Can ‘slow journalism’ work? Delayed Gratification is finding out
The Internet is all about speed, but quarterly print magazine Delayed Gratification is betting on slow journalism.
The publication takes its inspiration from the Slow Food movement, which is about promoting sustainable and high quality produce over mass food production. It was founded in 2011 by Rob Orchard, former editor of Time Out Dubai, with Marcus Webb, its former international editor and three other former Time Out editorial executives.
The idea is to put a new spin on topics that have already been extensively covered by the mainstream media through contextual analysis, along with original reporting, and charge £36 ($52) a year for it.
“We have amazing free news on tap from the likes of the BBC and The Guardian,” said Orchard. “So they set the news agenda and we evaluate it — we’re the seagull following the trawler.”
The latest issue, December’s, had about 20 long-form stories, including original reports on Cecil the Lion and the trophy trade, Belgian mothers of jihadis soldiers and people smuggling, as well as its own designed infographics and cartoons. The magazine also covers science, art and technology.
For one popular feature, it sent freelancer journalists to the Turkish town of Soma, where a mining accident killed 300 people. The journalists found the story had changed since the major news organizations covered it, and found the community left angered by forgotten promises of politicians who had moved on.
For the next issue, covering the period from October to December 2015, Orchard and his editorial team of four are sifting through the headlines to find the most important stories to revisit in 4,000-word articles. Some will put the attacks in context, an element that can be lost in a constantly updated newsfeed scroll.
“It was a period defined by terror attacks — Ankara, Beirut, Paris and Sharm el-Sheikh — we’re finding the interesting perspective that hindsight will give us on the Paris attacks,” Orchard said.
The slow journalism approach has won the magazine praise from the likes of The Guardian, which wrote that it “takes a leisurely (and contrary) look backwards”; and The Economist, which called it a “quarterly magazine that produces a slower, more reflective type of journalism.”
Half of Delayed Gratification’s revenue comes from its subscription, the rest from events and one-off newsstand sales. Design has been an editorial focus for the magazine, so events may cover how to create your own infographics or start your own magazine. The infographics it designs and creates are often its best-performing pieces, such as this Best Country in the World chart that got 4,300 views. They also get the most shares on social media (like this Premier League chart) and have won the Information is Beautiful awards that are created by data journalist and award-winning author David McCandless (including this one on How to Win an Oscar).
Still, Delayed Gratification isn’t ignoring the Web. It’s in the process of putting all its content online, a benefit that it hopes will double its subscriber count to 10,000 this year. It uses digital and social channels to grow print subscriptions. Like other publishers, its weekly email newsletter is its best marketing channel, with a third of its recipients regularly opening it.
Getting your coverage three months later is a niche audience for sure, and only so scaleable, but with goals to increase its revenue split to to 75 percent of subscribers the end of the year, it is more sustainable.
Other publications specialize in long-form, quality journalism, but Orchard believes its role is even more important today.
“When the impact of ad blockers grows from 20 percent to 60 percent, then the whole economic underpinning goes out of the window,” he said. “This is all combining for people to think, ‘If I want the good stuff, I need to pay for it.’”
Images courtesy of Delayed Gratification via Instagram.
‘Lens of the West Coast’: Inside the L.A. Times’ new head of audio’s plan to focus the publisher’s podcasts
Aguilera wants people to one day associate the newspaper publisher with its podcasts and their West Coast "vibe and tone." But first, she is tasked with growing the L.A. Times' daily news show "The Times."
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: What publishers should watch for when meeting with blockchain vendors
In this week's Media Briefing, media editor Kayleigh Barber explores the primary questions publishers should be asking when evaluating potential blockchain partners.
Amid video growing pains, Amazon Live struggles to attract publishers
Amazon wants publishers to drive their audiences toward the ecommerce platform's shoppable videos. Many are skeptical.
SponsoredMarketing teams are revisiting brand suitability on social media in 2022
Brands and people want to know that social media apps are safe places to connect, free from exposure to harmful content. Brand suitability describes the practice of determining a particular brand’s tolerance of advertising alongside safe but sensitive content. Heading into 2022, brand suitability will continue to be at the forefront of the advertising industry’s […]
‘Push back with brilliance’: Jared Belsky explains Acadia’s approach to acquiring other agencies and recruiting clients
Digital agency Acadia is focused squarely on winning mid-sized clients that the holding companies usually pass over or don’t treat seriously enough.
Architectural Digest will publish its first global print issue as part of revamped international rollout strategy
As Condé Nast shifts to a consolidated global content strategy, editorial teams around the world are working more closely at AD to coordinate the publication of feature stories, videos and new franchises.