Pitching and Writing Masterclass

How to write for influential 'non-experts', including industry, the media, politicians and the public

Do you know how to tailor and target your work to gain the attention of people beyond your own peers? Can you write about your research in a clear, concise and compelling way?

Join us for a day of tailored training with one of The Conversation's most senior editors.

Each session is limited to 20 participants and can be tailored to suit academics at all levels, from senior leaders to early career researchers or PhD candidates. Before each session, participants must submit a short summary or “pitch” about their work to develop further during the masterclass. Selected pitches will be shared with the rest of the class for group and individual feedback. By the end of the day, participants will know what to do before contacting the media or industry about their work, and how to make more people value the significance of their research.

The training can be delivered on-site around Australia by request for your institution.

Highlights include:

  • Strategic advice from an experienced editor;
  • A checklist to follow before starting a pitch;
  • Peer and personal feedback on pitches submitted before the session; and
  • Learning a time-saving method to critically assess your own or others' writing

The Pitching and Writing Masterclass is a joint initiative of The Conversation and the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

Testimonials from Past Participants.

“This masterclass is now the cornerstone of our academic professional development program. From professors to doctorate candidates, each has participated with interest. For some, the critical analysis process will define their access to readers and, ultimately, funders.” – Ann McLean, QUT Science & Engineering Faculty Corporate Communications Coordinator

“After your workshop I have a better understanding of the relationships between good journalism and good grant applications.” – Charles Darwin University Pro-Vice Chancellor Research & Research Training, Professor Lawrence Cram.

"Excellent. You did a really great job at making the workshop interactive, engaging and well-paced. I especially enjoyed the insight into the inner workings of the publishing world." – QUT Future Fellow and Associate Professor Tim Dargaville

“Very informative. Increased my confidence and motivation to get my work published outside research journals.”
“I found it to be excellent and I took away many 'gems'.”
“Well-structured and engaging with a good balance of presentation and interaction. I have a much stronger understanding of how to write a successful pitch.”

Fees for on-site training

We offer on-site training session at a discounted rate for Member organisations of The Conversation (this covers the vast majority of Australian universities, as well as the CSIRO and other research organisations). The minimum number of participants in a session is 10, and the maximum is 20. It can be tailored to suit all levels of experience: from PhDs & early career researchers to experienced communicators and senior leaders.

When holding training on-site, we ask the host institute to organise a venue (usually a computer lab or board room) and catering, as well as cover the cost of return economy travel and accommodation (where needed), in return for an extra discount for attendees.

Fees per participant

  • AU$995 per person inc. GST for the first 10 participants from a member of The Conversation.
  • AU$500 per person inc. GST for up to 10 additional participants, extra on-site discounted rate.

We also run this training for non-members by request, but at a higher commercial rate. Quotes for non-member organisations of The Conversation are available on request via the contacts below.

More information

Dr Sarah French
Project Manager, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education
T: 03 8344 8085
E: frenchs@unimelb.edu.au

Sunanda Creagh
NSW Bureau Chief and Digital Storytelling Editor, The Conversation
T: 0401 301 799
E: sunanda.creagh@theconversation.edu.au

Program schedule



9.00am – 10.30am

Please note the session needs to start on time.

Past participant success stories and why their pitches worked.

Introduction to the class, including survey results.

How the 'Impact and Engagement' agenda and changes in the news media are affecting academics and researchers.

Common mistakes in writing when communicating with the media/public, government and industry.

Learning the Fast Feedback process.

Group feedback on pitches: what the group did well and key areas for improvement.

10.30am – 11.00am

Morning tea

11.00am – 12.30pm

Group & individual feedback on selected pitches.

Academic vs news writing structures: how to reach time-poor readers.

The power of the first sentence.

Group & individual feedback on selected pitches.

12.30pm – 1.00pm


1.00pm – 3.30pm

Group & individual feedback on selected pitches.

How to identify and target specific audiences and outlets.

Time to develop pitches, in pairs or individually. One-on-one feedback during that time for those whose pitches weren't discussed by the whole group.

Rapid group feedback on revised pitches.

Final discussion & evaluation. Participants can choose to leave from 3.30pm.

3.30pm ­– 4.30pm

Optional one-on-one feedback for remaining participants.

About the presenter

Sunanda Creagh is an award-winning journalist and The Conversation's FactCheck Editor and NSW Bureau Chief. Sunanda has previously worked as a news correspondent in the Reuters Jakarta bureau, and as a reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald, covering politics, urban affairs, arts, features and sport. Her work has been published internationally, including by The Washington PostCNNESPNThe Scotsman, and The New York Times.

The Conversation is a public-good journalism project helping researchers share their knowledge with millions of readers worldwide (35 million article views in a month, as of March 2016). Its readers include Nobel laureates, school students, business leaders, prime ministers & presidents. Launched from Australia in 2011, it has grown into a global knowledge network, with websites based in the UK, US, sub-Saharan Africa, France, and now The Conversation Global.