The Tortoise Community Network
Giving everyone a seat at the table
At Tortoise we do journalism differently. We open up our newsroom so that our members have a say in what we do. They come to our meetings, tell us what they think and what they know – and improve the stories we cover.
But not everyone can afford to pay for good journalism. Which is why we created the Tortoise Community Network. It has helped thousands of people join us for free as fully-funded Tortoise members.
Community Network Voices
As a homeless person reliant on welfare payments to survive, I’m often excluded from many things due to expense. Being a participant of the Tortoise funded membership scheme, just levels the playing field.
Member of Tortoise
I remember when Tortoise allowed me to share my experiences of the grossly unfair grading system during Covid-19 before the mainstream media were talking about it. I firmly believe these discussions directly led to system change as their journalists took the time to listen first-hand to stories from sixth formers like myself who were affected.
I was a little sceptical at first, journos from ‘that London’ coming here to poke around in our newly-constituted Brexitland… but, actually I went to four ThinkIns and each circle contained all shades of political opinion… and the ThinkIn model and facilitation work REALLY well.
East Marsh United
Making an impact together
We’re pretty proud of the community network. It’s part of the reason we reach a younger and more diverse audience than many news organisations – and it helps us spot issues and cover stories differently. And we’ve travelled to see people where they live, hosting our live ThinkIns and going deeper with our reporting.
Unheard Voices 2020
In 2020, we launched an investigation into the Unheard Voices of the pandemic. During our ThinkIns, individual’s stories of hardship and suffering tumbled out. We heard about the impact on homeless people, domestic workers, care leavers, sex workers, people recovering from addiction, and the army of kinship carers who look after children when their parents can’t. The Network helped us reach these voices. Voices that are critical to hear from yet too often missed.
The media is too London based – we don’t hear the views outside of the capital and big urban areas enough. That’s why we hosted five ThinkIns in Grimsby, which has the lowest Twitter use in the country and sits near the end of the nation’s travel links, to get outside of the media bubble. We documented the moment the Red Wall turned blue in this bellwether town, and investigated ‘The Rules’ of politics, to hear the case for a radical new social contract.
How it works
Dozens of non-profit organisations and charities have joined our community network, sharing their knowledge of working at grassroots level in areas like education, health and inequality. They introduce us to the people they work with, whose voices too often go unheard. Download the report for more information:
By partnering with Tortoise Media we have been able to convene an entirely different kind of conversation; one that brings together the views and experiences of all the people who together make up the family justice system.
Director at Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
We believe in a country where everyone can have an equal say. Being part of the Tortoise Network means being part of a conversation, where we can challenge ideas and seek to find common ground on often divisive issues.
CEO, More United
Giving young people a change to join a conversation about the world they live in, no matter who they are or where they come from, is a brilliant way to build confidence in their own voices.
And it is all made possible by funding from our business partners.
Apply for a fully-funded Tortoise membership for a year
Give the people you support a seat at the table
Help fund Tortoise memberships
If you run a non-profit organisation or a charity join the Tortoise Community Network. Come and tell us what’s on your mind, help shape our coverage and give the people you work to support a seat at the table.
Either send Sophie (email@example.com) an email or fill out the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you work for a company that wants to help fund Tortoise memberships fill out the form – £5,000 will pay for 100 new members for one year.
Either send Lizzie (firstname.lastname@example.org) an email, or fill out the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you want to join Tortoise, you can apply to receive one of our fully-funded Tortoise Community Network memberships. We especially welcome applications from people who are on low incomes and people working for change on the frontline of their communities.
Please send us an email at email@example.com with the following details, and we will get in touch as soon as we have reviewed your application.
- Your name
- Your email address
- Tell us a bit about yourself (Where do you live? What are your employment circumstances?)
- Why do you want to be part of Tortoise? (What do you think of our journalism? What could we do differently, or better? What subjects are you passionate about?)
What you get as a member:
- ThinkIns, our award-winning live events
- In-depth journalism and investigations, online and in app
- Early access to our audio stories and podcasts
- Our daily Sensemaker newsletter, straight to your inbox