Whenever I am approached by academics who want to make the transition from scholarly to public writing, they always ask me the same question: "What should I write about?" But, really, that is a two-part question.
One part is about genre. Newcomers to public writing typically don’t know the genres — that is, the differences between an op-ed, an essay, a profile, a reported article, or a well researched think piece. You have to learn your journalism genres before you can decide which kind of piece to write (more about those genres in a future essay). The other part of the question has to do with figuring out what you have to contribute to public discourse. That’s what this month’s column is about.