The CHUM Research Centre encourages its researchers to speak to the media.
Well-articulated stories about scientific discoveries and advances help to democratize science, demystify beliefs and set the record straight. They also remind policy makers and the public of the importance of research and its impact on our lives.
Representing the CRCHUM to the media is an important responsibility. If you are looking for ways to prepare for an interview and deliver your messages effectively, check out this guide with tips on working with the media.
WRITING AN OPINION PIECE
Do you have an interesting viewpoint to share? If you can convey it clearly and convincingly in an opinion piece, you could reach thousands of people, change people’s attitudes about a given subject, or even influence public policy.
An opinion piece is not an article in a scientific journal. It should be personal and allow your voice to be heard. It should present your personal point of view on a topical issue that affects readers in some way.
The best opinion pieces are clear, persuasive and well-argued calls to action. They should answer the question, “what do you want the reader to do, think or feel after reading your piece?”
Here are some tips to help you write an article that the media may agree to publish.
- Monitor the news. It’s crucial to choose the right time. Insofar as possible, make a connection between your subject and a current event;
- Check the length. An opinion piece usually contains between 500 and 600 words;
- Don’t worry about the title. The media will give the piece their own title. You can suggest one, but don’t waste time worrying about it;
- A brief but powerful introduction. The goal is to get your message across and pique the reader’s curiosity. Get right to the point;
- Clear and simple language. Skip the academic jargon and language. Use short sentences and paragraphs;
- Practical examples. People remember colourful details better than raw data. When you write an opinion piece, find interesting examples that will bring your arguments to life. A general, abstract piece about a topic will never be published;
- Take a stance. Be satisfied with expressing a single point of view. Your arguments should be logical and well supported by facts. You’ll have a better chance at getting published if your arguments are provocative, humorous, personal or even unexpected;
- Let the reader know why they should be interested in the subject. Put yourself in the place of a busy person reading your article. Offering solutions to a problem that you’ve identified often helps hold their attention;
- Provide graphics. If you have an illustration, photo or video that could accompany your piece, share it with the media representative when you submit your piece;
- End on a strong note. To echo your powerful introductory paragraph, it is also important to sum up your argument in a strong final paragraph. In fact, many readers scan the title, skim through the introduction and then read the final paragraph and byline.
How to submit your opinion piece?
- Almost all media outlets provide guidelines about how they prefer to receive opinion pieces. They generally provide an email address;
- Don’t forget to provide your contact information and to mention whether you have a hi-res photo of yourself;
- Editors sometimes edit or condense texts for reasons of space or clarity;
- Media outlets like exclusivity: submit your text to a single outlet at a time. If it is rejected, you can always submit it to another;
- Newspapers receive a huge number of opinion piece submissions, most of which are rejected. Target the reading audience that will most benefit from your arguments and plan your submission strategy accordingly.
A few examples:
- Vaccins contre le SRAS-CoV-2 : Une prouesse qui s’appuie sur des décennies de recherche (Nathalie Grandvaux and Vincent Poitout) — La Presse+ — January 9, 2021
- Together, we can eliminate hepatitis C (Naglaa Shoukry) — Montreal Gazette — July 26, 2019
If you have an idea for an article, don’t hesitate to ask the Media Relations team for advice to improve your chances of getting published. Our team will also be able to help you identify the most appropriate outlet.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION CANADA
We encourage you to participate in The Conversation Canada and submit articles for the general public to this independent online news and analysis media that publishes articles written by researchers and academics that are accessible for the layperson.
To date, its free content is distributed across 22,000 news sites internationally and reaches a global audience of 42 million readers every month.
What type of article is The Conversation Canada interested in?
- Solid, well-argued analyses of topical issues;
- Articles explaining new research work and its significance for non-expert readers;
- Interpretations of complex issues in simple terms.
- Articles published in its Canadian network may also be distributed to editions of The Conversation in other countries, such as the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Africa and Indonesia. This could make you a reliable international source of information;
- Articles in The Conversation are regularly republished by major media outlets around the world such as The Canadian Press, the National Post and Maclean’s;
- It’s also a way of showing funding bodies your public commitment and your ability to mobilize knowledge, factors that are increasingly important in grant applications.
To be published by The Conversation Canada, you should currently be employed as a researcher or academic at a research university or institution. PhD candidates under the supervision of an academic may also write for this media platform.
Support from professionals
The Université de Montréal is one of the founding members of The Conversation Canada and enjoys a certain number of advantages, including translation into English of all the texts written by its professors and PhD candidates and their distribution on the English-language platforms of The Conversation. You’ll also receive the support of a team of experienced journalists to help you share your knowledge with as many people as possible.
Our team of media relations and science communication experts can help you define and articulate your article ideas.