- What is Footnote?
- What does Footnote offer scholars? What does it offer readers?
- What makes Footnote unique?
- How can I get involved?
- Who is Footnote’s audience?
- What is the relationship between Footnote and other outlets for disseminating research, like academic journals and conferences?
- How is Footnote different than other media outlets that cover academic research?
- How can I contribute to Footnote?
- Why should I contribute to Footnote?
- What does Footnote provide its contributors?
- What does this cost? / What does it pay?
- What is Footnote’s editorial philosophy?
- What is the article format?
- Who creates the articles?
- How does the process of writing an article work?
- How are articles disseminated?
What is Footnote?
Footnote is an online media outlet whose mission is to share academic knowledge with the public in a format they can understand and use. We work directly with scholars to create original articles highlighting their research and expertise for a broader audience. Our editorial approach combines the best of academia and journalism, presenting complex information in an intellectually accessible, engaging format.
What does Footnote offer scholars? What does it offer readers?
Our mission is to turn academic knowledge into a news and information resource for the public. We provide the research community with a platform to expand the impact of their work and share their knowledge with audiences outside academia. We offer readers high-quality, evidence-based insights and analyses that serve as a corrective to the sensationalism and superficial coverage that predominate today’s news cycle.
What makes Footnote unique?
Every Footnote article is produced in collaboration with one or more academic experts, providing a direct channel from researchers to the public. To date, Footnote has created articles with over a hundred scholars from universities across the country and the world, including Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke, Cambridge, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins.
How can I get involved?
If you are a scholar or researcher, you can collaborate with Footnote to publish an article sharing your academic expertise with a broader audience. You can also following Footnote on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ and share our articles with your colleagues and online networks.
Who is Footnote’s audience?
The primary audience for an academic journal article is scholars and specialists. The primary audience for a Footnote article is everyone else, from educators to business leaders, casual readers to journalists, students to policymakers. Our readers are not experts, but they are excited to learn.
We try to keep in mind four segments of our audience when crafting an article:
- General readers driven by intellectual curiosity and personal enrichment;
- Professionals seeking evidence to inform their daily decision making;
- Journalists looking for evidence and expert perspectives to enrich their reporting; and
- Academics who want to stay informed about their own and other disciplines.
What is the relationship between Footnote and other outlets for disseminating research, like academic journals and conferences?
The existing system for publishing and disseminating research within the scholarly community is an essential part of the academic process. Our goal is to complement this system by adding an additional channel for scholars to communicate new knowledge beyond narrow academic circles.
How is Footnote different than other media outlets that cover academic research?
We focus exclusively on academic knowledge and research and have built our identity as a site around showcasing scholarly expertise. More importantly, while traditional media outlets view scholars as sources to draw on for stories, we see them as partners who are an essential part of what we do. Footnote is a platform that supports academics in telling their stories and sharing their knowledge.
How can I contribute to Footnote?
You can collaborate with Footnote’s editors to create an article sharing your academic expertise with a broader audience. The article could discuss the findings of your latest research, provide a general overview of an important topic in your field, address an idea or issue relevant to your area of expertise, or explore big picture issues related to research and academia.
Why should I contribute to Footnote?
Footnote provides scholars the opportunity to broaden then impact of their research by showcasing it to new audiences. Academics are motivated to contribute for a number of reasons:
- To share their research with mainstream audiences so it can have a greater impact on public opinion and decision making.
- To build their online presence and media visibility.
- To gain experience communicating academic ideas to non-academic audiences.
- To produce accessible versions of their work for sharing with colleagues and students outside their field.
- editorial and writing services to produce articles that are accessible and engaging for mainstream readers, and
- channels for publishing and promoting these articles.
The process of creating a Footnote article if a highly collaborative one. Contributors benefit from the support of Footnote’s editors, but maintain significant input into how their expertise is presented. Every academic who contributes to an article is listed in the byline for that article. They are also provided with a Footnote profile where readers can learn more about their career background and research projects.
What is Footnote’s editorial philosophy?
Footnote articles cover a wide range of topics in the social, life, and hard sciences, from the implications of new robotic technologies to conflicts in the Middle East. Articles are designed to bridge the gap between academia and journalism, combining the best approaches from both worlds.
From the academic/research world, we incorporate the following elements:
- A foundation in rigorous research and subject expertise
- Respect for the nuance and complexity of academic research
- Citations of relevant academic literature
- “Evergreen” information that provides lasting value beyond today’s news cycle
From the journalism/media world, we incorporate the following elements:
- Story angles and hooks that grab readers’ attention
- Clear language that avoids academic jargon
- Concrete examples to clarify abstract concepts
- Background information that provides relevant context
- Discussion of implications for policy, business, education, and other areas
What is the article format?
Footnote articles are typically 700 to 1100 words (1.5 to 2 pages), though they can be longer or divided into multiple parts if necessary. Every article includes an endnotes section with citations for further reading on the topic. Articles also feature sidenotes in the right-hand margin that connect readers to related stories and ideas, provide background on unfamiliar concepts, offer additional context, or present other relevant information.
Who creates the articles?
Articles are created through close collaboration between the academic contributors and Footnote’s editors, who are experts at translating complex research and ideas into engaging and accessible prose. The academic contributors provide the ideas and expertise and Footnote’s editorial team shapes this material to a format and style suited for a mainstream audience.
How does the process of writing an article work?
After the contributor and Footnote editors jointly select a topic and story angle, an editor puts together a list of key questions and issues to be explored in the article. The contributor writes up responses to these questions, which the editor uses to create a first draft of the article for the contributor to review. The editorial process moves forward collaboratively from there to produce a final product both the contributor and Footnote are happy with.
The process can take other forms depending on the contributor’s availability and how comfortable they feel writing for a mainstream audience. If a contributor is interested in writing most of the article themselves, our editors can work with them to develop an outline and edit the draft they produce. If a contributor has very limited time, our editors can conduct a phone interview to gather the necessary information for producing an article draft, or can publish the conversation in an interview format.
How are articles disseminated?
Our articles are published on the Footnote website and promoted through Footnote’s social media channels. They are also republished in mainstream outlets, like The Boston Globe’s BetaBoston, and on specialized websites, such as robotics news site Robohub. Our stories have been picked up by journalists from national outlets (Mashable, Business Insider) as well as local papers (The Providence Journal). They have “gone viral” on Reddit and other social networks and been cited and quoted on Wikipedia.