The Conversation

RIT has a partnership with The Conversation, a nonprofit, independent news organization dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good.

The Conversation logo.

The Conversation is a nonprofit, independent source of news and views written exclusively by the academic and research community. All the articles it publishes online are also distributed via Associated Press to media outlets around the globe, which have the option to re-publish them exactly as they’ve been written.

The Conversation offers a unique opportunity for you to share your expertise on a timely topic through a news article you’ve written that has the potential to be read by people around the world.

What The Conversation Publishes

The Conversation features commentary and analysis—not opinion—authored by academics and edited by journalists for the general public. The Conversation focuses on three priority areas:

  • Timely, evidence-based analysis of issues making the news
  • Articles explaining new research and its significance for a non-expert audience
  • Timeless, plain English “explainers” of complex issues

The word count for an article is typically 800 to 1,000 words.

How to Write for The Conversation

All RIT professors, postdoctoral scholars and Ph.D. candidates are eligible to write articles. No previous news-writing experience is required. The Conversation has an experienced team of editors who will guide and support you through a collaborative and editing process.

The editors prefer to consider a story idea before it’s fully written. Craft a brief pitch that outlines the story you intend to write. Those that are timely are most likely to be accepted, as are topics related to new research. University Communications can brainstorm with you ways in which to relate your expertise to timely topics.

Latest Essays by RIT Experts

By the Numbers

7.7M

Reads, to date, of essays written by RIT faculty and staff

121

Articles published, to date, written by RIT's subject-matter experts

37%

Readers of RIT-produced content located outside the United States

12M

Users who visit The Conversation's website each month

Testimonials

Top Publishers

The Conversation's articles are free to read and free to republish on a Creative Commons license. Articles are regularly republished in large national outlets such as The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, CNN, Scientific American and many more. By writing, academics can reach audiences in publications locally, nationally, and internationally. In addition, articles may be translated into other languages, upon author approval, for even wider global reach.

These outlets represent a few of the national outlets that have republished content written by RIT experts:

logos for Fast Company, PBS, CNN, and Scientific American.

Partners and Funders

The Conversation partners with leading institutions to help them develop the service by funding specific projects. This may be a new editorial section or a strategic initiative, such as establishing an intern program or creating a multi-media unit.

These partners and foundations include:

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Henry Luce Foundation
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Lumina Foundation

See the full list of partners and funders

Writing Tips

  • Remember who the reader will be: Curious people who are smart but not knowledgeable in your field.
  • Think about your piece as explanatory, not prescriptive. In other words, try to emphasize facts, figures, and scholarship over opinion statements. Avoid the royal “we.”
  • Somewhere in the first third of the piece, include a sentence that establishes you as an expert on this subject. You can link to your own scholarship in this sentence.
  • Be explanatory in how you write. Use simple language to get at complex ideas and use illustrative examples to make the points.
  • This is not an op-ed, but more of a sourced analysis or argument. You are welcome and encouraged to share your expert reaction to something, but you should be able to defend that position.
  • At the end of the intro section, you should include what in journalese is called the “nutgraf”—aka the thesis statement. This is the main point of the article, and why it’s important now.
  • All information presented, including facts, statistics, relevant research, quotes, etc., should be cited within the text via hyperlinks. This should read like a regular journalism story but be cited nearly as thoroughly as a journal article.
  • Authors need to fill out a disclosure form to list any potential conflicts of interest or affiliations relevant to this article, which could include membership in think tanks, advocacy groups or other non-profits.
  • The Conversation publishes only original material. If your piece is under consideration at another publication, now is the time to withdraw it.

Join The Conversation

Participation in The Conversation is open to all RIT faculty and staff. Ph.D. students can write about their dissertation subject or co-author a piece more broadly in their field with a faculty or research mentor. Contact your University Communications representative for more information.