Thursday, March 24, 2011

Perks of the job

The birth of a new website is a pretty brilliant thing. Was lucky enough to be present when The Conversation went live yesterday, a new site that harvests the best research and ideas from around Australia's universities. (I'm doing a minor guest role during the launch phase.) Standing there waiting for the site to load is excruciating, stressful and brilliant all at once. All that work comes down to one moment.
The Conversation content is created by Australian academics and researchers themselves and a team of editors works with them to craft articles in Plain English (yes academics, PLAIN ENGLISH). I like to think of it as meets academic Facebook, meets the Guardian, LinkedIn with a tiny dash of something like New Scientist. Traffic so far has been extremely high. The content is rich, interesting and it is sparking lots of comments which is exactly what it is meant to do. The team is led by Andrew Jaspan, Jack Rejtman and Misha Ketchell, plus there are 12 section editors and a crack team of developers. Obviously the success of a venture is waaaaay more than day one, but I think this is a very clever channel for academia to break out of its ivory tower, connect to the public, contribute to mainstream debate, connect with business and make the most of the brains trust we have in Australia.

And we're now live!
Curated by professional editors, The Conversation offers informed commentary and debate on the issues affecting our world. Plus a Plain English guide to the latest developments and discoveries from the university and research sector.

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