slow sign
Credit: By Steven Depolo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
A new platform which aims to combine collaborative storytelling with 'slow journalism' is due to launch next year.

Very Best of Us (VBOUS), an online platform and quarterly print publication, will focus on culture and lifestyle stories and plans to include the reader into the storytelling process.

"What happens is we pick a city and we research it, and then we come to our readers and say this is what we found, tell us what you want to know," explained chief executive officer Necole Evans.

She said adopting a slow journalism approach means VBOUS can "really dig deep".

"We don't cover the surface stuff, we look into the legal history, the social history, we look into trends, we look into cultural practices," she explained.

Slow journalism developed as a reaction to the 24/7 news cycle, with an emphasis on in-depth explanations of why stories matter and following them through to the end, as opposed to reporting stories with a quicker turnaround such as breaking news.

Delayed Gratification, for example, is a quarterly magazine that usually publishes three months after the date of the events covered inside.

VBOUS, due to launch next summer, will be funded mostly through subscriptions – a print and digital subscription for a year will cost $150 (£92.27). Subscriptions can currently be pre-ordered on the site at a discount.

Evans has also been crowdfunding to cover the costs of building the digital platform, a campaign which successfully closed today, raising $1,041 (£669).

The process of gathering stories will also in some cases include live streaming, and readers will be able to contribute to the interviewing process.

We hope to continue the relationship with the content and with the reader all the way through to the end.Necole Evans, VBOUS
"Everyone is inspired by different things and as a moment happens and conversations happen, you want to be able to talk about it," Evans explained.

While an open invitation for questions can have unpredictable results, Evans doesn't want VBOUS to be "just one editor determining what you get to know".

She said their process will be similar to the one at Dutch platform De Correspondent, where journalists allow members to contribute by asking questions or sending tips before a story is ready for publication.

After finding out what readers are interested in, the next step is to "enhance" the story, and the team can "go back and do another layer of digging" if necessary.

She said "final reads" are also a feature VBOUS has been looking at, and round tables for example could also be organised for subscribers if the funding allows.

"You want to know about the world, you just don't want to read these stories in passing, so the whole thing is to be involved and then to get it packaged, but [also] to be able to come back and reflect on it".

Access to archive streams and events from VBOUS will come with the digital subscription, while a print subscriptions will include digital access as well as additional interviews and materials in the print publication.

But Evans admitted getting readers on board with the "different" process will the biggest challenge of VBOUS.

"We hope to continue the relationship with the content and with the reader all the way through to the end," she added.

Update: This article has been updated to clarify subscription prices.

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