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Pitching and Writing Masterclass

Do your academics have an important story to share about their research? Can they tell their story in a concise and compelling way? Our senior editors show how it’s done.

The Conversation’s Pitching and Writing Masterclass reveals the common mistakes academics make when sharing their research with non-academic audiences - including the media, industry, politicians and the public.

Fewer than 50% of people typically read beyond the first few sentences of an online article or journal abstract. We show how to keep time-poor readers interested, using short, sharp, jargon-free writing.

Highlights

Masterclass participants develop a story “pitch” for a target media or industry publisher of their choice (with guidance from our editors), draft a headline and the first two paragraphs of a story, and - as a bonus, since a well-written article very often leads to follow-up media coverage - learn a few key tricks to make the most of any radio and broadcast interview.

Highlights of the class include gaining access to:

  • strategic advice from experienced editors
  • professional and peer feedback on your work
  • a checklist to follow before starting a new pitch for a media or industry publisher.

Time-saving expert advice

Sharing research well beyond academia is now a requirement of many research grants - and for good reason, because if research is publicly funded, it’s only right that the public benefits from that knowledge.

But for busy researchers, it can be difficult to know where to start, and what to do - or when their research is interesting enough to a broader non-academic audience to try to attract public attention.

This masterclass is designed to help save time and wasted energy. We share our checklist of what to consider before even ‘pitching’ a story to a media outlet like The Conversation, ABC News, a major newspaper or others. We spend time showing how to adapt content and language to suit different audiences, in different outlets and media. And we help participants sharpen their storytelling skills - so people want to hear more.

Experienced editors you can trust

The senior editors who lead our masterclass program have decades of real-world experience, not just with The Conversation but also other national and international media outlets including the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Reuters and Nature.

Our editors work with academics every day, so we understand the pressures of trying to produce rigorous research - then somehow finding time for public engagement.

That’s why we created this masterclass, which we designed by request from our higher education and research partners.

Sharing stories with millions of readers is what we do best

The Conversation is a not-for-profit publisher of expert research analysis. We commission evidence-based content from academics and researchers, then edit it in collaboration with authors to reach a large global audience.

Even though we publish stories by academics, we help our authors reach a diverse readership; 85% of our readers are non-academics, including 13% working in government or policy roles.

Testimonials

“Outstanding workshop. It’s been one of the best (if not THE best) workshops I have ever done.” Rachel Brisbane, Victoria University


“The most useful professional development workshop I have ever attended. Every single point was new(s) to me and it was invaluable to have feedback from such experienced editors. Not only has this transformed my understanding of how to pitch to The Conversation and other media, the insights benefit my writing for professional newsletters and grant applications. 6 stars out of 5.” Dr Amelia Church, Senior Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne


“This is the best PD I have engaged in over many years. Provided informative and focussed information and discussion in a friendly, professional environment.” - Dr Carol Smith, Lecturer, Education / Program Coordinator, Master of Teaching (Primary), USC


“This was a fantastic workshop, and I highly recommend it for any researcher who wants to disseminate their research. Each participant gets individualised feedback on their writing from very experienced journalists, and this really develops your insight into how to frame things to spark and maintain the reader’s interest. The presenters provided very clear information about what the public and policymakers want to read, how to write clearly, and how to target your writing for different audiences.” Dr Kylie Morphett, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland

Where do we offer masterclasses? What does it cost?

We have two options for masterclass delivery:

1) Standard, all-day sessions are hosted on-campus or at The Conversation’s Melbourne head office. We have senior editors in most capital cities, but can travel to any university by arrangement.

We limit sessions to 20 participants, so editors have time to give individual feedback.

The cost is $895 + GST per person.

2) Two, 2-hour interactive Zoom sessions over two days, with online and offline writing assignments. Two editors are on hand to provide feedback.

We limit standard sessions to 14 participants, so editors have time to give individual feedback.

The cost is $490 + GST per person.

Get in touch

Email masterclass@theconversation.edu.au.