Tortoise: a new approach to news?

With a focus on slow news and live debates, Tortoise has positioned itself as a brand for people feeling exhausted by 24-hour news. We talk to Co-founder Katie Vanneck-Smith and Creative Director Jon Hill about the brand’s approach and the future of news journalism

At 6.30pm each weeknight, Tortoise hosts an hour-long debate in its London newsroom. Each of these debates – or ‘ThinkIns’ as they’re known at Tortoise – is focused on a single topic: Why is racism on the rise in football? Who should teach children about sex education? Can we save the seas? A journalist kicks off each session, posing questions for the audience to discuss in a homely office that looks more like the lobby of a boutique hotel than your average newsroom.

Tortoise describes its ThinkIns as a platform for ‘organised listening’. Events are open to Tortoise’s members or paying guests (tickets cost £25, and those who can’t make it in person can join in via a live web stream) but the brand has also taken its ThinkIns on the road, visiting a Nando’s in Dover to discuss Brexit and a refugee camp in Lesvos to talk about immigration, and opening up discussions to a wider audience.

Our aspiration is to be out of the newsroom and on the road at least every other week,” says Co-founder Katie Vanneck-Smith. “Members are invited, but we will actively make sure we’re bringing other people into that conversation too,” she explains.

DESIGN ASSISTANT

Wandsworth, London

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

102 Petty France, London

ART DIRECTOR

Brighton, East Sussex