New Criticals

First Five with Jason Smith


Jason Smith (@jasonsm55) is a PhD candidate in the Public Sociology program at George Mason University, working on completing his dissertation in 2017. Jason’s work deals primarily with the intersections of race/ethnicity and the media – with a specific focus on media policy issues in the United States and media inclusion for communities of color and women. He recently co-edited the volume Race and Contention in Twenty-first Century U.S. Media (Routledge, 2016), and his work has appeared in the journals International Journal of Communication, International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, Journal of Black Studies, and Sociation Today. Along with his dissertation work, Jason is working on a project sponsored by the American Sociological Association looking at the stratification of URM faculty in Sociology and Economics.

I’ve seen a few people mention Twitter as one of their go-to’s on First Five, but Tweetdeck is by far the superior option for keeping up to date with your social media. The ability to stack future tweets keeps your own account looking fresh, while allowing you to create columns for several hashtags that spark your interests. I find it a good way to keep tabs on specific subjects and individuals that are relevant to both my research and entertainment needs, such as @PresVillain.

As my own research has gravitated toward media policy over the past couple of years, I’ve found the Benton Headlines to be an enormous resource for keeping up to date on current issues. Media policy concerns impact more areas of social life than you might think, and the headlines help funnel key issues and current developments into digestible info-bites while drinking my *sips* morning coffee.

I’ve probably checked into Colorlines daily since about 2008 or so. As a race scholar, I both enjoy and appreciate the explicit focus of the news site dedicated to issues surrounding racial justice.

The side-effect of being a PhD student married to Sociology, I find it useful and exciting to see what new books are out there. The New Books Network – Sociology page is useful for getting a snapshot of recent works and listening to a nice interview/overview with authors.

Before I venture off to read other news stories, or to read where my tweetdeck had led me, I generally get a dose of what the writers at Slate feel like stating their opinion on and what news items are worthy of coverage. They have also been producing a few podcasts recently, with @SlateRepresent being one that I listen to religiously when new episodes are released. This is me reading into my own political echo chamber here…as I generally find myself nodding along. Maybe one day I’ll get an op-ed posted there.