Andrew Jaspan’s ‘The Conversation’ set for UK launch

A NEWS and commentary website set up by the founding editor of the Sunday Herald newspaper is to be launched in the UK after operating in Australia for the last two years.

The Conversation was set up by Andrew Jaspan following his departure as editor-in-chief of The Age newspaper in Melbourne five years ago.

Comprising news and commentary produced by academics and journalists, The Conversation is scheduled to launch in the UK in May.

Thirteen UK universities have already committed to supporting the UK ‘pilot/beta’ phase of The Conversation, along with other organisations, including The Wellcome Trust, The Nuffield Foundation and the Scottish Funding Council.

Says a media release announcing the launch: “The UK service is a partnership with Melbourne-based The Conversation (also not for profit), which in less than two years has become Australia’s largest independent news, commentary and analysis website.”

Jaspan – also a former editor of The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and The Observer – is quoted as saying: “We are delighted to see The Conversation launch into the UK. The success in Australia has shown there is huge public demand for independent, high-quality, authenticated, and trusted content.”

The former editor-in-chief of The Big Issue magazine continued: “I am confident The Conversation will very quickly establish a similar reputation and audience in the UK.”

The release adds: “The Conversation in Australia receives more than 850,000 unique visits each month and with over 5,000 academic contributors and 15 commissioning editors, it is Australia’s largest virtual newsroom.”

The 13 UK ‘founding partner universities’ are the University of Aberdeen, the University of Birmingham, the University of Bristol, Cardiff University, City University London, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Liverpool, the Open University, the University of Salford, the University of Sheffield, University of Surrey, University College London (UCL) and the University of Warwick.