The American Sociologist

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 223–249 | Cite as

Breaking Out of Academic Isolation: The Media Odyssey of a Sociologist

  • Steven M. OrtizEmail author


The professional development of sociologists involves specialized training through which we acquire and apply numerous skills. However, it is unlikely that our professional socialization includes training in how to inform the public about sociological knowledge and research through media involvement. As a sociologist who did not receive such training and was not prepared for the enormous unanticipated media and public interest given to my research topic, I provide a personal account of my unexpected metamorphosis into a media self and my experiences working with the media. I describe the nature of my professional and media obscurity, provide an overview of my initiation into media culture, and explore a self-transformation process that became necessary to manage the responsibilities associated with the media-assigned role of expert. I identify and examine the lessons I learned through extensive media involvement and the emergent realities of this involvement. Based on my experiences and resulting awareness of media culture, I offer to the discipline some suggestions and guidelines for media involvement and advocate for media training.


Media experiences Media relations Professional sociology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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