Everybody now knows we live in a time when public debate is increasingly partisan and shrill, with people retreating to their corners to seek out ideas that confirm their pre-existing views. We have all watched in dismay as this trend gathered pace, driving the collapse of trust in media, public institutions, experts.
But it hasn’t all been one-way traffic. Since 2011, The Conversation has been producing a unique form of journalism designed to fight back. We work only with academics who are drawing on their expertise to inform the public and rebuild trust. Our work is the product of a strong relationship between these academics and the journalists in our team. As the tagline says: academic rigour, journalistic flair.
The one drawback of doing something so completely new is that for a while people don’t know what to make of it. This makes it especially gratifying when our unique form of journalism is acknowledged, as it was on Friday when a team of academic authors won a UN Day Media Award for promotion of sustainable cities and communities. The winning article discussed the ways in which marginalising casual sporting activity hurts social cohesion.
It was a terrific piece, thoughtful and informative, edited by our experienced Cities Editor John Watson and a very talented intern, Edward Gorwell. Congratulations most of all to the academic authors who took the time to share their ideas with the broader public: Amanda Wise, Keith D. Parry, Sarah Neal, Kristine Aquino and Selvaraj Velayutham.