Communicating My Historical Research

I am often not a fan of overly-academic language. I’m a first-generation college student, and my family hails from an area in inner-city Philadelphia; slang and words pronounced missing one or two syllables are the norm, and no matter how many years of education I pursue, I will always prefer to read and use simple language that still communicates the exact same information as flowery and complicated writing. This is the primary strategy that I would (and do plan to) use when communicating my historical research to someone who doesn’t know about history research, whether they be in academia or not.

I’m currently on vacation and am at the Jersey shore with a bunch of family and friends, and a lot of people have been asking me about my research, which has given me the perfect opportunity to fine tune my “elevator pitch” of my research topic. I have to use a lot of historical and psychological jargon, but I also have to actually explain the historical backdrop of the research, which was a long-winded spiel when I started but has become more refined. I plan on starting out with that historical background and then going into my research and why it’s something that people should care about–so far I’d say that outline has worked well for me!

In the future I hope to work in journalism and media, and while those fields have a lot in common with history (namely the importance of writing), there’s a high chance that I’ll be interacting with people in charge of hiring and interviewing who don’t have a background in writing, so I’ll need to perfect both my personal and professional pitch in a way that is communicable with people across an array of fields.

I’ll also have to address the largest possible field: the myriads of different people who read and watch the news. In a way, the entire world is my field because journalism depends on people of all backgrounds reacting to something, which is why journalism needs to be accessible and needs to quickly catch and keep someone’s attention. It’s impossible to be looked favorably upon by every person who will see my work, but my plan for becoming a frequently-read journalist is to develop my own writing style that reads more as a narrative than a report, which I personally believe keeps people tuned in more than a generic, soulless report that just lists facts out.

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