Deja Vu

NYT Interviews Professor 150 Times

How did New York Times reporter Helene Stapinski get anyone to confirm her theory that Americans are suddenly eating more spaghetti tacos? She called Syracuse University Professor Robert J. Thompson, just like 78 Times reporters before her. Thompson, a pop-culture expert, has been quoted in 150 different Times articles over two decades. In September, Thompson was quoted in four television-related stories in 10 days. TV reporter Bill Carter alone has quoted Thompson in 18 different articles. But Thompson isn’t just the go-to guy for TV. He’s opined on computers, mobile storage units, the suburbs, Charlie Brown, cicadas, lacrosse, Facebook’s Farmville, and many other topics. NYTPicker says Thompson is an attractive source because he combines a talent for pithy comments with an authoritative job title.