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The Conversation launches in the US with 10-strong team

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.42.05 AMAcademia-meets-journalism website The Conversation has expanded into the US with a 10-strong team working out of Boston University.

They will work with academics across the US to produce content, starting with 62 members of the American Association of Universities and the US Science Coalition universities.

The US launch, described by The Conversation as a pilot, is the third market for the not-for-profit publisher which launched in Australia in 2011 and expanded to the UK last year. Around 20 per cent of traffic to The Conversation, which claims a monthly audience of two million, already comes from the US.

Editor Andrew Jaspan, who has also flagged possible expansion into India, said: “The three newsrooms will work as one, sharing content and ideas. Australian academics and institutions will benefit from the increased global audience and opportunity for collaboration.

“For readers this means an even better global service on issues such as Ebola, the war in the Middle East, the battle for food, water and energy security, the global misery of migration and the challenges of balancing human rights and data protection with national security.

“With the upcoming G20 meeting in Brisbane next month, our Business and Economy editors across all three Newsrooms are now working together to provide unrivalled coverage.”

He said unlike most companies which rely on wire services or foreign correspondents for their international coverage, The Conversation works with local editors and university researchers to “bring you a new standard for global journalism”.

The launch brings The Conversations’s global team to 62, working with more than 14,000 academics. The US team is being led by Margaret Drain, formerly executive producer and vice president of national programs at US publisher WGBH.

As in Australia and the UK, The Conversation US will draw up a charter that protects editorial independence, author sign off, author disclosure statements and a readability index set to an educated 16-year-old.

The US launch is being supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Alfred P Sloan Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Steve Jones

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