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Op-Eds & Blogs: Hook, Line & Sinker aka Sweet Spots, Hot Topics, and Digestible Tidbits Kai Chan Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "Op-Eds & Blogs: Hook, Line & Sinker aka Sweet Spots, Hot Topics, and Digestible Tidbits Kai Chan Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Op-Eds & Blogs: Hook, Line & Sinker aka Sweet Spots, Hot Topics, and Digestible Tidbits Kai Chan Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability RMES 508, UBC. Sep 9, 2014 © Kai Chan

2 First Answer the Key Question What’s a good hook? What’s your argument? What are good supporting statistics? How will you end it? Where will you publish it?

3 Who Is Your Intended Audience? Audience determines venue There is no ‘general public’: If you cater to everyone, you reach no one TIP #1: Think of your audience in very concrete terms Note: Distinguish clearly between the paper’s/blog’s readers/viewers and who you seek to reach. Your intended audience may be just one person.

4 First: What Change, Theory of Change? “Wait! I just want to educate people.” Implied / default theory of change: People will learn broadly about what might benefit them + They will take the actions that most benefit them and/or others. Demonstrably FALSE, on both accounts Most people automatically filter out unnecessary masses from an onslaught of info & are very selective re: education—only what requires or inspires change. And all kinds of barriers impede action—e.g., habits, norms, and social traps.

5 Integrating Insights Levine, Chan, Satterfield in review Ecol. Econ.

6 Theory of Change What is the change you want to enable, and how might you best enable it—given your available resources? ‘Enable’ doesn’t imply advocacy. This helps identify audience

7 Op-Eds and Blogs, Deconstructed Hook: catchy intro, immediately identifying why your readers need to read this to further their own objectives Line: clear argument with simple structure, e.g., ~3 linked supporting arguments with evidence and/or statistics Sinker: Punchy conclusion that restates your point, concisely and memorably

8 Two Elements: Policy and Practice For our purposes, change may require either or both Pinpoint how policy might be changed in your system And how behaviour, habits, social norms might change

9 Activity Now think about some aspect of your work with implications for society/policy: What might need to change? Who needs to do what for that to happen? (multiple) How can you advance that? What opportunities, resources? What obstacles?

10 Hook Chan 2010 Metro, “Act Like You’re at Home”

11 Line Otto & Chan 2010 Vancouver Sun

12 Sinker Chan & West 2010 Metro “A Medal for Flathead Ban”

13 Sweet Spots: Play Social Networks for Reach & Availability

14 E.g.1, Gregr & Chan 2010 Audience: Managers who have data-envy to USA re: EBM Times Cited: 2 TIP #3: Remember that social media and science are worlds/networks of people

15 Digestible Tidbits: Don’t Make Them Jump Too Far

16 E.g.2, Luck et al., 2009 Audience: Conservation planners & ES researchers interested in connecting to poverty alleviation/human needs Times Cited: 34 TIP #2: Gauge where your audience is (A) … and a realistic route to B

17 Hot Topics: First Catch the Wave, then Innovate

18 E.g.3, Chan et al., 2006, 2007 Audiences: conservationists concerned about human impacts, controversies; conservation planners thinking about ES Times Cited: 194, 587 TIP #4: Remember that others are masters of this!

19 Appeal to the powerful organs 1.Rarely the head 2.Often the heart 3.Whenever possible, the gut 4.Occasionally the gonads Randy Olson Olson 2009 Don’t Be Such A Scientist

20 Aim to be ‘sticky’, via SUCCESs: Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories Chip & Dan Heath Heath & Heath 2007 Made to Stick

21 1.Who is your intended audience? 2.What are they thinking/doing? (A) 3.What do you want them to think/do? (B) 4.How can you get them from A to B? 5.Which venue, and what forum, enables that? DISCUSS in groups of three, for your research Questions

22 Conclusions Hook, Line & Sinker Sweet spots Hot topics Digestible tidbits As with social media, so with science Make it sticky with SUCCESs And remember which organs rule

23 Questions?

24 Baron, N. (2010). Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter. Washington, D.C., Island Press. Dean, C. (2009). Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Public, Harvard University Press. Heath, C. and D. Heath (2007). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Random House Publishing Group. Olson, R. (2009). Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. Washington, D.C., Island Press. References


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