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Morse code in Russia – the path from idea to popular article in The Conversation

Morse code in Russia – the path from idea to popular article in The Conversation
Morse code is still used in Russia, but the manuals have probably  been updated. Photo Chris Curry.

Why does Russia still use Morse code? Has military conscription increased equality? These are two questions that Tony Ingesson, associate senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, reflects on in two highly read articles on the news platform, The Conversation.

One of Tony Ingesson’s articles, on military conscription, has 26,000 reads and the other, about Morse code, has over 40,000 reads. The two articles are among the most read articles from Lund University this year. The article on Morse code was also translated by BBC Mundo into Spanish and gained additional readers on its international website.

The first contact was made by one of The Conversation’s editors who, via Corporate Communications, wanted to find a writer to cover military conscription. This led to Tony Ingesson’s first article in The Conversation. He soon followed it up with another about Russia and Morse code, which was based on his own pitch. 

He describes the experience as smooth and stimulating.

“I fell for the format immediately. It provides good scope for more creative and independent expression than regular academic publications. The low word count limit means that I really had to focus on the core essentials. It was very satisfying to quickly produce a text and then get rapid feedback,” says Tony Ingesson.

However, the biggest difference is the pace of work, which differs from academic contexts:

“The Conversation has short deadlines and more intensive contact prior to publication when the editor goes in and makes their changes. It’s important to be able to respond quickly during the time the editor is working on the text.”

Tony Ingesson sees his participation in The Conversation as a very useful exercise in writing in a popular science style.

“It is a format that requires you to adapt in terms of style. To adopt the style, you need to look at the structure of journalistic texts and work outside the academic procedure. A good introduction that awakens interest and links the content to current events is important. The editor also provides practical support regarding structure before you start writing.”

The Conversation | Staff Pages

Submit your pitch via The Conversation website


Contact Ellen Albertsdóttir, project manager for The Conversation at Lund University: ellen [dot] albertsdottir [at] fsi [dot] lu [dot] se (ellen[dot]albertsdottir[at]fsi[dot]lu[dot]se)

Read more: The Conversation

Different formats in the Conversation for researchers who want to write in The Conversation

News – insights, analysis, in-depth perspectives on current events.
Research – discuss your latest results or comment on other studies. 
Timeless – tell an engaging story, answer a frequently asked question or explore an interesting and generally relevant topic.
Surprising – talk about something that is unexpected, counterintuitive or extraordinary.
Personal stories – share experiences and insights from your work as a researcher.