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How to Write About Positive Psychology for a Popular Audience

DATE: Sunday, July 18th 2019

TIME: approx. 1.30 PM - 5:30 PM (3h workshop)

FORMAT:  Lecture with powerpoint, followed by discussion.

LOCATION: TBC

IDEAL AUDIENCE: Researchers or practitioners who want to share key insights from positive psychology widely with non-academic audiences; journalists who want to improve their reporting on positive psychology; and anyone else who needs to communicate the results of positive psychology research to non-experts.


How to Write About Positive Psychology for a Popular Audience: Lessons from Greater Good Magazine 

Positive psychology research is full of practical insights and actionable tips that could interest a huge general audience, yet it can be challenging to distill and communicate these findings in writing. This workshop will offer successful techniques for writing about positive psychology in a way that engages a popular audience. It will be led by editors of Greater Good, the award-winning online magazine that reports on positive psychology findings to more than half a million readers each month. They will identify the pitfalls and challenges of writing about positive psychology for popular audiences, including making the research feel too jargony or dense, on the one hand, or "dumbing it down" in a way that´s misleading or even harmful, on the other. They'll also offer concrete examples of effective (and not so effective) writing techniques and break down the key components of good science writing.

Specific topics they'll cover will include:

  1. How to frame positive psychology findings so that they feel timely and relevant, captivating a reader's attention

  2. How to avoid common pitfalls when writing about positive psychology

  3. How to craft a pitch for an article that you can send to editors--a big step toward getting published.


Workshop Leaders

  Jason Marsh   Greater Good, USA

Jason Marsh
Greater Good, USA

Jason Marsh is the editor in chief of Greater Good, the online magazine produced by UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, where he is also the director of programs. In his 15 years as Greater Good's editor in chief, Marsh has written widely on the science of happiness, mindfulness, gratitude, and more; he has also edited two anthologies of Greater Good articles, The Compassionate Instinct and Are We Born Racist?, and served as executive producer of both The Science of Gratitude, the GGSC’s award-winning public radio special, and its popular podcast, The Science of Happiness. In addition to his work for Greater Good, Marsh has written for the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the opinion section of CNN.com, among other outlets. Prior to joining the GGSC, he was a reporter and producer at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, a documentary film producer, a kindergarten teacher, and the managing editor of the political journal The Responsive Community.

  Jeremy Adam Smith   Greater Good, USA

Jeremy Adam Smith
Greater Good, USA

Jeremy Adam Smith edits Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. He is the author of The Daddy Shift, which the San Francisco Chronicle calls “amazing” and the New York Times praises as “a chronicle of a time that he predicts we will look back upon as the start of permanent change.” He also co-edited two Greater Good anthologies, Are We Born Racist? and The Compassionate Instinct. Jeremy’s articles and essays have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American, Utne Reader, Mindful, Wired, and many other periodicals, websites, and books. His coverage of racial and economic segregation in San Francisco schools has won numerous honors, including the Sigma Delta Chi award for investigative reporting, the PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the National Award for Education Reporting, and many excellence in journalism awards from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. He is also a three-time winner of the John Swett Award from the California Teachers Association. Before joining the GGSC, Jeremy was a 2010-11 John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University.