Ian Burrell: The Conversation will grow louder

The Media Column

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The Independent Online

I thought The Conversation was a smart idea the first time I heard about it. It’s a news website written by academics on the latest research and discoveries.

A team of journalists – and some clever software – ensure the university professors come down from their ivory towers and write accessibly. It’s free and carries no advertising (funding comes from universities and charitable foundations who thinks this type of material needs a wider audience).

Having been launched in Australia by Andrew Jaspan, the former editor of The Observer, it set up in the UK last May, and has just introduced new sections covering arts and education. Its coverage of the latter saw it setting the news agenda last week, thanks to a piece attacking the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, by David Bell, vice-chancellor at the University of Reading (and former Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education). It was page one news.

Expect The Conversation to grow louder.

Twitter: @iburrell