Write for The Conversation: a guide for academics
7 November 2017
Public Engagement - opportunity
The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.
The University is a member, and as such can contribute stories to the site, which can then be republished by major newspapers, including the Guardian, i, the Daily Mail, to name a few examples. They also get republished by major online channels, meaning they can generate a lot of publicity.
Here they provide a comprehensive guide to help you better understand what they do and how you can get involved, covering:
- Editorial process and benefits of writing for the public
- The news value of academic expertise
- How to pitch ideas to editors
- Responding to comments
- Using the readership metrics
- Advocating for The Conversation among departments or peers - especially for support staff
You can download the guide plus a worksheet with a checklist for when you're generating ideas for stories above.
We'd encouraged researchers to join their mailing list to see the sorts of stories they publish, and if you wish to write for them to create a profile on their site - this way they can contact you when they're looking for experts. Make sure it's written in accessible language for a non-specialist audience - and that this is reflected on your University-based research profile, too.
Equally, you can pitch ideas for stories, perhaps based on your own latest research paper, or how your research might link to topical stories in the news. They're also keen to hear ideas for more general explainers.
If you think your story will be of significant interest then you should talk to the News Office first - if in doubt get in touch to ask.
Finally, you can make yourself known to Division so that if we receive an expert request we can link you up, and we're happy to take a look over pitches if you would like a sounding board.
But in short: do it. The editors are a friendly and helpful bunch and I'm sure will be happy to hear from you.
As part of our membership we also receive a certain number of editor-visit days to provide face-to-face training and support. If this is of interest, please get in touch.
What to read next
A handy little tool to help make your writing accessible for non-specialist, general, audiences.
IT Services are offer media training. This session aims to help you make the most of any media opportunity you have, planned or otherwise.