12 August 2015

A great face for (National Public) Radio

Around lunchtime today, I got a phone call, from one Carol Klinger. I sort of missed her opening introduction of who she worked for, but her call to me was prompted by the recent Wall Street Journal article on the increase in the number of authors on scientific papers. We started chatting about that.

Carol asked, “Who came up with the term, ‘kiloauthor’?” “That was me!”

Before I know it, she’s asking me if I can do an interview (sure!), if I have an iPhone (no), if there’s a studio I can get to (wait, what? Who does she work for?), and before I know it I’m on the road to an iHeartMedia studio to record an interview for All Things Considered on National Public Radio.

I almost didn’t make it, because the studio was out of town in Weslaco. As luck would have it, I had walked into work and had to walk back to reach my car, then start driving to the studio, and of course there was a wreck on the road, so I was literally stopped on the highway while the clock was ticking.

We had some technical problems, so we ended up with me listening to the interview questions from Robert Seigel on the phone while I talked into a mic. Thanks to Nathan Cantu who helped set up the recording on short notice!

I just listened to the interview streaming live on WAMU on the Internet. You should be able to listed to audio or read a transcript on the All Things Considered website tomorrow. I’ll post a link when I get it.

Update: Wow, these guys are fast. The link to my interview is here.

One of the things that I was thinking about on the drive to the studio was that this little interview was only possible because of the years I spent wasting time on the Internet blogging and developing a social media presence. It’s like climbing up an ice cliff. Chip away at the ice with a pick. Pull yourself up. Shove your spiked boots into a crevice. It’s a hard and slow ascent.

But if it hadn’t been for that, there is no way that I would have been able to talk to Nature, New Scientist, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR (all of which has happened this year). Because let’s face it, it sure isn’t because these news organizations think, “Let’s call up a researcher from a university that we haven’t heard of in south Texas and ask them what they think.” Social media can act as a leveler, and can give voice to people who might not normally have one.

Now that I’ve been on NPR, I think I have finally secured my credential as an effete, wine-sipping, out-of-touch, ivory tower, liberal academic.

Related posts

Straight outta Wall Street

External links

Research Biologist Coins Term 'Kilo-Author' For Scientific Journal Articles

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