The Charta reports on important issues and events. It isn’t exactly a news site, due to the very fact that we report on such things later than most media outlets. We will concentrate on the bigger picture, events that matter on the mid to long term.
We can’t know for sure how an event is going to evolve only one hour after it has happened. That's why we have a two weeks’ liveline before publishing a story: we estimate this gives us enough time to research and analyse most aspects of an issue while still publishing a timely and relevant article.
By focusing on quality over quantity, we want to produce accurate, researched and polished reports. We’re not trying to publish a thousand stories by midnight.
We don’t want to follow news trends: if a war hasn’t stopped, we will not stop reporting on it. News today is distracted. It covers events according to the hits they might get rather than to their importance. We will have timelines for long running events to ensure that we deliver consistent and relevant reporting and don't forget about them.
We want to bring you accurate, researched and original reporting: if a story is not in the news, it doesn’t mean it's not relevant.
The faster an article is published the higher the chances are it is inaccurate. Pretending to be 100 per cent objective would be a lie, but we are striving for accuracy and open-mindedness. We will try to portray all aspects of a story and distinguish between reporting and opinion pieces.
While keeping our editorial independence, we don’t think of our readers as subscribers, but as partners. We will accept - and ask for - suggestions, pitches and sharing of expertise by all of those who take the time to read The Charta.
We don’t want to replace the daily news, we want to complement it: we are the alternative. We want to address the bigger picture by focusing on events that will resonate on the mid to long term. Emergencies and crises need immediate reporting; we come in once the story has settled.
We don’t provide news: we provide stories and reports. Today you cannot break news for more than a minute, but you can still tell a story that hasn’t been told before. We don’t see a scoop as an update, but as a discovery. We want to inform, not notify.
Award-winning journalist, author and TED speaker Carl Honoré said: “The best way to make sense of our fast world is to slow down the news. The Charta will do just that by taking the time to think, understand and explain. In a world ravaged by fast news that's just what the doctor ordered."
Additionally, we will be paying attention to design in order to give you the best experience possible when reading The Charta. We are aiming to have a very user and reader friendly site, with options to customise certain aspects to your preference (such as font size and style for example).
More mockups are available here. We have also set up a prototype website - with a few articles on timely yet not 'breaking news' issues - to give you a small preview of what you can expect from The Charta, accessible here.
Our target is ambitious because starting a quality news outlet from scratch is expensive. The promise we make to give the best possible reporting on bigger picture events cannot be held without a decent amount of resources. The budget we have set guarantees that The Charta will run smoothly for a year. This budget is based on five cost areas.
These various cost areas are more or less correlated, so extra backing will spread out to increase and/or improve these areas proportionally.
We do not technically have stretch goals, but every extra penny we get will go towards the growth and development of The Charta. Our rewards are based on you pre-subscribing to The Charta, so the value you get is guaranteed but more importantly it increases the more backing we get beyond our initial target.
The more the project is shared, the more it is backed; the more the project is backed, the more resources we get; the more resources we get, the more reporting we can do; and the more reporting we can do, the more value you get for your subscription.
So please back us and share this project with everybody you know, it's for your benefit!
Things we might do with more backing: cover more stories, have more on the ground reporting, do more lengthy investigations, develop more features for our website and mobile versions, get better deals from our potential partners, have a print version etc.
To deliver the best reporting possible, The Charta will be fully paywalled. By relying on subscriptions to finance our activities we will not subject to the influence of advertisers and/or trending scores.
The subscription will be around £75 per year, that is £6.25 per month (around $125 / 90€ per year or $10.4 / 7.5€ per month). That is less than half the average digital subscription price of major paid online news outlets.
We are aware that our project is ambitious, and that is why we need you! We want more than readers: we want partners, people that, like us, believe the news today needs an alternative.
The fact we see you as our partners will influence our interactions with you. We will be sure to listen to your feedback and ideas from day one. There will be a constant dialogue with our community to make sure The Charta stays true to itself and that grows and evolves with and for its readers. So please feel free to get in touch, give us ideas and feedback, we are listening.
Once our goal is met we will start working on setting up The Charta. We will be finding partners (organisations and key people), building the systems (site, CMS and subscription management), looking for infrastructure (equipment and location) and start seeking people to join our initial team.
We will also contact news sites or magazines to share resources and collaborate. In a later stage we will also contact organisations such as universities and companies who might be interested in getting a subscription for their members.
The systems are essential to the operation of the business and will therefore have to be partly tailor-made. The site, CMS and subscription system are all tied together and will require developing, setting up, and testing before our official launch.
Infrastructure and people will be the most significant investments. This includes finding offices, furnishing and equipping them and getting the resources to ensure smooth running of the site.
We hope this crowdfunding campaign will also allow us to access people who backed and are firm believers in the project to potentially join the initial team. We will be sure to gather a multidisciplinary team that has key competences but also believes in the idea and ethos of The Charta.
Our community of backers will be updated on our progress all along. Once we start reporting and publishing articles, we will be able to analyse, monitor our progress, receive feedback and evolve accordingly while staying true to our ethos.
While we believe that progress and speed in the past century have brought on important and good change, we also think we are too “addicted” to speed and that this fast culture is affecting the way we live, work and interact negatively.
Going back to a slow life - as much as the times allow us - ties in with the Slow Food Movement born in Rome in 1986, when journalist Carlo Petrini witnessed the opening of a well-known fast food restaurant on this historical enclave of the Italian capital. After Slow Food, the idea was applied to different essential areas of our existence.
The Charta was born out of the desire to give value to and make sense of the events happening around us. Just like Carl Honoré’s slow movement, slow news are not about doing everything at a snail’s pace, but “seeking to do everything at the right speed”.
The Charta was partly inspired by De Correspondent, a Dutch-language, online journalism platform that offers background, analysis, investigative reporting, and stories that do not appear on the mainstream media because they don’t conform to what is normally understood to be ‘news.’ Launched on September 30th 2013, De Correspondent raised $1.7 million through crowd-funding.
We have a press release and press pack available here.
If you feel like can you help The Charta beyond backing our project here, on Kickstarter, or if it is just to say hello, please feel free to get in touch!
PS: do not forget the "Risks and Challenges" section below.
Risks and challenges
Starting a new media outlet is going to be a challenge in itself. However we will not be going at it on our own: we have you, our backers, plus a board of advisors we will build from the start.
We have found - and are still looking for - support from individuals with years of experience in the media and business world relevant to our project. These advisors will be there to help us with setting up and running The Charta. They will offer guidance and advice on matters that might need a trained professional’s opinion, this board can make sure we address any possible obstacle with enough expertise.
As a starting journalistic venture we will not have half the network established outlets have. We will be partnering with other organisations and will work with our subscribers to build the basis of our network. If we need an expert on mechanical engineering, for example, we will first to talk to our subscribers: there might be one amongst you! We are building The Charta together with this unique community, and we would be wrong not to take advantage of it.
You might wonder what sets us apart from a weekly magazine. We believe what makes us different is our approach: we want to focus on events that will resonate from mid- to long-term. From day one, we will select news stories and follow them for two weeks, to then decide which impact they are going to have in the future and see if they align with our ethos. Moreover these magazines are published weekly, whereas you will be able to find new content on The Charta everyday.
This may mean that The Charta will cover fewer stories than traditional news outlets or that you may not see on our website a story that, at the time of reading, seems of major importance.
Incidentally, we are aware that we will not be able to cover all major world events from the start, even though we will do our best to. Whenever we think there is an issue we would like to but are not able to cover, we will offer a curated collection of quality articles that we think align to our goals despite coming from outside The Charta.
Increasing the audience of The Charta might turn out to be challenging as we will be paywalled. We are planning to tackle this problem by allowing a certain amount of content sharing.
Our approach will be the following. Subscribers will get a unique link (URL) to each story which they can share with a number of people. Whoever receives such link can only access the article if they have an account, which is free to create. However, these free accounts will only be able to read articles that have been shared with them.
This way, we hope The Charta's stories will spread via word of mouth and personal networks, allowing us to grow without having to sell out. Again this works to the subscribers' advantage. One is more likely to share good and interesting stories which pushes us even more towards these qualities.
Sharer! - You get a 1-YEAR subscription to The Charta and another TO SHARE with whomever you want (best friend, family, lover, that person who believes everything on the internet, your call) and, of course, a voice in the development and growth of the site as well as your name on our site's backer page!
Anonymous tip! - Is there a specific event or story you would like us to cover? Let us know and if it is in our scope we will do it (we will remain true to our ethos and not suffer any bias). You also get a 1-YEAR subscription to The Charta and, of course, a voice in the development and growth of the site as well as your name on the site's backer page!
Family plan! - You get FIVE 1-YEAR subscriptions to The Charta TO SHARE with whomever you want (friends, family, colleagues, your call) and, of course, a voice in the development and growth of the site as well as your name on our site's backer page!
Assistant editor for a day! - Come visit us once we are fully operational, spend the day with us, see how we work and help us out! Additionally, you get two 1-year subscriptions to The Charta to keep and/or give. Of course, you also get a voice in the development and growth of the site as well as your name on our backer page! (Transport and lodging not included, date to be arranged in due time)