The Conversation, terrible name, which launched last week, is a great idea. It aims to make academic research and expertise more accessible to the general public. Many academics are terrible communicators, but there are also some good ones. Many academics also give up trying to communicate through the media, because they hate having to fit in with the narrow, often distorted lens, that the media frequently insists on. The Conversation draws on the expertise of Australia's many academics with the assistance of a team of 12 editors with journalistic experience who can help inject that content into the news cycle in an appealing way. If it works we will all benefit from a better informed public debate.
One of the great disappointments of social media so far has been the huge explosion of opinion, but an actual decline in real, new content as the mainstream media has moved towards opinion and away from reporting. Hopefully, the conversation can add some valuable, and valued, content.