Duke University has more than great basketball. It has the nation’s best op-ed writer I’ve ever known. David Jarmul, associate vice president for news and communications at Duke University, is the developer of what I’d call “viral op-eds,”—op-eds that are so well written that they are irresistible to newspaper opinion page editors across the country. In his past career at the National Academy of Sciences he founded this technique of pitching a well written op-ed to many outlets, and he has perfected it at Duke. David has joined us for many trainings and has coached hundred of scientists and faculty how to write op-eds that “zig when others zag”—that stand out for their writing, clarity and story telling. In this article for Inside Higher Ed, David describes the basics of what every researcher, faculty member or expert should know about writing persuasively and brilliantly.

A Duke professor recently used the magic word in an op-ed article she published, resulting in an invitation to visit a U.S. Senate office to discuss legislation affecting millions of children.

The magic word was “I.” It’s a word academics should include more often when writing op-ed articles for audiences beyond their campuses.

The professor wrote about her research showing orphanages in developing countries to be better than many Americans believe. She argued that well-intentioned legislation now before Congress would close too many orphanages and harm children unlikely to be adopted by nurturing families. The senator, one of the legislation’s sponsors, was among those who saw the article.

Read the rest here.