Nov. 28, 2002, Gazette
By Deborah Inkpen
|Dr. Ross Klein
Dr. Ross Klein is planning to take a well-deserved
vacation from the hectic pace he has been keeping over the last few months.
Dr. Klein, a professor in Memorials Department of Social Work, has
been doing a media blitz of the North American circuit to promote his
latest publication, Cruise Ship Blues; The Underside of the Cruise
Industry, and to raise public awareness about the environmental and
social pitfalls of the cruise ship industry.
The professor has been recognized as an expert, critic and somewhat of
a celebrity on the cruise industry. He has television, radio and newspaper
interviews lined up well into 2003. Dr. Kleins book starts with
the question, Is the industry socially and environmentally sustainable?
and argues through its analysis that, in its present state, it is neither.
Over the past few weeks, Dr. Klein has been a guest on Vicki Gabereau,
The Bill Good Show, As It Happens and The Tom Pope Show in Washington,
D.C. He has also been featured in the Post and Courier of Charleston,
South Carolina, the Vancouver Sun and Shared Vision magazine
to name a few. As well, he has received interest from Inside Edition and
the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Klein said that his level of comfort with the media developed over
time and because he is talking about something he knows so well, it goes
so much more smoothly. While Dr. Klein has a publicist from his publisher
working on setting up interviews, he feels anything that is going to happen,
he has to make happen. Media doesnt come to you; youve
got to let them know youre there.
A spin-off benefit from Dr. Kleins media tour has been recognition
for Memorial. The degree to which Memorial University is getting
visibility is just amazing, he said. Every interview I do
its always Professor Ross Klein from Memorial.
Dr. Klein credits his ease in the spotlight from being open to criticism
and looking for ways to refine his on-air persona. He always
asks for critical feedback from publicists. As hard as it to watch
oneself, I think that its important, as you are your own worst critic,
to try to pick up on the things that youre doing, explained
Dr. Klein. Its also good to be aware that a listeners
attention span, whether television or radio, is 30-40 seconds. If your
sentence or thought goes much longer than that youre going to lose
them. So really thinking in terms of very succinct, clear statements is
beneficial. Then if your words are used as a sound bite, theyve
got a coherent statement, and it allows the interviewer to direct you
where they want to go as opposed to where youre not going.
Dr. Klein says watching or listening to yourself can be a valuable tool.
Something which Ive picked up on is the degree to which people
talk with their hands, and when they do that on a television show its
distracting from the message. So, I decided to sit on my hands to avoid
that distraction. I may look a bit more rigid but it comes across as a
Dr. Klein says that doing these media interviews is a motivator
for continuing on with his research.
Its hard not to get excited, Dr. Klein cautioned, but
one has to keep a realistic view. As quick as all this happens, it can
also disappear. Its a matter of not getting too self-congratulatory
or narcissistic, but I think the idea of it is riding the wave as its
happening and enjoying it.
Dr. Klein said he can see many benefits of getting his message on the
industry out to the public. Already Im seeing the public education
about this issue, Im having an impact. I am bringing to the surface
a lot of things people dont know but also a lot of things people
do know. Im validating their perception. I found this out from doing
radio call-in shows.
Theres been a direct impact on Dr. Kleins book sales as well,
My book is selling so quickly my publisher told me that they are
ready to do the second printing. Its selling faster than they ever
expected. That will in turn make another book much easier to sell.
Dr. Klein also feels that the media interest has allowed for contacts
he might never otherwise had the chance to make. In February he will be
embarking on a media and lecture tour sponsored by Oceana, a Washington-based
environmental organization. The group became interested in his research
after learning about his work through the media and from other environmental
The next step for Dr. Klein will be to impact the industry directly.
As the industry realizes that the public is aware of some of the
worker and environmental issues, they are going to be doing some things
to improve their image. Hopefully, that will lead to sincere
and real kinds of behaviour changes.