How The Conversation’s journalism made a difference in August

Juukan Gorge photographed May 15.

Every month, we ask The Conversation authors what happened after we published their articles. Here are some of their stories from August 2020.

Providing expert advice

After University of Queensland’s Deanna Kemp co-wrote How Rio Tinto can ensure its Aboriginal heritage review is transparent and independent, she was contacted by The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, asked for advice by Credit-Suisse investors, and invited to engage with mining companies. The article was cited in a Joint Standing Committee inquiry into the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves in the Pilbara. The article also sparked conversations with members of the public about the work of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at UQ.

After UTS’s Wanning Sun wrote an article about Trump’s ban of WeChat in the US, she was asked to provide expert testimony to a legal challenge against the ban being mounted in California. Her testimony will be speaking to the question of the importance of WeChat for Chinese Americans in the US, and why it may be difficult for them to switch to other social media platforms should WeChat be banned.

After University of Newcastle’s Matthew Mclaughin wrote Cycling and walking can help drive Australia’s recovery – but not with less than 2% of transport budgets, he was invited by the Hunter Medical Research Institute to deliver a presentation on cycling and walking for health benefits on R U OK Day. He was also invited by The Science of Healthy Cities to do a presentation on Facebook Live for National Science Week.

Interviews and overseas eyeballs

After Deakin’s Clare Corbould wrote The fury in US cities is rooted in a long history of racist policing, violence and inequality, the article was adapted for secondary school students by Actively Learn and Clare was interviewed on PM on ABC Radio National, ABC Northern Tasmania PM and local FM programs in Adelaide and Melbourne.

The article was also translated into Japanese and published by Big Issue Japan. The article has been read more than 104,000 times to date, with 86% of readers outside Australia, and republished by more than 13 other news outlets.

The Conversation’s Suji Gunawardhana hard at work (2019).

After Auckland University of Technology’s Kris Gledhill wrote Was New Zealand’s coronavirus lockdown legal? One week might make all the difference, he was quoted in a news story in the Daily Mail UK. The story was picked up by a number of other news outlets including the NZ Herald and Scoop. Kris’s next article, How will the court deal with the Christchurch mosque killer representing himself at sentencing?, was referenced in an article by the NY Times, and he was quoted in leading German newspaper, Die Zeit.

After Edith Cowan University’s Paul Haskell-Downland co-wrote Microsoft’s takeover would be a win for TikTok and tech giants – not users , he was interviewed by a number of news outlets including Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Sydney Morning Herald/Age. He was also interviewed for an SBS podcast and potential translation and inclusion in international programmes. He was also invited to write an article for East Asia Forum.

Getränk, getrunken, betrunken

University of Melbourne research is being used to educate Swiss youths on the dangers of alcohol. A Swiss research institute, REPER (Friborg) has been working with hospitals to set up a procedure for young people (10-25) who arrive in the emergency room with an alcohol problem. Follow-up studies of these young people have shown that a visit to the emergency room was often an early warning sign of future problems with other drugs, psychological disorders and more. Thus, early intervention is key.

To do this, a protocol was created outlining the steps to take with a young person who arrives at the emergency room with an alcohol problem. As part of their intake process, hospitals will now use The Conversation’s videos Drink, Drank, Drunk featuring the University of Melbourne’s Jenny Hayes, Rosa McCarty and Terry Mulhern, subtitled in French and German.

Curtin’s Brett Healey wrote 4 ways to teach you’re (sic) kids about grammar so they actually care. The Education Hub NZ contacted Brett to discuss how his research into grammar for writing could contribute to The Education Hub’s online resources.

Brett was also interviewed on ABC Melbourne’s Evenings with David Astle to discuss how kids can learn about grammar from children’s literature.

Read all about it

University of South Australia’s Rick Sarre and Juliette McIntyre wrote about the legality of businesses to force customers to wear a mask. The article was widely shared on social media following the infamous ‘Bunnings incident’. ABC invited Rick on as an expert voice in the ensuing debate. The article was clipped by Parliament of Australia and referenced on 7 News and Daily Mail UK. It has been viewed more than 276K times.

The Conversation partnered with Byron Writers Festival and published the transcript of University of Melbourne’s Professor Marcia Langton’s keynote address, which gained 12,152 views. Professor Langton was consequently featured on ABC News Afternoon Briefing in a 15-minute interview.

After Monash’s Maria O’Sullivan wrote Can the government, or my employer, force me to get a COVID-19 vaccine under the law?, the piece was picked up by Channel 7,, SBS and 9 other news outlets. Maria was also interviewed for ABC Adelaide Drive.

After QUT’s Olivia Fisher wrote Can’t sleep and feeling anxious about coronavirus? You’re not alone , the article was picked up by 15 other news outlets and Olivia was interviewed for the podcast Science Rules! with Bill Nye, ABC Science, 3CR Radio Melbourne and Kiss FM Radio Melbourne.

After Deakin’s Usha M. Rodrigues wrote Whitewash on the box: how a lack of diversity on Australian television damages us all she was interviewed by print and radio media for follow-up articles in The Guardian and The Examiner (Tasmania), the IndiaLink podcast, and Adelaide Radio. It was clipped by Parliament of Australia and picked up by a number of other outlets including Generation Next, a social enterprise providing education and information to protect and enhance the mental health of young people.

After Deakin’s Arash Shaghagi, Patrick Scolyer-Gray and Debi Ashenden wrote Digging your own digital grave: how should you manage the data you leave behind?, the authors were interviewed by ABC Sydney, ABC Statewide Drive NSW, ABC Radio Adelaide and 2NUR FM. The article was republished by a number of other organisations including the Australian Privacy Foundation.

University of Southern Queensland’s Daryl Sparkes wrote about the 25th anniversary of the film Babe. The article was republished by the ABC and 8 other news outlets, and retweeted by Magda Szubanski.

After UNSW’s Cathy Smith wrote ‘Meanwhile’ building use: another way to manage properties left vacant by the COVID-19 crisis, she was interviewed by ABC Radio Adelaide Breakfast, ABC Drive Canberra, ABC NSW Drive Statewide. The article was picked up by a number of industry websites including Commercial Real Estate and Architecture & Design.

And finally, some kind words from an author

Dr Andy Schmulow, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong, wrote:

“I thought I would pen a brief email to say how valuable The Conversation is proving to be. In these times of ‘fake news’, and especially fake ‘fake news’, the best way we as academics can communicate our research findings to the broader public is through reliable, trustworthy media.

"The Conversation is undoubtedly front and centre in that effort. In my field - compelling good conduct in financial services - it is vital to set the record straight, and at times put paid to the spin at which the financial industry is so adept. I have published fairly widely on this topic in Australia and South Africa to where, as you know, The Conversation’s empire now stretches.

"In addition I must also say how much I appreciate the lengths and efforts that Conversation staff go to, to support and assist me in translating my work into articles.

"So kudos to The Conversation for building a platform that is not only world class, but has now been emulated the world over. We have nothing to be proud of in Australia in terms of how our financial industry behaves. At least we have much to be proud of in the way in which we analyse that.”

Thank you Andy – but our journalism would not produce such an impact without the expertise and dedication of our esteemed academic authors.

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