If university researchers think that the media are “dumbing down” their field of knowledge and that important developments are routinely ignored, should they try to bypass news outlets to get their stories directly to the people?
That is what a group of eight large research universities in Australia (with a few other partners) has begun. The Conversation, a website barely three months old, provides timely reports on issues of the day, written by the researchers themselves and directed at the Australian public.
The website was founded by Andrew Jaspan, a former daily newspaper editor in Australia. About 1,000 researchers at 39 Australian universities are contributing articles to the website, assigned and edited by 14 professional editors who work with the academics to make the stories relevant and accessible. (Mr. Jaspan aspires to have 2,000 contributors and 20 editors in the near future.)
The Conversation seems to have found a market: one million article views were recorded in its first 10 weeks of operation, and 200,000 unique visitors are reading it each month, he told the international Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education in Toronto last week. Read more…