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26 February 2014
Over a quarter of a million new readers have engaged with the University’s world-leading research and expert comment thanks to a new on-line tool designed to bring academics and journalists closer.
Cardiff University is a founding member of The Conversation, an independent news and commentary website produced jointly by academics and journalists.
A team of professional journalists work with academic authors to unlock their expertise, apply it to topical issues, and make it available to the public.
"Since August I have been a regular contributor to the Conversation the journalistic website featuring content provided by academics, in all disciplines, from national and international backgrounds," according to Dr John Jewell from the University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
"My experiences have been entirely positive. I have been able to write short, newspaper style articles on a variety of media related subjects, a few of which have been picked up by outlets such as the Huffington Post and Business Insider," he added.
The site is open and free for everyone to read. It is both a media resource, allowing republishing of all articles, and a source of story ideas and new voices to follow up for interview.
Since the site was launched in May 2013, over 60 articles from 34 Cardiff academics have been published, generating some 250,174 unique reads with academics from across the University being urged to contribute.
Dr Jewell added: "The editorial staff at the Conversation all have a background in journalism, which is invaluable. They add nuance and cohesion to ideas that are often loosely bound by my own confusing internal logic!
"It seems to me, in the other articles I have read, that they are expert in redefining complex issues to a non-niche audience.
"This is the key to the Conversation's success. Academic work is freed from the confines of the journal or the report. Articles in the Conversation are written to be read by the general public as well as by academics. Crucially, that doesn't mean quality or rigour is sacrificed. The regular 'hard evidence' section showcases the most recent empirical research and analysis.
"And the readership is out there. My colleague Mike Berry's article on bias at the BBC has attracted, so far, over 65,000 visits and a reprint in the New Statesman.
"In my view the Conversation adds considerably to the academic environment. It showcases research, increases visibility of work outside conventional audiences and places Cardiff at the forefront of a global development which sees Universities diversifying their outputs.
"It’s worth may prove extremely valuable in years to come."
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