Wednesday, July 12, 2006
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So you want to publish an op-ed....
In the latest issue of International Studies Perspectives, Douglas Borer has an essay entitled, "Rejected by the New York Times? Why Academics Struggle to Get Published in National Newspapers." Here's how it opens:
At one time or another the bug to write an editorial strikes many in our profession. Our motivation is driven by disgust in what we see in the media, where many of the pundits are, for lack of a more nuanced description, idiots.Fortunately, Borer then focuses most of his ire at academic folkways:
The first hurdle to overcome is schizophrenia when it comes to following rules. While academics suffer no hesitation when placing limits on students' term papers, professors generally do not like to follow similar restrictions. Because our first foray into editorial writing is usually for a local newspaper, bad habits form quickly. A decade ago, my colleagues at Virginia Tech informed me that the Roanoke Times would publish essays of almost any length that a Tech professor submitted. If I had something to say, and needed 1,500 words to say it, I simply sent my over-stuffed story, and presto! I was playing the smug role of public intellectual. Move over Tom Friedman, this was easy!That last line applies to blogs as well.
posted by Dan on 07.12.06 at 05:55 PM
That it took Borer over a thousand words to say "Academics are too longwinded" rather proves his point, no?posted by: James Joyner on 07.12.06 at 05:55 PM [permalink]
Good point James, but remember that I am an academic writing specifically to a professional academic audience. The chosen venue, be it the NYT or International Studies Perspectives, has a great deal of impact on how an author crafts a piece (which is my real point). In the article, I make 4 relevant observations. Academics are too long winded, they are too slow, they don't write using emotive language, and they need keep writing. Drezner's blog does not reproduce the entire piece (I would guess because of potential copyright infringement issues) thus, if you don't read the original piece, you really don't get the entire picture I am trying to paint. If you do not have access to ISP, send me an email and I will reply with the .PDF file.posted by: Doug Borer on 07.12.06 at 05:55 PM [permalink]
-Academics are too long winded, they are too slow, they don't write using emotive language, and they need keep writing.-
I just hear a Tony Robbins speech (yes go ahead and laugh it up) that was actually quite impressive and engaging. Blog away Doug, I do believe that there is beginning to be a shift in academic journalism in an effort to keep up with the shifts in media.posted by: Ben on 07.12.06 at 05:55 PM [permalink]
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