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.