An Interview with Melissa Harris-Perry

The second interview in Let’s Be Heard! is with Melissa Harris-Perry. Professor Harris-Perry is not only an accomplished scholar but also has been the host of a nationally televised cable news program fo3r several years. Professor Harris-Perry talked extensively to the task force members about developing relationships with “the translators.” She recommended events where members of the press, particularly young and ambitious members, can get to know experts in fields of their interest. These events can help scholars and reporters develop relationships that lead to published articles that are more informed by political science and can help scholars better understand how to present their insights in more accessible ways.

While the media believes that economists and former political staffers “carry great and inherent weight” and expertise, “people do not understand what it is that political scientists know” or have to offer. To address this, she suggests:

  • “Finding the ambassadors and building a relationship with the translators”—identify the political scientists who have relevant things to say about current/anticipated news cycles, and actively offer those people to the media: “If you want an expert, call X.”
  • “We, as a discipline, need to actively pitch a media A-team—identify a variety of key targets across different forms of media (print, electronic, TV/broadcast, social) and get our voices there. Concrete goals with a concrete team working on them.”

Melissa Harris-Perry was interviewed by Steve Friess (SF), who has written for Time, Politico, and many other outlets.

Click here to access the free special issue Let’s Be Heard! and read the interview.