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NSU Economics Dept hosts discussion on ‘Writing Economics for the Media’

Published : Thursday, 16 May, 2024 at 11:35 AM  Count : 636

NSU Economics Dept hosts discussion on ‘Writing Economics for the Media’

NSU Economics Dept hosts discussion on ‘Writing Economics for the Media’


The Department of Economics at North South University (NSU) together with the NSU Young Economists’ Forum (YEF) recently hosted a workshop titled ''Writing Economics for the Media: A Conversion with an Academic Economist''.

The keynote speaker was Professor Niaz Asadullah, a visiting academic member of the University of Reading, UK, who is also a Professorial Fellow, at the Department of Economics, North South University. The event was graced by a special guest Professor Abdul Bayes, an eminent economist and former Vice-Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University.
During the workshop, Professor Niaz Asadullah focused on the need for academics and students to go beyond classroom duties and lessons to engage with the outside world and deliberate on wider social challenges. He highlighted the role of economists in shaping public opinions and guiding policymakers on critical social and economic issues through their popular writings. He shared his own two-decade-long experience of publishing over 200 opinion and commentary essays for the national and international media on topics such as economic inequality, child marriage, women's empowerment, migrant workers, education quality, and gender stereotypes. He also explained the challenges of and opportunities for publishing in global media outlets such as the Project Syndicate and the Conversation. Using specific media case studies, he offered personal reflections on what motivates him to write, as a public intellectual. He gave numerous other practical tips on writing persuasively and responsibly, stressing the need for economists to communicate complex ideas effectively and in a reader-friendly manner.

The special guest, Professor Abdul Bayes added that “Turning the data into a story is the real but necessary challenge for economists writing for the mass media.” Professor Niaz’s advice to the students: “Don’t cognitively burden your readers or write in a way that intimidates them even if communicating a quantitative phenomenon.”

The discussion explored why and how economists should write for ordinary people who may not know much about economics. Professor Asadullah noted, "For economists, popular writing is as much about flare as it is about substance." Prof. Abdul Bayes also shared additional valuable insights based on his three-decade-long experience as a seasoned columnist for leading Bangladeshi dailies such as the Daily Star and the Financial Express.

Among other issues, the discussion covered the difference between academic and popular writing, and how to choose the right media outlets in the era of Tik-Tok and Facebook. Professor Asadullah encouraged ethical sourcing of ideas and using storytelling to make economic concepts understandable and engaging. He emphasized “It is ok to use social media to shop for new ideas. Don’t "steal", rather brainstorm for ideas.”

He reminded the audience, “If you want to make a difference beyond university campuses as an educator, you have to be a part of the exercise of building narratives because ultimately this drives perceptions and that in turn shapes policies”.
 
The session attracted a large number of students and faculty members who actively participated in post-lecture discussion on the importance of writing about economics for the general public and in the print and electronic mass media. During the Q&A session, Professor Asadullah expressed interest in hosting follow-up sessions on economics writing for the mass media due to students' keen interest.

NSU’s Department of Economics remains committed to promoting meaningful discussions and empowering students to engage with real-world issues.

SR

Related Topics

NSU   Economic   Discussion   Media  








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