William Neuman (1967)

Professor of Media Technology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Let's see, I arrived at Berkeley in 1967, which is just after the Free Speech Movement and just before the People's Park era and the peak of the Vietnam protests. A good time to study sociology. I studied with Charlie Glock, Jeff Paige, Bill Kornhauser and Arthur Stinchcombe, and with a number of the faculty in political science at Berkeley and in communication at Stanford. I worked at the Survey Research Center on the NSF sponsored political alienation project which managed unknowingly to hire Emily Harris as a staff assistant for her secretarial skills. As I understand it Emily and her SLA associates actually kidnapped Patty Hearst (two blocks from the Center on Benvenue Ave) while Emily was still on the Center payroll. I don't believe she managed to return to pick up her last paycheck. Interesting times.

I am currently the John D. Evans Professor of Media Technology at the University of Michigan on leave and serving as a senior advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy working on broadband policy and digital rights management issues.

My first job out of graduate school was in sociology at Yale. I left New Haven for MIT where I taught public policy and media technology in the Media Lab and department of political science for many years and then moved to Penn where I taught in the Annenberg School for Communication and Annenberg Public Policy Center in media policy.

My research and writing focuses on the twin areas of public opinion and communication policy. While I was at Berkeley I got interested in the dynamics of how the public manages to pay attention (or not) to fundamental political and policy issues. I guess I'm still at it. If I ever get this figured out, I'll let you guys know.

Dissertation Title: 
Political Sophistication and Political Beliefs in Mass Publics