Three years ago we launched The Conversation with a simple aim: to improve the quality of public discourse (aka conversation). That hasn’t altered, but we have grown, developed and, we hope, improved. We now have more than 10,000 academic and researcher authors contributing in our virtual global newsroom of nearly 50 staff.
We launched our UK operation last May and that has now grown to 18 staff based in London, Manchester and Glasgow. And our aim is to build a truly global knowledge platform of ideas, research and expertise edited and curated by professional editors. A digital world knows no boundaries, and neither can we.
Take our coverage of the fast changing events in Ukraine/ Crimea and the missing MH370. Working in tandem with our UK colleagues, we have been able to offer you a 24-hour service of informed analysis and commentary. At around 6pm when we leave work, the UK team starts. That means while we sleep, they mind the site. And for you that means if anything significant happens we will aim to have it covered.
In terms of traffic to the site, in the past 12 months our audience has doubled to 1.5 million unique visitors a month. However, because we allow free republication of all our content under Creative Commons, our overall reach is around 5 million. To date more than 8,000 sites have published our content around the world.
In the coming months we hope to further improve and expand our service. Recently we appointed a community manager to help ensure we have high quality and engaged reader participation, and hopefully avoid the pitfalls of so many other sites. We’ve also appointed a multimedia editor who will allow us to bring more podcasts, video and data journalism.
And we are about to appoint a Jakarta editor (through the support of the Myer Foundation) to work with Indonesian academics and researchers with the aim of improving our understanding of our closest neighbour. And there’s more to come.
We are often asked which are the most popular articles, or the most-read authors on the site. So we’ve a special report on our blog today on some of the key metrics. (Universities and authors already have this data on their dashboards).
And for making The Conversation happen, we pay special thanks to our partners and members, our authors, and of course you our readers, without whom there wouldn’t be a conversation.
Andrew Jaspan, Editor.
PS – In May we’ll be running our annual reader donation campaign, inviting you to become a Friend of The Conversation and make a tax-deductible donation. So stay tuned for that one.