Getting Psyched about Voice, Power, and Access

Yesterday, over 90 psychologists and directors of state associations gathered for an informative panel discussion on “Psychology at the Editorial Table: Advocating through Op-Eds and Letters-to-the-Editor” at the American Psychological Association’s State Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. I was joined on the panel with moderator Tracy Russell, Executive Director of the New York State Psychological Association; Margot Friedman (an OEP alum!), Principal of Dupont Circle Communications; and Christian Trejbal , Editorial Writer of The Roanoke Times.

Christian, Alyssa, & Margot

Members of the audience were interested in how they could increase their visibility as thought leaders in their communities, how to use opinion pieces to advocate and inform the public and policymakers about psychology-related issues relevant to their daily lives, and how to build relationships with editorial staff. I learned some great tips as well, including that members of a group may call to set up a meeting with the editorial board and that it’s best to prepare what Margot refers to as an editorial board memo. Christian advised not scheduling one of these meetings before an election.

A couple of participants chimed in with their successes getting their opinion pieces published in major outlets and we encouraged the group to stay connected and share these results with one another. In closing, I referenced the op-ed by OEP founder and director, Katie Orenstein, and Seminar Leader, Courtney E. Martin, that recently ran on CNN.com – once the participants begin to see others in their field broadcasting their voices, peer influence will help make it possible to see themselves as thought leaders too.

–Alyssa Best, East Coast Program Manager

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