In My Opinion: Rob Orchard: Brexit and the joys of ‘slow Journalism’

A WEEK after the UK voted to leave the European Union, I was at a party where several people asked me the same question: “What are you going to do on Brexit?”

Since then, it’s become a regular occurrence. My journalists are being quizzed by their friends and family about our referendum coverage and readers are emailing in every day suggesting possible angles on the story.

Happily, we’ve still got another couple of months before we have to reveal our hand.

I’m the co-editor of Delayed Gratification, a quarterly ‘Slow Journalism’ print magazine that seeks to defy today’s hyper-speedy news cycle, revisiting the major events of the last three months after the ‘dust has settled’ and giving a more final word on stories instead of the first, knee-jerk reaction.

The issue of the magazine covering the referendum will come out in mid-September, which means that we have time to properly delve into and reflect on one of the most extraordinary periods in British political history.

Like everyone else, in the days following 24th June, I was glued to minute-by-minute politics liveblogs, 24-hour news channels and the cascade of opinions from every pundit under the sun.

The saturation speculation quickly became overwhelming and depressing. Most of what I read and listened to was borderline terrifying – and not very useful.

On occasions like this, it’s nice to run a magazine whose slogan is ‘Last to Breaking News’.

We’re a tiny team at Delayed Gratification and we can’t compete with large news organisations when it comes to breadth of coverage.

But in an increasingly fast-paced, frenzied and under-resourced media landscape in which being first too often trumps being right, we’re committed to providing some much-needed clarity.

Our aim is to cut through the white noise of the 24/7 news media and bring our readers reporting with depth, detail, accuracy, balance and a sense of perspective.

We operate free from the whims of advertisers’ agendas, the bias of search engine algorithms and PR-driven churnalism. Recent issues have seen us reporting on the Belgian mothers of jihadis, tracking an extraordinary exodus from Kosovo, and following up on 43 disappeared Mexican students.

We’re going to be talking about our philosophy and our aims for the future at this year’s Magfest in Edinburgh, and I’m delighted that the theme of this year’s event is ‘Fight For Your Audience’.

We have always tried to fight for our readers, bringing them intelligent, non-partisan, independent reporting, in a world filled with subtly-disguised advertorial and clickbait misinformation.

I’m proud to be sharing a platform at Magfest with speakers from across Europe who are also fighting for their audiences.

The line-up is inspiring.

There are speakers fighting for an audience that cares passionately about the health of print media, speakers fighting for an audience that believes in the critical need for investigative reporting, and speakers fighting for an audience that shares their view that magazines can continue to do what they’ve always done: inspire, entertain, inform – and even change lives. It’s an exciting prospect.

As an extra incentrive, I’ll be bringing copies of the new issue of Delayed Gratification with me, so that – three months after the vote – I can finally answer that question: What are you going to do on Brexit?

Rob Orchard is the co-editor and founder of Delayed Gratification, the Slow Journalism magazine.