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Tips on pitching to The Conversation

How to present your scientific story or question and try to reach a large audience?

How to make your research go beyond the academic community?

On 21st of July, Liz Minchin, Executive Editor at The Conversation Australia & New Zealand, has answered these questions and presented to AFRAN members the benefits of writing for The Conversation, the stories or questions the editors are seeking, and how to pitch an idea and write an article for The Conversation. She then has been available to answer questions from the audience.

After presenting the spirit and scope of her journal, Liz has explained the benefits of publishing in The Conversation. Articles for The Conversation reach a large and diverse audience. They can be translated and republished in other countries’ editions of The Conversation, or in a global network of 20 000 republishers. The Conversation is also a lever to connect research with the public, practitioners or policy makers, besides the academic community, with an audience including 15% academics, 13% public servants and policy makers, 13% of teachers or education professionals, and 10% of healthcare and medical practitioners. Articles in The Conversation gain visibility, and authors are often contacted by media, and sometimes for research or business collaborations, or by government. The Conversation publishes current research on topical issues, faster than peer review journals, and readership metrics can also help a researcher to gain support on a specific field of science.

Liz gave many clues on the types of stories that are sought, and how to make them fascinating. The Conversation is always looking after new research, linked to a journal article, or timely analysis of issues in the news, as well as timeless scientific stories or questions that concern or challenge everyone. She explained who can submit a pitch, and how to make it interesting for a large audience. When writing, you should pay attention to be accessible and understandable by a general audience, and avoid long sentences, acronyms, jargon… The heart of the information should appear at the very beginning of the text, and be shaped in a way that triggers the interest of the audience…

Finally, Liz explained what would happened when you submit a pitch. The Conversation receives many pitches, and is unable to publish everything. So don’t give up if your pitch is no accepted. When a pitch is accepted, you can start writing the 800-words article. The editors will help you gain writing skills to engage with a general audience, but also to become clearer and more compelling.

You can download Liz’s presentation below.

Download PDF • 4.69MB

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