A year ago on May 7 the Conversation Africa website went live to deliver commentary and analysis written by academics and edited by professional journalists. This collaborative venture provides the public with access to new information about cutting-edge research that previously would have remained locked in the academy.
The website, which is updated daily, offers a bumper supply of high-quality, reliable and ethical journalism aimed at the general public and also available for reuse by the media. Since launch, The Conversation Africa has featured 1041 articles written by 880 academics from 197 institutions. Over 90% of the website’s articles have been republished by 70 media outlets, reaching an audience of more than 9.2 million.
Media outlets across the continent and the world have featured work produced by The Conversation Africa. Established publications such as the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Business Day and The Star in South Africa and the Daily Nation and Business Daily in Kenya, broadcasters such as South African Broadcasting Corporation, Eye Witness News and 702 Radio, as well as exciting new media such as South Africa’s RDM online and TechCentral, Pulse in Ghana and AllAfrica have used articles from the website. Globally, The Guardian in London, Quartz, the Huffington Post and IFL Science have republished.
Operated as a not-for-profit, financial support for The Conversation comes from donors, the private sector as well as universities.
Caroline Southey, Editor of The Conversation Africa, said: “This unique venture has hit a sweet spot in the media landscape. The fact over 90% of the articles we’ve published have been reused by other media outlets is testimony to the deep hunger for explanatory journalism based on specialised knowledge. And the desire to have access to voices and views that are unmediated and authentically African.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit we’ve encountered. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who have partnered us on this exciting journey. In particular, we want to thank vice chancellors, academics, donors, our advisors, readers and media outlets for believing in the project and for their unstinting support. We look forward to the next 12 months of collaboration as we extend our reach across the continent and strengthen our network of academics and areas of coverage.”
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