The Conversation

In Summer 2017, Wesleyan’s Office of Communications and Academic Affairs partnered with The Conversation to more widely share the research and expertise of our faculty with the general public through the news media.

What is The Conversation?

The Conversation is a nonprofit news organization that launched in the U.S. in October 2014. It also operates in Australia, the UK, Africa, Canada, France and Indonesia. The Conversation provides news and views from the academic and research community on timely topics of general interest. It is funded through the support of foundations and member institutions, of which Wesleyan is one. Its tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair,” captures the editorial collaboration between the scholar and professional editors at The Conversation that goes into every article. The Conversation is free of advertising and allows free republishing of its articles by any news organization. Conversation articles frequently appear in outlets such as Newsweek, CNN, Business Insider, Washington Post, Raw Story, Time, and many others.

Who writes for The Conversation?

You must be affiliated with an academic or research institution—such as faculty members and graduate students—to publish articles on The Conversation.=

Who reads articles from The Conversation?

The Conversation’s website gets as many as 1 million unique monthly visits, and its daily newsletter is sent to over 54,000 people. Through republication of articles, The Conversation articles averaged 6.2 million reads per month over the past 6 months.

What types of articles are published on The Conversation?

Articles in The Conversation enrich the public discourse on current events by drawing on academic research. The Conversation does not publish traditional op-eds, but rather explanatory journalism that may contain a viewpoint.

Articles must have a news hook to capture the reader’s interest. Examples include:

  • The publication of exciting new research
  • An ongoing trend, event, or issue in the news
  • An anniversary, such as of a book, film, world event, etc.

Recent examples of articles by Wesleyan faculty include “The Real Reason Some People Become Addicted to Drugs,” “Want Better Sleep? Spend Face-to-Face Time with Your Friends and Family,” and “Imagining Russia Post-Putin.”

Think broadly about how your area of expertise applies to the news hook!

How does writing for The Conversation benefit faculty?

There are many benefits to writing for The Conversation! They include:

  • Giving faculty members a voice in broader cultural and scientific debates
  • Increasing the visibility (and citations) of faculty research, enhancing reputation and institutional prestige
  • Learning how to effectively communicate scholarly ideas to the public
  • Demonstrating public engagement and impact of research/teaching (eg. For grant applications)
  • Connecting to other colleagues for collaborations

How can a faculty member pitch an article idea to The Conversation?

Faculty may contact Lauren Rubenstein, Wesleyan’s manager of media & public relations, at for assistance. They may also pitch directly to The Conversation by filling out the pitch form, which sends a message to the appropriate section editor.

The Conversation strongly prefers to receive pitches for article ideas, rather than pre-written articles. Pitches should address the following questions: why should a reader care, why is this timely, and what makes you an expert on this topic? Articles are generally in the range of 800-1,000 words.

The Conversation also seeks out faculty authors through daily Expert Request emails. Faculty members may be contacted by Lauren Rubenstein about opportunities to write.