On November 2, the In Trust Center hosted a webinar on “Writing for the mass media” aimed at seminary leaders. The webinar was conducted by David E. Sumner and Holly G. Miller, experienced editors who previously collaborated to write Feature and Magazine Writing: Action, Angle and Anecdotes (Wiley, 2013).

In a witty and engaging presentation, the two explained the kinds of writing that seminary leaders might need to produce for the mass media, from traditional feature articles to tweets and blog posts. They discussed the general downsizing of journalistic staffs that causes publications to now be more open to freelancers than they have historically been, and they presented ways to craft the tone of a message for a particular audience and techniques to make writing interesting and relevant to the reader.

Much of the webinar was spent giving practical tips around the last point — making one’s writing something that the casual reader would want to pick up. Advice included avoiding clichés, finding fresh angles, keeping a tight focus on the main point, employing entertaining examples and illustrations, breaking up long sentences and paragraphs, and using active voice.

Miller and Sumner gave very specific, detailed advice to help seminary leaders do all of these things better — from how to examine events and trends at your seminary to find connections with questions outsiders are asking, to how to find a publication’s rules for freelance submissions, to making your writing lively by always remembering to “get the name of the dog” (i.e., provide details that draw the reader in.)

Religion is a hot topic right now, Sumner and Miller pointed out, and our national debates need people who can write about it well in the public square. This webinar will equip seminary leaders to do just that.

You can access the recorded version of this webinar online now.