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Queen’s University joins The Conversation Canada

[The Conversation]
The Conversation was founded in Australia in 2011, and has grown to include seven editions, including a newly-launched Canadian edition.

An exciting new partnership between Queen’s and The Conversation Canada will see researchers access an innovative model of journalism: one that relies on their academic expertise, and allows academics to write about current events, topical issues, and their own research on a range of subjects – from science and technology to politics, arts, culture, business, the environment, health, and education. 

First founded in 2011 in Australia, The Conversation is a proven and independent online news platform which academics from around the world can use to contribute their thoughts and expertise. It is not a traditional news site with a team of journalists writing the stories – rather, the voices featured are researchers who are assisted with editing support and pointers from The Conversation’s editorial team. The pieces are free to read, enjoy, and republish. Content is also made available to other media outlets via national newswire services.

With great anticipation, and support from a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant, The Conversation has recently launched in Canada, and Queen’s University has signed on as a founding member. This means faculty and graduate students from across the university can visit The Conversation Canada’s website, register as an author, and begin submitting story ideas and opinion pieces to the editorial board. It also means staff from The Conversation Canada will be reaching out to Queen’s researchers, as well as researchers from a number of other Canadian universities, seeking story ideas and columns to be shared on the platform.

The Conversation has become the largest network of global expertise in research and scholarly activity,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice Principal (Academic). “We are thrilled that the platform has launched in Canada, and we hope that our academic community embraces this concept as has happened in other parts of the world. The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement and will bolster the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build their own profile.”

The Conversation is a tremendous resource and opportunity for any academic seeking to promote their research beyond the academy,” says Michael Fraser, Vice Principal (University Relations). "We look forward to contributing to this important platform, which will relay the importance and impact of the research and scholarship happening at Queen's to a variety of external audiences."

The Conversation Canada is free to use, and content from the platform is shared with news organizations from coast-to-coast-to-coast via The Canadian Press newswire service. Scott White, formerly the editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press, has been tapped as The Conversation Canada’s first editor.

“I believe the primary role of good journalism is to provide the public with factual information about the world they live in so they can, in turn, make informed decisions about important issues in their lives,” says Mr. White. “The model of The Conversation is that it combines the deep knowledge of academics with the ability of journalists to convey information to a broad audience.”

White notes the other six editions of The Conversation – Australia, U.K., France, Africa, U.S., and Global – attract 4.8 million web visitors per month, and the content is shared with 35 million readers through syndication agreements. Academics and universities will benefit from this relationship because it will allow important research to reach a wider audience, while news outlets receive free, vetted content to supplement their news coverage.

To learn more about The Conversation Canada, and register as a contributor, visit theconversation.com/ca.

Are you a Queen’s academic interested in contributing to The Conversation Canada or learning more about the platform? Please contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca for more information.