22 November 2018
Today, we have our first members – a huge, heartfelt thank you for backing us from the start.
As you might not have built a newsroom from scratch before – funnily enough, nor have we – we thought we’d keep you posted on what it involves.
Most newsrooms start each day with a gnawing anxiety that tomorrow’s paper will be littered with blank spaces, that the evening new bulletin with 12 minutes of stories to fill a half hour slot. Each day, the news bucket has to be filled. We dream of such headaches. We don’t even have a bucket yet.
As Kurt Vonnegut said: “There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.” With that in mind, we’ve had our own meeting of the Five Families – aka The Editors. We have been testing the system for commissioning investigations and opinion pieces; working through the editing and fact-checking process; playing out the means by which we get the right mix of spinach and cheesecake, stories that touch on our lives, our society, our world in each daily edition of Tortoise, our slow newsfeed that we launch in beta in January.
Each of our editors is going to be working on certain “case files”, subjects that we think need more than just one story but a run of reporting and analysis, opinions and open discussion that conclude with a clear, informed point of view. These are at the heart of the programming we’ve been doing for next year’s ThinkIns: for example, the state of racism, in education, business, media and policing; how tech giants operate in the world, reporting Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon like countries rather than just companies; gender identity, who decides who we are, and the future of climate and energy. We’ll also be running case files on modern love (from dating in the digital age, to the state of marriage); to the future of food, drugs, travel and more. If you have thoughts on a seam that needs mining, please tell us.
This week, we move into our new newsroom. The trick we’re trying to pull off is to create a space that works for our writers, designers, video producers by day and opens up to everyone to serve as a studio for filming our ThinkIns each evening. We’re building out the rig of cameras, lights, microphones and TV screens, while also figuring out where to plan investigations, put the coffee cups, pens, pencils and post-its. We’ll show you some pictures, as we move in…
James and Katie