Andrew Jaspan

Andrew Jaspan is a British-Australian journalist, the Creator and Founder of The Conversation. Previously, Editor-in-Chief of The Age and Sunday Age in Melbourne. In the UK, Editor of The Observer in London, The Sunday Times Scotland, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman, and Sunday Herald, and Publisher and Managing Editor of .


After completing his Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Modern History and Philosophy from the University of Manchester where his thesis was on The Role of the BBC in British Politics, Jaspan launched . It had a focus on news, investigations and arts and culture. To help fund the magazine, Jaspan ran Monday night concerts at the Band on the Wall pub between 1976–9, showcasing local bands and most of the punk bands of the time, including Joy Division, The Buzzcocks, The Smirks, The Fall and poets John Cooper Clark and Adrian Henri. He then started work in the Manchester office of The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror. In 1983, he moved to London to join The Times first working on the foreign news desk and then the home news desk. In 1985 he joined The Sunday Times as an assistant editor. In 1988 the Editor, Andrew Neil, asked him to move to Glasgow and launch the Sunday Times Scotland Edition which covered Scottish news, sport, business, commentary and arts/culture.
In February 1989 he moved to be Editor of Scotland on Sunday which was launched by The Scotsman Publications in August 1988. Jaspan relaunched it as a quality newspaper which went on to .
In 1993 he was appointed Editor of The Scotsman but six months later was appointed by The Guardian Newspapers as Editor of The Observer. In 1996 he was appointed Publisher of , the street paper sold by the homeless. The Founder, , asked Jaspan to improve the quality of the magazine to ensure it was less of a "pity purchase".
In 1998 he joined Scottish Media Group in Glasgow to prepare the business case for the launch of a new paper in 1999, The Sunday Herald. Under his editorship the paper won numerous awards including Scottish Newspaper of the Year and UK Sunday Newspaper of the Year. The paper closed in 2018.
In 2004 Jaspan was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Age and The Sunday Age. Throughout this time the circulation, readership and online figures increased. In 2007, The Age won the Pacific region's for the first time. In August 2008, Jaspan left his position as part of a major restructuring of Fairfax that included 550 job losses across its Australian operations. Jaspan was replaced as Editor in Chief by Paul Ramadge in September 2008.
In 2008, Jaspan at the invitation of the Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University, Glyn Davis, started work on developing The Conversation project. It is response to what Jaspan describes as "increasing market failure in delivering trusted content". The Conversation aimed to deliver a new way to do journalism. It is an independent not-for-profit website of analysis and news from the university and research sector .
The website is based on the idea of sharing the expertise of academia directly with the public and thus turning the university sector into a giant newsroom. Content is written by academics working in collaboration with professional editors using a custom built collaborative publishing platform. The Conversation launched in early 2011.  The project launched with the ambition to transform the research and analysis of leading universities and research bodies into a journalistic product that was freely accessible to the public. Through The Conversation, Jaspan pioneered new digital information channels for academic knowledge under a Creative Commons licence; new collaborative frameworks for academic institutions globally and created new non-advertising funding models for news delivery.
He was invited by and TedX Perth to outline the new thinking behind the transformative project. He also outlined the lack of and the collapse of the business model and the resulting cutback of jobs.
The Conversation has become one of Australia's largest independent news and commentary websites. Between 2012 and 2017 Jaspan led the development and launch of The Conversation into Africa, US, UK, France, Canada, Spain, and Indonesia. The combined global reach of The Conversation is 18 million unique readers a month and 42m a month through republication.
In the UK, Jaspan raised seed funding in 2012 to conduct the business case for the launch of The Conversation UK from the university VCs of City, Warwick, Birmingham, UCL, Strathclyde and Bristol universities. He then appointed Jonathan Hyams and Will de Freitas to work on the UK Prospectus and support the raising of initial launch funds. Hyams developed the business and helped establish the UK company as a UK charitable entity. He subsequently became the initial CEO. The Editor, Stephen Khan, was previously deputy foreign editor at The Guardian and before that worked with Jaspan at the Sunday Herald in Scotland. The UK edition .
In the US, Jaspan raised the funds to launch The Conversation US after Boston University's Dean of Communications, Tom Fielder Jaspan raised the funds to launch in the US from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Moore, Hewlett, Gates, Howard Hughes, and Sloan foundations. The US board, chaired by Joe Rosenbloom, appointed Jaspan as the initial CEO to oversee the launch. The first editor was Margaret Drain.
Journalist Mark Day described The Conversation in The Australian newspaper as a "big idea to harness the knowledge-makers and curate their academic rigour with journalistic flair to produce a daily stream of credible reporting and commentary free to all. It illustrates the flip side of the proposition that the internet is a force of destruction unleashed on the world of journalism by demonstrating that it is also the enabling tool that brings together people and knowledge."
Jaspan left The Conversation in April 2017 to work on establishing new media platform, The Global Academy. The project was initially a partnership between universities of Deakin, Melbourne, RMIT and Western Sydney. In April 2020, Jaspan moved to Monash University which became the host university for the project. He was also appointed Professor.
Jaspan is a graduate of the 20:20 Senior Management Program run by UK's Common Purpose; and is the Asia-Pacific Director of Innovation Media International and completed consulting roles with The New Zealand Herald and Libération. He was Professorial Fellow in School of Media and Communication, RMIT, Melbourne; Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Engineering and Infrastructure, University of Melbourne.

Selected articles