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From the Editors

The Conversation wins a Telstra business award for producing journalism that builds community

Journalism is a competitive industry, with no shortage of reporters willing to use dirty tactics to win scoops and pump up circulation or ratings. But in spite of such lapses, most journalists also take seriously their role as a trusted source of information and custodians of a vital public service.

Increasingly this is under threat. With so much more media now consumed online, attention-seeking has become an end in itself. In a recent book, “Traffic”, Ben Smith, the former editor of Buzzfeed, describes the dodgy things his publication did to win audiences, such as publishing deliberately offensive and procative opinions and stolen intimate photos. In a world in which everything is measured in clicks, talk of quality journalism sounds pretty glib.

Yet good information matters as much as ever, and this is where The Conversation comes in. Our democracy cannot function without trustworthy information, yet everywhere we see signs of anger, division and the poor outcomes that flow from an unreliable information ecosystem.

The Conversation produces informative journalism written by academics so that our community can be better informed and people can make better decisions in their lives. We think the calm presentation of the best evidence and research improves social cohesion and enhances our sense of community.

Given this is our objective, we were especially pleased last week to be named the Victorian State winner of the building communities category of the 2024 Telstra Best of Business Awards.

Telstra Business Award winners. The Conversation CEO Lisa Watts is top right. Telstra Business Awards, Author provided (no reuse)

The award recognises small and medium-sized businesses that are “making a positive impact in their communities”, particularly on “culture and society, so people from all walks of life can thrive in their communities”.

The Conversation was recognised for being “a global knowledge project, driven by a powerful combination of technology, academic expertise, and journalistic know-how”

“Through a network of newsrooms across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and beyond, its on a mission to bring together universities and journalists to produce and disseminate free, independent, and fact-based journalism.”

The state winners are now in the running for a national award in each category. The final results will be revealed in February 2024. Read more about the awards and the other finalists on Telstra’s website.

Whatever the final outcome, this recognition of our efforts to keep people informed and build community is a welcome endorsement. And we couldn’t do it without you, our readers. So thank you.

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