Date and Time
18th Mar 2015 09:30 –– 18th Mar 2015 17:00
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

Academic Journalism: writing for readers

18 March 2015

University of Edinburgh


This 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: Dr Alice Bell, Freelance writer and researcher, and science blogger at The Guardian; Dr 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 This could be a published or unpublished comment or feature article; or a blog post.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

Further information 

The organiser of this event is Fraser MacDonald and further questions can be directed to him 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. 

A more accurate map of location, plus directions on how to get to the ECCI can be found here

Last updated 16 Jan 2015 12:11pm