It turns out college professors don’t particularly like helping students with their projects. OK, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but they sure don’t like giving interviews. After sending out e-mails to numerous UW-Madison professors and calling a few others, I came up with the grand total of zero interviews.
Most of the professors responded back. That was nice, as there is nothing more frustrating than a potential e-mail contact never saying yes or no to a request, and just leaving the journalist fluttering in the wind. Some gave an explanation, saying they were busy or couldn’t otherwise help. Another just said, “Sorry. Can’t.”
So, lesson learned: Many UW professors don’t want to help out a student with one of their projects – or at least a project that explored third-party candidates in Wisconsin elections. I’ll look for alternative sources next time I’m working on a story, or call and e-mail professors from other college campuses. Perhaps they will be more willing to share their thoughts in an interview.