McMaster joins The Conversation as founding partner

June 27, 2017

The Conversation Canada, a new national media startup providing independent, high quality explanatory journalism, launched this week.

The non-profit organization is the sixth affiliate of the global Conversation network of relevant and informed articles written by researchers and academics and edited by experienced journalists.

Scott White, Editor of The Conversation Canada, said the team is piloting the new service over the summer to ramp up to full production for September, which includes a commitment to a bilingual site.

“The Conversation Canada is a vital addition to public discourse at a time when high quality journalism is in demand and the for-profit media sector is in decline,” said White.

The editorial team of The Conversation Canada (English) has five commissioning editors, and is operated out of two newsrooms. The main newsroom is located at the University of Toronto with a newsroom at the University of British Columbia. More than 500 Canadian scholars have already registered as contributors.

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“The interest and engagement from researchers across the country as word has spread that we’re preparing for launch has been amazing,” said White.

In Canada, the funding model involves a sustainable mix of university membership, foundations, research funding, a research institute and media partnership. These include 17 Canadian universities in nine provinces, three foundations, one research institute, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Universities Canada and Canadian Press/La Presse Canadienne.

The founding university partners include: Concordia University, Dalhousie University, Laurentian University, McMaster University, Memorial University, Queen’s University, Ryerson University & the Faculty of Communication & Design, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Guelph, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and University of Winnipeg.

The founding strategic partners include: Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University, the Lawson Foundation, the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation, Mindset Social Innovation Foundation and Universities Canada. Canadian Press/La Presse Canadienne is a founding media partner and will be distributing The Conversation Canada content on its news wire for republishing for free.

The Canadian edition of The Conversation has been developed by University of British Columbia researchers and former journalists, Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young.

“The Conversation Canada aims to help Canadians better understand and navigate the complex challenges and opportunities of the 21st century,” said Hermida.

Since its launch in Australia in 2011, The Conversation (theconversation.com) has expanded to the UK, the US, France and Africa, as well as a global site. The network has more than 85 commissioning editors and 30,000-plus academics registered as contributors. Each article is written by scholars in their area of expertise, published under Creative Commons and freely available to be republished.

Currently, The Conversation site attracts 5.2 million users per month, and reaches 35 million through Creative Commons republication. Over 22,000 media outlets around the world use content from The Conversation, including The Washington Post, Maclean’s, Le Monde, The Guardian, Time Magazine and The Hindu. These numbers continue to grow.