Academic Journalism – writing for readers

18 March 2015
Scottish Graduate School of Social Science
University of EdinburghThis one-day workshop aims to convey the skills and knowledge to be able to successfully conceive, pitch and write a newspaper comment piece. Though public writing is an increasingly important part of academic social science, the practical task of engaging a wider readership is seldom addressed. This event draws on the expertise of journalists, editors and academics to show how you can write for readers and how your ideas can shape the public debate. Topics covered include:

• conceiving research as a news object
• making a successful pitch to a newspaper editor
• thinking about form, genre and voice
• structuring and writing a comment piece

The workshop will be organised and hosted by Fraser MacDonald. Principal tutors include: David Shariatmadari, Deputy Editor, Comment/Comment is Free, The GuardianDr Alice Bell, Freelance writer and researcher, and science blogger at The GuardianDr Peter Geoghegan, freelance journalist and editor, Political Insight (magazine of the Political Studies Association); Dr Fraser MacDonald, Lecturer in Historical Geography, University of Edinburgh and freelance writer.

As there are limited places to attend this event, applicants are requested to supply a short piece of their own writing as part of the registration process. All that is required is the opening 200 words of a piece related to your own work written for a wider audience. This could be a published or unpublished comment, a feature article, or a blog post. It could be something written specifically for this application process. All we need is just 200 words to give us a sense how you might approach the task of writing your research for a wider audience.

The deadline to apply for a place is 08.00 (GMT) on Monday 9 February 2015. We will endeavour to inform applicants if they have a place or not before the end of the day on Tuesday 24 February. To apply please go to Eventbrite here.

Further information 
Further questions can be directed to me at fraser.macdonald [at]

Students of the social sciences based at Scottish universities should be able to claim back travelling expenses from outwith Edinburgh, details of which will be given on the day. Students of the Arts and Humanities based at Scottish universities are invited by agreement with the SGSAH and their travel expenses will be covered by SGSAH. Students based at institutions outside of Scotland need to claim back travel and accommodation expenses from their home institution.

best wishes

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