Last month, we asked readers to give us feedback on how we’re doing, what they like about The Conversation Canada and what we could be doing better. Our 2024 reader survey was conducted by a team of researchers at Toronto Metropolitan University, led by Prof. Charles Davis.

Charles and his team are still doing a deep dive into the data, but he has provided us with some preliminary insights.

Survey results showed the top five most important reasons to read The Conversation Canada are:

  • Editorial independence;
  • Getting expert analysis of current events;
  • The authority or expertise of our authors;
  • Clarity of writing;
  • No commercial agenda.

Readers were asked to compare The Conversation to other media outlets. Many said we were like The Guardian or the CBC, but most respondents answered “none” to that question – meaning we’re seen as being unique among the media landscape.

The survey also asked respondents this question: What three words best describe The Conversation Canada? Top responses: interesting, informative, trustworthy, relevant, unbiased and free (meaning we don’t have a paywall or charge subscriptions).

The data also tells us that most of the people who took the time to complete the survey – it was very long! – come from folks like you who are subscribers to our daily newsletter. We thank the hundreds of you who provided this valuable feedback.

Our work with Charles’s team at TMU continues. We’re soon launching our first ever survey of readers of La Conversation Canada. And a deeper analysis of the reader surveys will help us improve what we do.

Surveys are just one tool we use to better understand what our audiences likes to read. Over the last year we have gained insights from a firm called SmartOcto, which analyses how readers value different types of stories – the ones that attract the most eyeballs, the ones that score high in “reader depth” (meaning folks read them right to the end), the ones read most by our loyal readers (folks like you) and also our top “evergreen” stories (meaning they were published a while ago but they are still attracting a lot of readers).

For your weekend reading, I thought I’d provide a sample of these four types of reader behaviour stories over the last month. Thank you again for taking the time to give us feedback. Your insights are invaluable to us. 

We’ll be back in your Inbox on Monday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Audience insight: Most read over the last month

Israel isn’t complying with the International Court of Justice ruling — what happens next?

Basema Al-Alami, University of Toronto

Is Israel changing course following the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice? It appears not, and that poses risks for the international community, including Canada.

Two-thirds of Canadian and American renters are in unaffordable housing situations

Grant Alexander Wilson, University of Regina; Tyler Case, University of Saskatchewan

Most research on unaffordable housing has focused on homeownership, but rental affordability is also a serious issue.

Audience insight: Most "completed" stories

Vladimir Putin justifies his imperial aims in Tucker Carlson interview

David Roger Marples, University of Alberta

Why is there such a Russian focus on the Second World War? Because it’s used to justify authoritarian states, the rule of dictators like Putin and Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko.

Western leaders threaten to undermine Navalny’s legacy in Russia

James Horncastle, Simon Fraser University; Jack Adam MacLennan, Park University

Alexei Navalny’s successors — not western leaders — are best placed to carry on the fight for Russia’s future. But they’ll only succeed if Navalny’s cause isn’t seen as anchored to western ideals.

Audience insight: Most popular with our loyal readers

Domestic and international developments risk undermining Ukraine in a critical year

James Horncastle, Simon Fraser University

With the Ukraine-Russia war entering its third year, Ukraine’s supporters must provide the right aid to the country and domestic politics cannot undermine the urgent needs of the country’s military.

Iran has so far resisted direct involvement in the Gaza war, but is that changing?

James Devine, Mount Allison University

Iran prefers to engage Israel through its proxies, but the risk of escalation makes this a dangerous strategy.

Audience insight: Older stories still getting a lot of attention

Here’s what ‘woke’ means and how to respond to it

Letitia Meynell, Dalhousie University

We need to contemplate wokeness so as to avoid polarizing polemics and to increase mutual understanding.

The science of holding your breath: How could Kate Winslet stay underwater for over 7 minutes in Avatar 2?

Anthony Bain, University of Windsor

Kate Winslet held her breath for an impressive 7 minutes and 15 seconds while filming, but the current world record is over 24 minutes. Here’s how people learn to stay underwater for extended periods of time.

The Conversation News Quiz

The Conversation weekly news quiz

Fritz Holznagel, The Conversation

Test your knowledge with a weekly quiz drawn from some of our favorite stories.

Weekend listening: The Conversation Weekly podcast

Israel-Gaza: how opinion polls used in Northern Ireland could pave a way to peace

Gemma Ware, The Conversation

In The Conversation Weekly podcast, researcher Colin Irwin explains how peace polls can help build consensus in conflict negotiations – but only if all parties are at the table.