The Australian media sphere gained a new entrant today, with the launch of The Conversation, which is a not-for-profit collaboration between journalists and academic researchers.
I am following my pancakes theory of new media enterprises. This holds that, like pancakes, the first one never comes out quite right, and it is therefore wise to wait a while and allow the operation to settle in before expressing firm opinions on whether or not it works.
So I will review The Conversation after its first week of operations.
Some background, though. The editor of the enterprise is Andrew Jaspan, formerly editor of The Age. The enterprise has been funded by State Government, and by the G8 group of leading universities.
And it must have been funded handsomely! Click on the tab that leads to information about the team. It is, in new media terms, an enormous cast.
Compare this to the humble New Matilda, which seems to survive on the efforts of a single editor who does not sleep. (Yes, you Marni.)
Or the less than humble Crikey, which has a team less than a third of this size.
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Worth noting that a former Crikey editor, Mischa Ketchell, is involved. Ketchell, of course, oversaw some editions of Crikey in which Jaspan got tough treatment. He went on to work for Media Watch. So here is welcome proof, if it were needed, that working for Crikey in a previous life is no longer a career killer.
With this sort of investment in editorial staffing, we are entitled to expect great things.
But let’s wait for the pan to heat up properly and the chefs to start flipping the mix before we draw conclusions.
Watch the Crikey space.