Slow down sign
Credit: By Tristan Schmurr on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Frustrated with the breakneck-pace of 24-hour news, two final year students from London's City University are launching a project to slow down the news.

The Charta, currently in the funding stage but planned for launch in September, will take two weeks to fully research and analyse the impact of a news event instead of rushing to publish a story before all the facts are known.

"It's supposed to allow us to give events time to unfold and avoid any possible inaccuracies that you get while you are, for instance, following a liveblog or Twitter feed around an event," Carolina Are, The Charta's co-founder and editor, told Journalism.co.uk.

Twitter asks what's happening, and we ask how, why and what is the future impact of the situationCharles-Édouard van de Put, The Charta
Last week's reports of a plane crash off the coast of Gran Canaria – which turned out to be a tug boat – and initial reports on the disappearance of flight MH370 are recent examples of when some news organisations have jumped the gun on reporting.

"We are aiming our website at people that are actually looking for the set view on a certain event, or coverage that is definite, rather than just what's happening now," continued Are.

Breaking news is still important when accurate, she said, but The Charta will look to contextualise events and help people learn from them, to "see what it means to their future and their past".

"One of our slogans is that Twitter asks what's happening and we ask how, why and what is the future impact of the situation," co-founder and managing director Charles-Édouard van de Put told Journalism.co.uk, "which cannot be done within an hour of an event happening".

"You need the time to really investigate what's happening, why it's happening, how it happened and what it means for the future."

A porous paywall


The Charta will be funded through a subscription model, at £75 per year or £6.25 a month, which van de Put compared to the Financial Times' metered-paywall.

Once established, readers will be invited to set up an account on The Charta where they will be able to view a limited number of articles before subscribing for further access.

"One thing we've identified as a problem with the media today is that everything is free and therefore the stories they have to do are the stories that attract as many people as possible," said van de Put.

Instead, The Charta's co-founders hope to attract "partners" instead of readers, said Are, who can give constant feedback on the editorial process, suggest stories they would like to see covered or help investigate a topic where feasible.

"We are trying to make independence one of our biggest goals," she said, "and being completely independent and completely unbiased is impossible, but we are going to strive for open-mindedness and taking two weeks before publishing an article is going to be a great help towards that."

Van de Put was keen to stress how The Charta will differ from weekly publications like the Economist or Business Week in rounding up recent events for analysis. Although they may tread a similar line in coverage, he believes The Charta will be able to publish new stories on a daily basis once established.

"They are weekly but they talk about the week that just happened," he said. "So if it's published on a Friday then what happened on a Thursday will be rushed."

"With us there would be new stories every day", he explained, but with two weeks-worth of research behind them.

A prototype of the website includes stories on changes to The Defamation Act of 2013, sex addiction in the digital age, the reporting of global humanitarian crises and a curated section to showcase the best journalism from other sources.

"We felt quite tired while reading the news," Are said. "We were constantly ambushed by updates and sometimes we couldn't make sense of what was going on.

"So we decided that we wanted to change that."

The Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund The Charta ends on April 26.

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