Welcome Michelle Grattan

For anyone still catching up on the news, Michelle Grattan is leaving The Age to take up a post as a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra and will join The Conversation as Chief Political Correspondent and Associate Editor (Politics).

Now for some background: Michelle Grattan is one of Australia’s most respected journalists and a 40-year veteran of the Canberra press gallery. She is one of the few journalists in Australia who commands near universal admiration and respect across all sides of politics. That’s why I’m delighted she has decided to join the University of Canberra and The Conversation.

Michelle Grattan’s decision to move from The Age isn’t about a move away from journalism, rather it’s about a commitment to a new start, and one that allows her to better engage in the wider national conversation.

In her new role at the University of Canberra, Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker said: “Professor Grattan will add to our contemporary and real-world teaching and research and be an invaluable source of advice.”

In addition, Michelle will continue working from the Canberra press gallery and write regular commentary, news and analysis for The Conversation. Unlike her work at Fairfax, her contribution will not be exclusive to one media outlet. Her contributions are too valuable to the wider national conversation to be put behind the paywall that Fairfax introduces next month.

She will now be part of an open access project that believes knowledge and information should be freely available and shared for the public good. And under our Creative Commons publishing model, any other media outlet is free to re-publish or co-publish her journalism.

Michelle will continue to appear on TV and radio and will work closely with many of The Conversation’s 5,000 academics. Michelle’s real-world political experience will complement their deep subject-matter expertise. My hope is that we can combine the two and create an intelligent and evidence-based approach to political reporting.

Finally, smart new journalism does not discriminate between the various delivery platforms. Yet there remains a crass view, propagated in certain quarters, that online/digital=the future and is therefore good, while print=the past and needs to be sidelined … and talked down and buried as soon as possible. At The Conversation we just believe in good journalism, with a strong moral compass, good instincts and a commitment to the best traditions of the profession.

I believe some of Michelle’s best work is still ahead of her, and in this election year she will be play an active role in fostering the sort of serious political discussion essential to a healthy and informed democracy. That’s a massive contribution, and too good not to share.

Watch this space for more news on when Michelle takes up her lecturing and teaching role at the University of Canberra and begins writing for The Conversation.