Loose: Not Taking Questions

My Generation

The author of the story that launched degree-gate simply can't answer any questions. Today.

Published on: January 31, 2012
It's been a couple weeks since the agriculture community did a full-bodied freak-out regarding writer Terence Loose's Yahoo Education story. Like a lot of you, the story has hung in my brain, if for no other reason than as a journalist, it struck me as such a ridiculous piece of non-factual work that I thought surely there would be some response from Yahoo or the writer regarding, you know, actual facts – which have been bountifully supplied throughout the Internet, over the airwaves and across the printed page.

So I pulled up the "I Studied Agriculture & I Have a Job" page on Facebook this afternoon. And one person's comment struck me as so correct: that here we are, 4,666 of us sharing why our degrees are not useless and that we are, perhaps, preaching to the choir. He's right; I've shared the links with my (agricultural) friends, I spoke about it at an (agricultural) meeting and I was interviewed about it on an (agricultural) radio program. That is, in fact, the definition of a choir.

So I searched out Mr. Loose's Facebook page. I found his business website, which listed his phone number under the heading "I want to know if you liked what you read…didn't really get it…think I should slowly back away from the keyboard…"

Very well, then. I called him up. It went like this:

Him: "Hello?"
Me: "Hi, is this Terence Loose?"
Him: "Yes..."
Me: "Hi! This is Holly Spangler with Prairie Farmer magazine. Do you have a minute for a couple questions?"
Him: (pause) "No…I'm sorry, I don't."
Me: "Could we schedule another time for an interview then?"
Him: "No, I'm sorry, I can't."
Me: "Can I ask if you're the author of a Yahoo story on college degrees?"
Him: "I'm sorry, I really have to go now."
Me: "OK, I'll just try you back another time then!"

And that was the end of that. In retrospect, it would've made sense to have asked at some point, "well, why not?" But I was honestly so flabbergasted that he wouldn’t even try to defend his piece  - or even tell me to take a flying leap because he was tired of hearing from all of us crazy farm people – that it didn't cross my mind.

Perhaps on another day. Or maybe he'll really have to go then, too.

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  1. Thanks Holly! Cheers

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  4. Joanne Hickey says:

    I'm offended by the agriculture thing and also by another article of his, "Four Foolish Majors to Avoid." One of them is liberal arts. Yet, Mr. Loose is himself a writer. Hmm...

  5. Anonymous says:

    HOLLY, Illinois State University Agricultural Department has a 100% job placement rate if you are willing to relocate. Enrollment in the ag department is way up also. Bill Graff President Illinois State Agricultural Alumni Association

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    I am extremely disappointed in the way that Yahoo and Mr.Loose have handled the situation. I wrote him an email and I also sent him a message on facebook. He hasn't responded. I am more disappointed in the fact that they find any degree useless, much less the ones that feed Americans and others.I don't think that there are such things as useless degrees as long as you help others and do something with your degree. Hopefully, they both learn from this mistake.

    • Carla Wijaya says:

      Hi Holly, Mr.Loose wrote a similar article this month, "Don't Bother Earning These Five Degrees" and list Architecture as #1 Unwanted Degree. I am working on writing an email to him and stumbled upon your blog. I think, what you did, standing up for your profession is very admirable. I also agree with one of the comments here, that there is no degree that is "useless" or "unwanted" especially when it assist others. I know it has been a year since your blog, but I think the concerns on both articles by Mr.Loose needs to be adressed as it is published in Yahoo. Everyone (including high school students who are researching for possible careers) in the world reads it and it affects the profession in some way, especially when the article is written with poor facts and one sided judgement. If you could email me back, I would love to connect with you.