The Science of Writing for Busy Readers

October 3, 2023
2:30 P.M. ET
The Journalist's Resource presents an online training session with public policy professor Todd Rogers. JR is a project of the Shorenstein Center aimed at bridging the gap between journalism and academia. Its primary goal is helping journalists improve their work by relying more often on scientific evidence and high-quality, peer-reviewed research.

Everyone is busy. That’s why readers skim what we write – news stories, newsletters, emails and even texts. In this online training session, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Todd Rogers will teach the practical cognitive science of how to write so readers fully understand what we’re telling them before they move on. It’s based on hundreds of randomized controlled experiments with publications including the Washington Post, Upworthy, and even The Journalists Resource.  

This free one-hour webinar involves activities and polls, and ends with an actionable checklist for participants and their teams. Attendees will learn six principles to make our writing more effective, more accessible, and more respectful of busy readers’ time and attention. The session will be moderated by Shorenstein Center Director Nancy Gibbs.

The webinar is open to all, but registration is required.


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:  Todd Rogers is coauthor of Writing for Busy Readers. He is a professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, specializing in the science of effective communication. He is the faculty director of the Behavioral Insights Group, faculty chair of the executive education program Behavioral Insights and Public Policy, Senior Scientist at ideas42, and Academic Advisor at the Behavioral Insights Team. Rogers co-founded the Analyst Institute, which improves voter communications, and serves on its board. He also co-founded EveryDay Labs, which improves school-to-family communications, and is an equity holder and Chief Scientist. Rogers received his Ph.D. jointly from Harvard’s department of psychology and Harvard Business School.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR:  Nancy Gibbs is the director of the Shorenstein Center and the Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Until September 2017, she was Editor in Chief of TIME, directing news and feature coverage across all platforms for more than 65 million readers worldwide, as well as Editorial Director of the Time Inc. News Group. Gibbs was named TIME’s 17th editor in September 2013, the first woman to hold the position, and remains an Editor at Large. Under her leadership, TIME’s digital audience grew from 25 to 55 million, video streams passed 1 billion a year, and TIME won a primetime Emmy award for its two-part “A Year in Space” documentary, produced with PBS. During her three decades at TIME, she covered four presidential campaigns and is the author of more cover stories than any writer in TIME’s near-100 year history, including the black-bordered “September 11” special issue, which won the National Magazine Award in 2002.