Who are Tortoise?

We talk about Tortoise as “a different kind of newsroom”, so you can see why the idea of launching a ‘different kind of festival’ appealed to us.

Tortoise is a response to two problems – the daily noise and the power gap. 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. It doesn’t just obfuscate, it contributes to a widening of the divide between the powerful and the powerless.

Tortoise members are into learning, and in spite of everything, we’re optimists. Partly because we believe it’s your civic duty to try to get to grips with what on earth is going on, and partly because when you feel you understand things, it takes the edge off. Difficult conversations become more civilised, close friendships are more honest and brilliant laughs come more frequently.

We’re sticking our necks out for a whole new way of doing journalism, and we hope that, with the help of the team at KITE, we can do something unique with festivals too.

Trust in institutions – the media included – has never been lower. The social contract is breaking, maybe even broken. Our hypothesis is that we’ll do better if we open up. For us that means having a newsroom that is literally open to members. We’ve removed the barrier between the people who report the news and the people who read it – at Tortoise you can come on in and tell us what you think. Same goes for KITE. What’s exciting about it is that from over 300 ThinkIns we’ve done in our first year, we’ve learnt that when people can see and hear themselves in the news we report, they have a real, personal stake in it and the impact it has in the world. So we hope people will come along and really get involved.

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