Calling all Canadian chemists: about communicating your work

You never know where something is going to take you, especially not online. My Aug. 9, 2012 posting about a communications  initiative for young scientists in the UK attracted a comment from staff writer/news editor Tyler Irving of the Canadian Chemical News/L’Actualité chimique canadienne. (This is published by the Chemical Institute of Canada, an umbrella organization for three different societies: Canadian Society for Chemistry, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, and Canadian Society for Chemical Technology.) He very kindly informed me,

I’m always looking for interesting research by Canadian chemists and chemical engineers to write about in the Chemical News section of ACCN, the Canadian Chemical News.  While I do often rely on media releases, I’m trying to spread the word that researchers should feel comfortable contacting me directly; it cuts out the middleman. Moreover, copies of our magazine are sent to the publishers of Macleans, Quirks and Quarks, and other outlets for science-based journalism.  So in a way, getting coverage with us acts as a kind of media release in itself.

Exciting, yes? He also gave some indication as to what he’s working on for the next issue,

I’m currently working on the November/December issue of the magazine, and while I have a story about catalysis already, it’s threatening to turn into a full-blown feature rather than a short Chem News article. … please feel free to drop me a note.

Here’s the contact information,

Tyler Irving
News Editor
(ETA Nov. 2, 2012: The contact telephone number was removed. Tyler says it’s easier to contact him via email.)

This is a wonderful and generous offer and I would like to suggest that before you race off to contact him about your latest work that you pause and consider how to best present the work to him. Being of a somewhat enthusiastic and impulsive nature myself, I can state uncategorically that contacting someone and sharing ‘stream of consciousness’ excitement about your work does not encourage the kind of result you hope for. Take the time to think about what the editor might want. Here are a few suggestions:

(1) intelligibility

(2) self-introduction (your name, area of expertise, academic institution or business)

(3) the same kind of brief description of your latest work that you would give a fellow chemist who doesn’t know much about your specific area of expertise

(4) the courtesy of using his/her correct name (ETA Nov. 2, 2012: I actually forgot to write his/her the first time.)

(5) if you do already have a news release, send it along with a personal note

Good luck!

1 thought on “Calling all Canadian chemists: about communicating your work

  1. Pingback: 2012 Canadian science blog roundup and some thoughts on a Canadian science blog network « FrogHeart

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