I love being in school. I always have and the older I’ve gotten the more I have come to love it. I understand that academia is not a perfect culture, but I have been deeply infected with the optimism that new students carry in them. Something in us says there are still things to be discovered, understood, and explained and that if we manage to find those things and put them out into the world, we can make things better. Somehow. Cited is a podcast about all the ways academia has, and hasn’t, changed the world and I got to talk to the host Gordon Katic all about it.
“We started while we were doing undergrad and then through journalism school; just being on a university campus and realizing there were a lot of really interesting stories to tell,” Gordon explained, referencing himself and his co-founder, Sam Fenn. He told me that he heard a lot of professors saying things like “I wrote the book on such-and-such and I assumed when I provided the evidence, policymakers would listen.” Gordon told me those same people were really surprised when policymakers didn’t listen. So Gordon wanted to figure out “what exactly is the relationship between research and policy? And research and politics?” Beyond that relationship and the frustration academics experienced, Gordon was curious about the way expertise is being treated today and “its role in a democratic society” and the way experts are listened to or ignored entirely by both the populace and its leaders.
From that point of inspiration came the Cited podcast, which Gordon described as “ a radio documentary show… that tells stories about research and academia.” Cited doesn’t mimic most academic programs, though and tells listeners “how ideas operate out in the real world and in the messy world of politics.” Gordon and Sam use the show to explain “the politics of ideas, who makes them, which ones get to influence policy, which ones are ignored…” Ultimately, the show is focused on connecting, in the mind of the listener, the scholars that produce ideas with the politics that drive the world.
Of course, a great idea still demands a lot of work, and Gordon admitted that finding the right level of production for the show as well as the balance between documentary and talk-show styles has taken time and effort. However, more than that, the team has struggled in ”communicating the focus. At first, a lot of people thought that the show was just an academic show and it’s not really. It’s about politics and it’s about current events.” But Gordon has been working on ways to invite a wider audience into the Cited community as the show prepares for an upcoming relaunch.
Gordon told me that Cited offers a unique perspective on its subjects that no other podcast can claim, partially because they began looking into their subject matter a bit earlier than anyone else did. When I asked what he was most excited about for the future of the show, Gordon explained that “the questions that we’ve been asking are becoming increasingly relevant.” Getting to see the research and journalism work that he and Sam have been doing on Cited become of more and more public interest is exciting and he is expecting that the content will only be more and more important for listeners’ lives.
So, if you want to know how policies form from ideas, listen to Cited and leave a rating and review to let Gordon and Sam know what you think! Also, Gordon just launched the podcast Crackdown all about drug abuse and health care, so if you like those segments on Cited be sure to listen to Crackdown as well!
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