Adam Crymble: Canadian Historians in the Newspaper

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Adam Crymble is the web editor for the Network in Canadian History & Environment and writes a monthly column for Active History.]

What if my supervisor disagrees with what I write? What if someone in the community sends me a nasty email? What if the editor ignores my article?

There are plenty of excuses young historians turn to when they convince themselves not to write opinion pieces for the newspaper. But, there are even more good reasons why they should: what if it makes government reconsider policy related to my research? What if I can convince Canadians to think differently about a topic for which I am passionate? What if my research makes a tangible difference because I put it where people would read it?

An opinion piece – sometimes called an “Op-Ed,” is a great way for a young Canadian historian to engage the general public. I’m not talking about a letter to the editor; instead, an op-ed is generally a 500-1000 word essay that addresses a timely and newsworthy issue, which appears in the editorial section – frequently “Op”posite the “Ed”itorial. Any Joe Schmoe can write a letter to the editor; when selecting an op-ed, editors generally seek someone with expert knowledge. And that’s just what academics are....

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