The Conversation Africa celebrates its second birthday

Over the past two years The Conversation Africa has delivered articles born out of a collaboration between professional editors and academics, providing coverage of breaking news as well as cutting-edge research. The aim has been to provide articles with a difference; what we like to call explanatory journalism.

We launched amid a crisis of confidence in mainstream media which has deepened and widened significantly, not just in Africa but across the world. Not only have media outlets continued to shrink their newsrooms, but the prevalence of fake news and untrustworthy articles keeps rising. The deep knowledge found across the research community has meant that academics have been incredibly well placed to fill this vacuum.

This is clear from the fact that over 90% of the 2160 articles we’ve published have been re-used by other media outlets. Our content is reaching over 1.2 million reads a month.

The wider media has enjoyed a bumper supply of high-quality, reliable and ethical journalism. Publications including Quartz Africa, the Daily Nation, the Mail & Guardian, The Standard, All Africa and Timeslive now regularly feature articles produced by us. They are able to do so for free, as our content is published under a Creative Commons license.

This phenomenal success has been driven by all who have supported the project. This includes universities, academics, republishers and of course our readers, many of whom have actively engaged with us and kept us on our toes!

And of course, none of this would have been possible without the financial backing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the South African National Research Foundation, Barclays Africa, Carnegie Corporation of New York and a number of financially contributing and hosting universities.

What’s next

From small beginnings – a tiny team in Johannesburg – we have grown our pan African reach to include a four-person office in Nairobi and yet-to-be-filled premises in Lagos. Our articles are increasingly reflecting a wider African agenda, and attracting a wider African audience. This is still work in progress, but our experience over the past 24 months tells us that, with hard work and the backing of our supporters, we can achieve our goal of truly becoming The Conversation Africa.

To mark our anniversary, we’ll be running our first reader survey. We’re hoping to learn more about you and your interests to help us to improve our service. You can find the survey, which we’ll be running for the next three weeks, here. We’d appreciate your feedback so would be very grateful if you could take the time to complete it.

So, happy birthday to The Conversation Africa. And thank you for your support. Over the next year we promise to bring you an even wider array of informative articles written by the smartest minds. We look forward to sharing the next leg of the journey with you.

We need your help to elevate the voices of experts, not the shouters.