INFLUENCING Media News | 11 February 2013
By Tim Lince
REVERED science magazine COSMOS has announced a new ownership structure, with Melbourne scientists and husband-and-wife team Dr Alan Finkel and Dr Elizabeth Finkel acquiring the title and shifting production from Sydney to Melbourne.
The pair already own a significant portion of parent publisher Cosmos Media, and purchased the remaining percentage from co-founders Kylie Ahern, the current company’s CEO, and Wilson da Silva, the current editorial director.
Dr Elizabeth Finkel, an award-winning science writer and author, will take over as editor-in-chief in June, when production finishes the move to Melbourne. Until then, da Silva will lead editorial operations, before departing the magazine.
“We wanted to create a magazine with literary ambitions that was visually lush as well as intellectually rewarding,” said da Silva. “We’ve achieved that in spades, and created a loyal following who are as fascinated and excited by science as we are.”
“Over those eight years, Elizabeth has been our star writer, and I am delighted to be handing the editor’s chair to someone with as much skill and commitment to science journalism as Elizabeth.”
COSMOS reaches 70 per cent of Australian high schools, and launched a well-received iPad edition in June 2011. The current readership is 114,000 per issue, a 30 per cent year-on-year increase.
Ahern, who also leaves after the Melbourne transition in June, said that “after eight years at the helm, and with so much achieved, Wilson and I felt it was time to look for new challenges”.
“This has been an incredibly rewarding job for me, and while I feel sad to leave, I also feel privileged to have worked with such a talented and innovative team who have helped us soar to such global heights,” he added. “But I know that COSMOS is going to owners who love it as much as we do, and its legacy is in great hands.”
New owner Alan Finkel said “there’s nothing in the world like COSMOS, and I am very proud of the exceptional quality and reputation it has gained globally”.
“I am tremendously impressed with what Kylie and Wilson and the team have been able to achieve in the past eight years - creating the COSMOS brand from the ground up and making it into the world’s most respected literary science magazine,” he said.
Finkel also founded Stile Education, a Melbourne technology start-up that’s developing digital workbooks for laptops and tablets to help school teachers easily create and manage interactive lessons.
“I’m excited by the synergies that will emerge from bringing together the excellence of COSMOS with the new wave of powerful educational software tools we are developing for the global classroom at Stile Education,” he remarked. “Elizabeth and I are looking forward to imparting our personal vision for communicating the stories of science in the next chapter of its life in Melbourne.”