We argue that part of Rhetoric & Public Affairs’ future should center public-facing scholarship in rhetorical studies. We begin by chronicling some of the work colleagues are doing to bridge expert and lay publics: podcasts, popular and trade press interviews, social media content development and management, and activist engagements. Centering public-facing scholarship creates several notable shifts: (1) it changes the “so what?” for traditional scholarship by inviting scholars to think about audiences outside of journal readership; (2) it opens space for different stylistic conventions in scholarly writing; and (3) it indicates that nonexpert audiences are valuable as readers. We note the considerable barriers to entry to public scholarship including gatekeeping, framing public scholarship for tenure, and training. We contend that Rhetoric & Public Affairs could lead other journals through an updated definition of impact that takes into account contemporary modes of circulation and sharing, should accept pieces written for nonexpert readers in rhetoric, and should consider, if possible, making available for public reading one scholarly article every month or every quarter.

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