When British-Australian journalist Andrew Jaspan set out to help newsrooms navigate the deluge of disinformation washing over their industry, he turned to universities to fill the gap. As purveyors of facts based on research, university scholars are uniquely positioned to break down information silos with constructive solutions to societies' many challenges.
Yet most university research is hidden from public view, locked behind academic paywalls or written in language only experts can decipher. In late 2021, Jaspan launched 360info.org, a global wire agency that works with researchers worldwide to bring their content into the mainstream.
Sourcefabric's technology helped 360info get off the ground. Now, it’s helping it soar.
Information silos have divided societies, and deliberate efforts to confuse the truth pollute the media ecosystem with false and low-grade information. To Jaspan, this “crisis of information” was an opportunity. What if the world's leading universities could connect more effortlessly with news consumers to elevate factual, constructive information and data?
To reposition universities as a trusted supplier of content and increase the real-world impact of their research, Jaspan and 360info sought to build an open-access global information agency that could harnesses university research, translate it into plain and understandable language, and distribute it to new outlets across Australia, the Indo-Pacific, and beyond.
Launched in November 2021, the Monash University-based newsroom is being powered by Superdesk, our award-winning headless CMS, and content distribution is being handled by Superdesk Newshub. The 360info.org newsroom also has a WordPress site, which was designed in house and connected to Superdesk via the WordPress-Superdesk API.
Content is released each week onto Newshub and embargoed so subscribing outlets have time to build content into their own editorial planning. 360info's special reports – on topics ranging from China's Belt and Road to lab-grown meat – include framing articles to outline key facts and figures, and essential context on a timely issue.
“By delivering content that is of the highest standard, and factually produced, we are positioning 360info, Monash University, and Australia as an antidote to the world's contested information landscape. We offer high-grade, verified, and evidence-based content – at no cost – which can hopefully sideline or replace the poor and polluted information that swamps our information ecosystem.”Andrew Jaspan Founding Director and Editor-in-Chief, 360info
As of September 2023, 360info has commissioned and published 876 articles on Newshub, written by more than 1,000 researchers from over 500 universities in 58 countries. In March 2023, 360info was independently audited by NewsGuard Trust Ratings and awarded its highest score: 100/100, which is the same as the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Since launch, 360info’s content has had a combined potential reach of 350 million readers and growing.
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In April 2023, Jaspan secured funds to create a new tool that will help 360info record the total impact of the news agency’s content. The product should be ready by mid-2024.