You Don't Have to be a Star to Shed New Light
A Guide for Telling the Addiction Research Story to the Public
To organize a lay language research article include:
1. Headline or Title – Catch the reader’s eye.
2. Lead sentence – Use a question or a provocative statement.
3. State the facts – Keep it simple, clear, concise, and easily understood.
4. Tell why those facts are important – Who else says so? What are the immediate and long term consequences?
5. Describe a personal, social, or economic benefit – Answer the unspoken question in every reader’s mind, “SO WHAT?”
6. Summarize – Wrap it up.
7. Close with a memorable statement.
Magazines, newspapers, newsletters, web pages, and even letters to the editor are all ways to communicate to the general public the facts and benefits of addiction research. Editors and publishers of these publications are always open to articles, news releases, and opinion/editorial pieces of interest to their readership. Very few newspapers have a full time science writer so they depend on solicitations from outside sources.(There are approximately 1800 daily newspapers in the U.S., but only about 50 have full time science writers.) The interest is there – science museums and related facilities draw 150 million visitors a year – more than baseball, football, basketball, and Disney World combined. The average person may think he or she does not have an interest in addiction research, but if your work is of value there are plenty of readers who would like to know more about what you do.
Writing for Lay Readers
Organizing a Lay Research Article
1. Headline or Title – Catch the reader’s eye. All American Beers Are Not Equal
2. Lead sentence – Can be a question or a provocative statement. Despite the increase in light beer sales, there has been a general increase in the overall strength of U.S. beer over the past 5 years.
3. State the facts – Keep it simple, clear, concise, and easily understood. Don’t overuse statistics. Instead employ quotes, similes, metaphors and other familiar examples. Americans are used to checking the calories, fat and other characteristics for the food they purchase but how many check the alcohol content of their beverage?