Get Published in The Conversation: What, How and Why
The Conversation is a unique news source that publishes columns authored by researchers and academics instead of journalists. It was founded on the belief that you, as an expert, have valuable information, analysis and commentary that should be shared directly with the general public. To this end, a team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to “unlock” their knowledge for use by the wider public.
A team of journalists launched The Conversation as an independent news organization in 2014 with support from a group of universities and research institutions —including the University of Florida. As a founding partner, UF’s experts receive some precedence by the Conversation’s editing team when selecting pitches.
Stories Authored by UF Experts:
Here is an example of a few recent Conversation columns authored by University of Florida researchers and academics:
The Conversation's Goals:
- Rebuild trust in journalism
- Share information that promotes quality conversation among the public
- Provide solutions to complex current events through columns that are free from bias or agendas
What are the perks?
Writing for The Conversation provides you with the unique opportunity to promote your expertise and/or help build your institution’s reputation by authoring content for an audience of over five million users per month. In addition, content published in The Conversation is routinely reprinted in major news publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post etc.
Lastly, you author your own column, which eliminates any chance of you or your work being misrepresented.
- Reputation building; sharing the importance of your work with the public
- Provides opportunities to share your findings on major news platforms
- Presents information in your own voice
- You approve the final piece before it is published
What type of story is the Conversation looking for?
The Conversation aims to inform and initiate quality public discourse, so write for your neighbors instead of your fellow researchers. Stories about recent research are well-received, although they must be conveyed in a compelling, layman-friendly way. What is it about your work that is unique, or gives you a unique perspective?
The Conversation also strives to offer academic answers to current issues, so stories must be timely. Historical stories are also popular, as are pieces involving upcoming milestones or anniversaries.
The Conversation wants to hear from researchers and academics who have a perspective that is unique to their expertise.
- Relevant to current events
- Historical anniversaries or milestones
- Novel and notable research
- Can be conveyed to a general audience
- 800-1000 words
Pitching to the Conversation
If you haven’t pitched a column to The Conversation before, please contact your internal communications person to get started. Marilee Griffin can help Cancer Center members refine their initial pitch and submit to The Conversation.
If your pitch is accepted, you will begin the writing process. You will need to verify that you are a researcher or academic at a university or institution. Ph.D. students are able to author if they are under the supervision of an academic.
It’s important to note that deadlines will vary based on your topic; the deadline for your story could be a few days or a few weeks.
Process for First Column:
- Refine your paragraph-long pitch with help from your communications person
- Verify your institution, position and education history
- Pitch your story to The Conversation
- If accepted, receive deadline and begin the writing process with input from a Conversation editor
- Submit by deadline (varies by topic)
- Receive edits, review and approve final story
Once you are initially published by The Conversation, it becomes much easier to pitch and/or receive pitches by their editorial staff. Please continue to keep your communications person looped in.