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The Conversation

UT Knoxville has joined The Conversation—an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through our partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of UT’s faculty.

All articles on The Conversation’s website are authored by scholars who write on their area of expertise, working with professional editors to ensure that their knowledge is conveyed in language accessible to the widest possible audience.

All articles are free to republish under a Creative Commons license and many have been republished by large national outlets such as the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, CNN, Univision, PBS NewsHour, Scientific American, and others. Through partnerships with the Associated Press and GateHouse Media—which owns many of Tennessee’s newspapers—articles are republished by local newspapers. By writing once, UT’s scholars can reach audiences locally, nationally, and globally.

The Conversation is a key tactic in highlighting research that improves lives and changes the world.

The News and Information team is committed to helping faculty members find success in pitching articles. Our team will:

  • Suggest pitches to faculty members based on trending news topics
  • Provide a first read and refinement for new article pitches
  • Look for opportunities for our faculty members through daily expert requests from The Conversation
  • Connect editors researching specific topics for The Conversation with faculty members with expertise in that area
  • Provide ongoing presentations to faculty about the benefits of writing for The Conversation
  • Work to further amplify an article’s reach through university-specific channels
  • Notify local outlets and relevant trade publications to articles from The Conversation available for republication

What authors need to know about writing for The Conversation US

Faculty members will work with UT’s News and Information team to refine article pitches to be submitted to The Conversation. The Conversation is interested in providing expert analysis in response to news events and setting the news agenda with big ideas originating in academia.

Editors consider four things in a pitch:

Is it of interest to a general audience?

What does a lay person want or need to know about this topic?

Is it timely?

Timeliness can mean many things: new research, analysis of something in the news, commentary based on events, historic anniversaries, big ideas in a field of study, and more. Why should readers care now?

Is the author an expert in what they are writing about?

Faculty members should describe how the topic fits into their field of research.

Can the author cover the topic in 1,000 words or fewer?

Articles are not aimed to be comprehensive but to make critical points that the public needs to know.

What’s next?

Once a pitch is approved, faculty members will work with an editor to write and refine an article. From pitch to completion, the process takes three to six weeks. For breaking or trending news, the timeframe is 24 hours to three days.

All authors have access to an author dashboard and can see how many times the article has been read in its original publication and any republication as well as the geographic location of readers. Dashboards monitor comments on The Conversation’s website and social media engagement. These metrics can be used to demonstrate public engagement and education.

Interested in sharing your expertise with The Conversation? Contact us.

In a survey of The Conversation authors, researchers found that:

90% had a positive experience working with editors

93% said the edits from their editors were helpful

90% would recommend that a colleague write with The Conversation

Articles published on The Conversation’s website are typically read between a thousand and a million times. In one month, articles on The Conversation reached 34.7 million people through republication. However, there are other ways to measure an article’s impact. Of the more than 400 authors surveyed:

43% were approached for other academic collaborations

31% saw an increase in citations of their scholarly articles

23% used the article or metrics as part of a grant or other funding proposal

14% influenced policy by a decision maker

51% received a request for a radio interview

38% received a request for a print outlet interview

27% received a request to write for a different outlet

17% received a request for a TV interview