Before session, academics to: * Think about story ideas, using worksheet provided * Catch up on the news, by radio, TV, papers or internet
09:30–10:30 Presentation: how to write for a public audience
* Why bother communicating research to the public?
* What is TC, origins and aims
* What does writing for TC involve?
* What TC does and why
* Why TC rather than another outlet?
* Tips on style, tone and structure
* The ‘banned list’: jargon and academic-ese (examples)
* Who is TC’s audience and how to aim articles at them
* The journalistic rather than academic approach
* Identifying an angle – what’s new?
* How to pitch – examples of good and bad
* Examples of different approaches:
o A piece about the academic’s own research
o A response to someone else’s research
o A listicle (“Top five…”, “Ten most…”)
o Something irreverent/entertaining/unusual
Outcomes: * Gain familiarity of the aims, structure, way of working and benefits of TC * Learn to consider what elements of research and expertise could interest the public, and how to communicate it * Understand the style, tone and structure of articles written for the public
Opportunity for questions and clarifications
10:45–11:15 Applying academic expertise to the news * Editor distributes daily papers (brought by editor) * Academics go through papers looking for stories in their field of expertise, or stories to which they could apply their expertise * Discuss how to approach this
Outcome: * Seeing academics as experts in their field, not just tied to their specific research projects
11:35–11:45 Site demonstration * Editor takes attendees through the The Conversation online editor * How article editing works, preview and history record * Demonstrate “traffic light” readability system * Note approve button and disclosure statement * Show dashboard and article readership metrics
Outcome: * Become familiar with how to navigate the site editor and how to use metrics to track engagement
11:45–11:55 Dealing with comments and conversation * The TC commenting system * Why bother? Tips for joining in * Dealing with trolls * Moderation and reporting
Outcome: * Understand TC comments and role of moderators, feel more confident in ‘below the line’ discussion
11:55–12:35 Exercise * Based on worksheet academics have brought with them, discuss ideas for articles (allowing time for those without) * Each academic (or in teams of 3-4 if large group) pick one to develop. Write an opening paragraph and summary. * Discuss with group why topic is interesting to a non-specialist audience, or how to make it so. * Write a pitch for the article.
Outcome: * Identify good ideas to hone into stories, and how to put them across
12:35–12:45 Final chat/Q&A