CCCA Writing Workshop

Shorten, shorten, shorten!

Twenty climatologists from eight CCCA member institutions and the editorial staff of DOSSIER spent one day working on the perfect press release.

Less is often more. This also applies to press releases on scientific topics. However, authors of scientific texts often lean towards long and convoluted sentences that rather cause confusion than provide clarity. Thus, the first and foremost editorial advice was to “shorten, shorten, shorten!”

"The writer (...) must constantly ask: what am I trying to say? Surprisingly often they don´t know." (William Zinsser in "On Writing Well")

There are significant differences between scientific writing and the style preferred by journalists and the media. Researchers often practice scientific writing only, which is why Florian Skrabal and Georg Eckelsberger (DOSSIER) have analysed how to best communicate research projects in a media-effective way and derived from this analysis tips and tricks specifically geared to researchers.

How long should a press release be so people still read it? Which contents attract the press’s attention? When is the best time contact a journalist?

The heads were spinning, and the keyboards were on fire – after a day of intense writing training, the participants and trainers returned to their research exhausted but with great deal of valuable information.