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Communicating to the mainstream media: Writing for The Conversation

In this video, Prof. Mark Lorch introduces The Conversation and the writing opportunities here.
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The conversation offers some really fabulous advantages over traditional media outlets. Firstly you get the byline the articles written by you not a journalist so your name appears on that article - however, you do get support from professional journalists and editors so together you make sure the article is both accurate and appealing to read for by non-specialist audience. next you get final sign off this is really important you get the final say before anything gets published so there’s no need to worry about your article getting mangled by a journalist.
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Next, your article will be freely available for other news outlets to publish worldwide as long as they do not change a word this means that your article can can reach massive audiences. For example previous university of Hull researchers have had their work published in the guardian the bbc news page the independent the hindu newsweek scientific american, the daily mail - even don’t knock it they get massive amount of readers and remember even the daily mail can only republish it as long as they do so absolutely verbatim right and then once the article is out there you can track how well it’s doing via the conversations handy dashboard. So why bother?
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Well research in the public domain gets much more attention many more citations plus these articles help to make you make a name for yourself as an expert in your field. This means that you can get approached by folks looking for expert opinion previous university of whole authors have been invited to contribute to national international broadcast media. The articles have led book deals and invitations to act as expert witnesses on government committees all of which is great for you as well as the university of hull’s ref and kef submissions and so on. So, what sort of articles work well well? Timely evidence-based analysis of the news works particularly well or maybe new research your own for example.
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time next timeless plain english explainers of complex issues are particularly well read. There’s a lot of information out there that’s very very complicated for people to understand we are experts in these fields it’s up to us to explain these complex issues to people and be those trusted sources of information. In-depth series work very well or long reads that present hard evidence-based stories actually sometimes. Something that’s just a bit fun can be great fun to read and write but also gets you actually quite a lot of attention. So how do you go about writing? Well simple - go on to the conversation website scroll down hit the pitch button and send the editors the idea for your story.
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Remember - to keep your pitch jargon free and explain why it’s interesting to a non-academic reader shortly after that one of the conversation. editors will get in touch with you and that’s all folks really looking forward to reading some of your articles.

As you can see in this video, The Conversation is a useful means of writing to the public – but it also provides a route through which you can write for the press. As Prof. Mark Lorch explains, articles from The Conversation are often picked up by the mainstream media. Reflecting on success stories from the University of Hull, Mark also explains how it can lead to book deals, mainstream media attention and roles on expert panels.

To be published by The Conversation you must be currently employed as a researcher or academic with a university or research institution. PhD candidates under supervision by an academic can write for The Conversation, but they don’t currently publish articles from Masters students.

More information about The Conversation: > Access to expertise through high quality, independent journalism is key to a well-functioning democracy. The Conversation aims to provide the expert insight needed to better understand current affairs and the complex issues we face. Our team of editors work with experts drawn from universities and research institutes across the world, sharing their knowledge in a way that is accessible to non-specialists. Bringing expert insights to current affairs, explaining new research findings, or shining a light on topics that deserve greater discussion, we strive to improve the quality of public debate and ultimately to help everyone make better, more well-informed decisions.

Even if you are not looking to write for The Conversation specifically, it is an excellent example of public communication. Information is communicated clearly – without being dumbed down. We recommend you give it a read for inspiration. It may help you develop your own written style.

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