Before we’re all distracted by the end of year rush, I wanted to provide you with a brief overview of how we are travelling. The short answer is, not bad.
In terms of readers we have almost tripled since this time last year to 1.4m unique visitors a month, of which around one million are from Australia and the rest from overseas.
And the total reach of our content is much higher because media is widely republishing our content in print and online. They do this because everything we publish is under Creative Commons, making The Conversation an open (and free) resource for the media to mine for articles, ideas and new people to interview.
In May, we launched into the United Kingdom. We started with a team of 12 and have just increased to 16. The UK newsroom is based at City University, London. We’re also appointing a Scotland Editor to help cover next year’s Independence referendum and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
We plan to launch elsewhere and should have more news on that shortly. In the meantime, with the support of The Myer Foundation, we will be appointing a full-time Jakarta Editor to work with Indonesian universities. There is real interest in our content from the Indonesian media as you can see from this recent Jakarta Globe re-publication.
We’ve also appointed new editors in Australia. Michael Lund has joined as Science + Technology Editor from the Courier-Mail. He is based in Brisbane, along with Queensland Editor, Liz Minchin. John Watson joins as Politics + Society Editor. He was at The Age for many years as a columnist and the senior Leader writer.
We are also appointing a Community Manager to help ensure our readers find The Conversation a safe place to participate in intelligent and informed discussion. And we’ve created a new role for a Multimedia Manager to increase the amount of video, podcasts and rich data on the site.
Sadly, both Energy + Environment Editor Jane Rawson and Education Editor Bella Counihan are moving to new positions elsewhere in January and we are seeking to fill these roles. (If you’re interested, they’re advertised on our Jobs Board, here and here.)
On Tuesday, we will be launching our third book, The Story of the 2013 Election, at Parliament House in Canberra. Our Chief Political Correspondent, Michelle Grattan, is hosting a party for MPs at which copies will be distributed.
Looking back on the year, a high point was our first Election which included a wide range of analysis, scoping the key policy issues, Election FactCheck and the Media Panel. Plus of course Michelle Grattan’s Daily Diary. (Yes, it’s all in the book.)
We were rewarded with high traffic throughout the campaign culminating in 360,000 unique visitors for the last week alone.
I think our relative success is down to the fact that we are trying to produce something different: high-grade content sourced from the university and research sector which is curated by professional editors while together we make every effort to adhere to high standards and ethics.
That proposition has attracted many readers who in turn have recommended The Conversation to others. There is nothing more to our story.
Except to thank you for your support, and to wish you all a happy end to the year and Christmas, plus a great new year and an enjoyable summer.