The University of Portsmouth’s media and communications team are excited to have recently joined The Conversation – a news website in which academics and researchers are in the driving seat.
The team work with many academic colleagues in order to promote their work. This is about more than getting a headline; the team are looking to help the research have an impact on policies and practices throughout the UK and globally.
At The Conversation, it is the academics and researchers who pitch ideas, write articles, and provide expert comment on the issues of the day, supported by The Conversation’s team of expert editors. The media and communications team also provide support and advice.
With a massive audience of 2.6 million readers, articles can influence global discussions. Because of its international reputation, and its content remaining free to media through Creative Commons licensing, the most engaging and newsworthy articles have a potential reach of 35 million readers.
The benefits go beyond writing for the site. Many academics have later been invited to write for broadsheet newspapers and specialist magazines, raising their profile among influencers in their specialist area, as well as meeting one of the University’s headline strategic goals of raising the profile of their subject, department and the University around the world.
How It Works
Academics and researchers sign up online, after which they can pitch ideas for content to the site’s editors. Contributors can be in any stage of their research career from doctoral student onwards.
The Conversation aims to counter mainstream media’s “vapid” content with more thoughtful, useful and informed content and uses approx. 800-word articles aimed at an informed lay reader wanting depth and insight on a wide range of subjects. Content is written for a reading age of 16 (for comparison, most UK broadsheet newspapers aim at a reading age of 14 and mid-market tabloids aim at a reading age of 11.) Content is either asked for by the site’s editors or offered by an academic and is usually live within 12-24 hours.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia is responsible for promoting a strong research and innovation culture across the University of Portsmouth, with continuous improvement in the volume, quality and impact of the University’s research and enterprise outputs and partnerships. He is a key supporter of the University becoming a member of The Conversation, and feels that contributing to the site helps the University meet one of its key strategic goals of promoting their research globally and helping ensure its strengths are internationally recognised.
“The University is an enthusiastic supporter of our academic staff writing for The Conversation,” explains Pal. “The site has space dedicated to all our main academic areas, including Humanities, Creative and Cultural Industries, Business, Science and Technology, so we would hope to see hundreds of Portsmouth academics sign up and start contributing.”
A number of colleagues are already signed up and contributing articles; the university hopes to see more join now that they are full members.