June 20, 2019

Faculty encouraged to write for The Conversation

Faced with the downsizing of newsrooms and an evolving media landscape, two years ago Wayne State’s Office of Marketing and Communications signed on as a partner with The Conversation, a nonprofit publisher of academic commentary and analysis, as a way to publish more of its own content. This partnership provides faculty with opportunities to write articles about important issues and have them picked up by multiple media outlets around the world.

To date, 41 Wayne State authors have contributed 69 articles that have been viewed by more than 2 million readers. You can read these articles online here.

“The Conversation is always looking for experts to write on a wide variety of timely — and sometimes niche — topics, and the breadth of faculty expertise at Wayne State never fails to impress me,” said Matt Lockwood, director of communications. “If you’ve done research on a topic or are an expert in an area and there’s an issue that you haven’t seen addressed, that’s what you should write about.”

For example, the top three Wayne State articles by number of reads are:

  • Overhydrating presents health hazards for young football players,” written by Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise and sports science. The article has been read 415,591 times, including more than 300,000 times on CNN’s website.
  • The science of fright: Why we love to be scared,” by Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Linda Saab, assistant professor of psychiatry, which was translated by Spain’s largest newspaper and by Vietnamese and Swedish news websites. The majority of people read the article on the Smithsonian Magazine’s site.
  • In January, Bridget Baker, clinical veterinarian and deputy director of the Warrior Aquatic, Translational, and Environmental Research (WATER) Lab, wrote a piece titled, “Is winter miserable for wildlife?” The article has been repurposed for use by K-12 teachers through the company newsela, and resulted in a Sirius XM interview. Baker is currently working on an article about animals that do math.

“I've worked with several scholars at Wayne State, all of whom were a delight to deal with,” said Naomi Schalit, Conversation senior politics and society editor. “From law school faculty to humanities scholars, they produced stories that provided essential context about events in the news. The process was pretty painless for me, and I think for them, too. We all had the same goal in mind: To help readers understand, in a deeper way, the day's headlines.”

Faculty experts — who must hold a Ph.D. — work with an experienced editor to perfect and polish articles, which typically range from 600-1,000 words.

Writing for The Conversation can increase the visibility of your research, enhance your reputation and connect you to peers for collaboration. Articles written for The Conversation have also led to an increase in citations for the authors’ scientific papers, been used in NSF applications and resulted in book proposals.
If you’re interested in writing for The Conversation, contact a member of Wayne State’s public relations team.