Swinburne news sites are providing access to high-quality information and analysis to users around the world.

Providing better information means combating both information overload and 'fake news'.

We live in an information age, with access to online data and stories from around the world, 24 hours a day. Yet the vast amounts of information available on the internet are highly fragmented and often difficult to find, evaluate and use.

Swinburne explored the digital information world

Swinburne researchers explored the digital information world and the deficiencies in the production and distribution of independent news, policy and analysis. Their research identified opportunities for ‘born digital’ media and information enterprises that commission, collect and organise information and analysis, and make it discoverable and usable in new ways.

Building on a strong history of teaching in film, television, radio production and communications policy, Swinburne’s insights led to the development of three digital platforms.

  • I am a big fan of APO … a one-stop shop for all the major reports and research nationally. I receive lots of email alerts, but APO is one of the few I make sure I always read!

    Senior Researcher , Social Policy Section, Parliamentary Library

Australian Policy Online (APO – now Analysis and Policy Observatory) was launched in 2002 as an open access database for policy research. APO now hosts 38,928 resources in 1264 subjects, contributed by more than 6000 institutions and almost 27,000 authors. Contributors include government departments and agencies, academic research centres, think tanks, civil society organisations, consultants, research companies and academic publishers from many countries. Many organisations have also joined as partners, collection sponsors, contributors and subscribers. The site has attracted more than 4.2 million users from around the world, who viewed 16.4 million pages.

APO was followed in 2008 by Inside Story, an online magazine of articles on current affairs and culture from Australia and beyond, written by academics and journalists. In 2016, 366 contributors wrote articles for Inside Story, publishing around nine articles each week. By November 2016, it had attracted 38,404 unique monthly users.

UniPollWatch was established for the 2014 Victorian state election to provide innovative coverage of current events through the eyes of young Australians. In the largest collaborative university journalism project in Australia, 260 journalism students at four universities participated, including 160 from Swinburne. The site has continued for other campaigns – during the 2016 federal election, 1000 students and 70 academic staff from 28 universities contributed to around 700 stories published on UniPollWatch.

  • The catch-all nature of APO … saves me from having to register with lots of other online forums. It is one of my must-read emails and ensures that my practice is always current and connected to recent research and evidence.

    National Lead , Stronger Communities, Australian Red Cross

And made quite a splash

The three sites have had a significant impact on the global news and information market. APO won ‘Best Information Website’ at the 2014 Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards, and the sites also have an impact on mainstream media – articles on all three sites have been re-used in outlets, such as The Age, The Canberra Times and The Guardian.

The impacts of these sites can also be measured by the increasing numbers and range of users and contributors, and by feedback received from users about the quality and value of the services.

Project lead: Professor Jock Given

  • Thank you for an outstanding site. I access it at east once a week and often more. It is great for regional Australia to so easily be able to tap into key thinking and expertise from across Australia.

    Convenor , National Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference

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