I was recently talking with an Ivy League humanities professor who does a lot of writing and speaking in public (non-academic) venues. I asked the professor what his/her department chair thought about all of this public activity. "My chair doesn't like it," the professor said. "My department chair thinks I should be writing scholarly articles and 'producing knowledge.' I get no credit for the public work that I do." (This professor, of course, has written important scholarly works in addition to writing and speaking for the public).
This is a shame, but it continues to be reality in the academy.
With this in mind, I agree with just about everything that David Leonard of Washington State University says in this article on public writing. Here are some excerpts:
...But instead of being unnecessary or antithetical to academic work, I would argue that public writing is -- at its core -- what we do as teachers, intellectuals, and scholars. It's another form of teaching, a public pedagogy that engages "students" outside the classroom, and inside, too....