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Durham, NC - Duke University Thursday launched a new website to feature expert opinions from its faculty on issues ranging from the economy to foreign policy.
Developed by the university's Office of News and Communications (ONC), the new opinion section of Duke Today draws on op-ed articles, blogs, tweets, video interviews and other material that a growing number of Duke faculty experts have begun producing to engage with audiences beyond their classrooms. Duke experts now appear regularly in major news media around the world.
"One of Duke's core missions is knowledge in service to society, and we hope this new site will help our faculty connect with people who otherwise might not hear what they have to say," said David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and communications. "Duke faculty members are writing op-ed articles, interacting with the news media and using new tools such as blogs and Twitter. This site will showcase what they're doing."
The site will highlight articles from ONC's op-ed service, which distributes several faculty-authored articles monthly to 20 major newspapers across the United States and Canada. During the past month, for example, the Philadelphia Inquirer and five other papers published an article on how the Berlin Wall continues to divide Germany, written by Germanic languages and literature chair William Donahue. A piece analyzing Syria's demonstrations by professor of Arabic literature and culture Miriam Cooke appeared in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail and elsewhere. Public policy professor Charles Clotfelter's article on cheating in big-time college sports ran in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Each of Duke's op-ed articles now runs, on average, in three or more major newspapers," said Keith Lawrence, ONC's director of media relations, who manages the op-ed service and will edit the new opinion site. "Opinion editors have plenty of choices, including columns by prominent writers such as Thomas Friedman and George Will, but Duke has carved out a niche by providing thoughtful pieces on timely subjects. We also encourage our faculty to 'zag' from what everyone else is writing about."
In addition to Duke's op-ed service, Duke faculty publish in other forums, such as a recent commentary on interdisciplinary research by Tom Katsouleas, dean of Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, that appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Prominent Duke bloggers such as Dan Ariely, Cathy Davidson and Mark Anthony Neal attract large audiences, and ONC is helping faculty reach out through new social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, and through its Duke on Demand video site. Much of this material will be included in the new opinion site, which supplements Duke Today's two existing sections, for news and Working@Duke.
The site also provides an additional outlet for the hundreds of Duke faculty who have participated in ONC's annual media training workshops, which include short sessions on how to write op-ed articles. This fall, based on faculty feedback, ONC will offer for the first time an extended workshop on op-ed writing. ONC's guidelines for op-ed articles also appear online.
"We're excited about the new site. Duke faculty are incredibly engaged in the issues that affect all of us, and we think a lot of people on campus and beyond are going to enjoy coming to a single place and seeing what they have to say," Lawrence said.
© 2014 Office of News & Communications
615 Chapel Drive, Box 90563, Durham, NC 27708-0563
(919) 684-2823; After-hours phone (for reporters on deadline): (919) 812-6603