McAndrew talks gossip on 'Today'
Knox psychology professor's research gains attention
Wednesday, July 25, 2007GALESBURG - Frank McAndrew won't get to see the segment he taped for NBC's "Today" show because he'll be in an airplane on his way to New York.
McAndrew, Cornelia H. Dudley professor of psychology at Knox College, spent two hours Tuesday afternoon taping a 25-minute interview for "Today" about his research on gossip. He was invited Monday to fly to New York City to appear live on "Today," but already had plans to accompany 10 Knox students to Buffalo, N.Y., to give research presentations for the college's Ronald E. McNair program.
"I'm a bit disappointed," McAndrew said of not getting a chance to visit Studio 1A in Rockefeller Center, where "Today" tapes. "I think my wife is more disappointed than me, though. I think she wanted to meet Matt (Lauer)."
McAndrew has received a bit of publicity recently after his research, published in July's Journal of Applied Social Psychology, was cited in an article on MSNBC.com about America's gossip culture. On Friday, Jay Leno mentioned McAndrew's research and Knox College during his opening monologue on The Tonight Show. McAndrew said the "Today" show invitation is probably the result of an NBC connection.
Karrie Heartlein, director of public relations for Knox College, said a camera crew from St. Louis made the trek to Galesburg Tuesday to set up an impromptu TV studio in McAndrew's office. McAndrew was then asked questions over a speakerphone by someone from the show, thought he said it wasn't one of the big-name hosts.
McAndrew said he began researching gossip more than five years ago after a conversation between several Knox psychology professors about the popularity of supermarket tabloids. After doing some research he noticed most of the gossip studies were about good gossip, which prevents many people from exhibiting negative qualities that would tarnish their reputation. McAndrew wanted to study the bad gossip as well.
McAndrew has done several interviews with radio and magazines, he said, but this was his first TV interview.
"It was fun for me," he said, adding that he wasn't nervous, but excited.
McAndrew also has been invited to England to discuss his gossip research.
"A lot of cool stuff has happened because of something I stumbled into," he said.
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On the Net:
Read the MSNBC.com article that references McAndrew's research at www.nbc11.com/msnbchealth/13705962/detail.html.