Tortoise is a response to two problems
The daily noise: we are overwhelmed by information. The problem isn’t just fake news or junk news, because there’s a lot that’s good – it’s just that there’s so much of it, and so much of it is the same. In a hurry, partial and confusing. Too many newsrooms chasing the news, but missing the story.
The power gap: the divide between the powerful and the powerless is widening. We feel locked out. Alarmed by the lack of vision, hungry for leadership in business, technology and society. We believe in responsibility; we care about dignity.
What we are for
Tortoise is a product of our time – and a response to it. Our co-founder James Harding makes the case for slow news, explains how we’re different and why all this matters.
A modern fable
“Once upon a time, there was a race to understand the world.” So begins the story of the Tortoise, who was slow but wise.
Opening up journalism
We’ve worked on plenty of projects with codenames. We’ve been in enough meetings behind closed doors. We think we’ll do better work by opening up.
- We think everyone should have a seat at the table.
- We’d like you to become a member of our newsroom.
- We’re interested in getting the best stories – or the best angles on them.
- We want to be systematic.
- We’re committed to organised listening.
- We’ll go out of our way to hear from other people.
Not breaking news but what’s driving it
What’s different about us is slow news. We don’t do breaking news, but what’s driving the news. We don’t cover every story, but reveal a few. We take the time to see the fuller picture, to make sense of the forces shaping our future, to investigate what’s unseen.
We’re not going to cover press conferences. We’re not racing after breaking news. We’re not going to recreate the old structures in newsrooms: political editors, economics editors, etc.
We will, though, make commitments to you. We’ll show you our workings. We’ll let you know when we’ve fallen short. We’ll front up when we’ve campaigned hard but got nowhere. We will see stories through. Don’t be surprised if you find a moral at the end. We don’t just report on stories; we take an interest in them. We care what happens next.
Why it’s different
We want to build a journalism that lasts. A business model that’s responsible and sustainable.
- We’re not going to take ads, we’ll never sell or give away your data. We’re not owned by a proprietor with an axe to grind. We’re independent of political party or commercial agenda.
- We are a membership business, built for and with our members.
- Our newsroom will be (literally) open to our members.
- There’ll be no ads. Tortoise will be blissfully pop-up free.
- We’ll never, ever, sell or share our members’ data.
- We can look you in the eye and tell you we call it as we see it.
That’s why it’s not simply about driving readership or just selling subscriptions. It’s about membership – being part of it is more important than just paying for it.
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