sense that you talk to someone for 30-60 minutes and one 15 second sound bite is what is on the air (or one sentence is what is in the print news), and that short bite cannot possibly capture the full nuance of what you have said in the longer interview. As I have tenure and am not running for public office, my way of dealing with this problem is to ignore it and not worry when what I’ve said sounds idiotic pulled out of context. And I’m not griping at all about this reporter this time, because he works this issue and understands it well enough not to mess it up. It is the reporters new to the issue who don’t know anything about it who will mess with you in their quotes.

  2. I was a reporter and I would have never taped someone without asking them first and making the recorder really obvious. It’s bad form, not to mention a quick way to burn a relationship. (In addition, it’s illegal in some states to tape over the phone in secret.) You might not want to make much of this but you might ask a pointed question the next him he calls you. Bleh.

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