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The Chat: Our readers weigh in on Facebook, diversity, cuisine and more

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Welcome to the first edition of our new series The Chat, a fortnightly showcase of the best contributions our readers — that’s you — have made to The Conversation’s journalism.

Why journalism must be a two-way conversation

At The Conversation, we believe that a key measure of our success is the engagement we facilitate with the public. Some journalists fall back on a top-down communication model, serving up content to the public as a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

But as Tim Dunlop wrote recently in Meanjin:

Journalists are fond of pointing out that journalism is vital to the proper functioning of democracy. For many of them, this is holy writ, and not without good reason: it is absolutely true. But do you know what else is vital to a functioning democracy? Citizens. We the people.

At The Conversation, we aim to facilitate a constructive conversation between experts and the public. After all, it’s not just our academic experts who have valuable insights to share.

The Chat will showcase the many ways in which our audience contributes their varied forms of expertise to enrich public debate. If you have contributed an insightful comment, a witty tweet or a thoughtful letter, you might soon find yourself on these pages!

The Conversation’s Instagram audience voted for their favourite diverse book

Earlier this month, the University of Sydney’s Ping Tian and UNSW’s Helen Caple wrote an article recommending 5 Australian picture books that celebrate diversity.

We asked our Instagram followers to send us their favourite books that celebrated diversity. These were their top picks:

Black Inc/Readings
Allen & Unwin/Readings
Headline Publishing Group/Readings
HarperCollins/Readings

Our expert author and her readers exchanged their experiences of Chinese food

After the University of Western Australia’s Cecilia Leong-Salobir wrote about how politics shaped Chinese food in Australia, she had a lively discussion with readers in the article’s comments section. They shared their experiences of Chinese cuisine growing up and what continues to tickle their taste buds today.

The Conversation

Article amended thanks to readers’ feedback

After the University of Sydney’s Dale Dominey-Howes wrote about LGBTIQA+ people’s experiences of natural disasters, reader Tee Schofield noted we had used the term “transgendered” instead of the more appropriate “transgender”. Trans activists argue that the former term can be considered offensive and imprecise.

Professor Dominey-Howes and The Conversation’s Head of Digital Storytelling Sunanda Creagh responded and amended the article. Thanks for helping us ensure we use trans-inclusive vocabulary Tee!

The Conversation

Our readers discussed the latest Mars landing with a hypersonics expert

After the Univeristy of Queensland’s Chris James wrote about the technology the Perseverance rover will need to survive landing on Mars, young reader Alannah Tuohy could barely contain her excitement! The Conversation’s Deputy Editor, Science and Technology Noor Gillani was touched by her enthusiasm.

The Conversation

And reader Michael Vickers put Chris’ number-crunching skills to the test with a complex question about the rover’s speed.

The Conversation

Even when Facebook muted us, our readers shared their support

Finally, on Thursday February 18, The Conversation had our Facebook page locked as part of the tech giant’s decision to ban Australian news content on the platform. Our community responded by vocally sharing their support on other social media platforms such as Twitter.

We are pleased to hear Facebook is soon lifting its ban, so our followers should be able to like and share our content on the platform again in the coming days.

The best way to receive our expert-led journalism is to subscribe to our newsletter, which no one can block your access to. Please contribute to the discussion on our website, on social media or via thechat@theconversation.edu.au. There’s no conversation without you!

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