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Chapter 31. Interacting with News Media Journalists: Reflections of a Sociologist

Christopher J. Schneider

Christopher J. Schneider is Assistant Professor in Sociology in the Barber School of Arts & Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. He has received awards for both his teaching and scholarly research, including the 2009-2010 Provosts Public Education Through Media Award. He has appeared in more than 75 print, radio, and television interviews, some of these featured nationally across Canada. Chris also appears as a frequent commentator on CBC British Columbia, CKNW Vancouver News, Talk, Sports AM 980, and AM1150, News, Talk, Sports for the Okanagan. His research investigates the process, meanings and social consequences of mass-media messages about crime, deviance, and music. He has published articles, book chapters, and co-edited a special issue of Studies in Symbolic Interaction in these areas.

While the public presentation and dissemination of academic research is important, I must confess that I never actually had any intention of participating in media interviews. As a matter of fact, when filling out my employment paperwork I distinctly remember checking the box to indicate that I did not wish to be contacted by media. In spite of this, in just the last two years I have appeared in over 75 print, radio, and television interviews—a handful of these featured nationally across Canada. I also appear as a frequent guest commentator on three different large-market radio stations, one of which is consistently ranked among the highest-rated radio stations in Vancouver, British Columbia. In recognition of my contributions, I received the 2009–2010 Provost’s Public Education Through Media Award, one of three major university-wide awards presented at my institution. This award acknowledges faculty members who “actively and creatively” share their research expertise through media. In this chapter, I reflect upon some of my experiences and offer comment on some of the lessons that I have learned while interacting with media journalists.