Funding Friday: Tortoise

I backed this “new journalism” project today.

I like the idea that journalists are experimenting with new models and I like the idea of using crowdfunding to support that.

#Current Affairs

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rick Mason

    Journalists desperately need to take these kinds of risks. They need to invent new types of business models and ways of presenting information. I’m not sure if any of the ideas presented here will work or not.I’d personally welcome a model where the subscribers could choose who they want to see interviewed and then get to ask the majority of the questions. The journalists would merely act as moderators and perhaps ask follow up questions.There’s a Sunday show, I think it’s on Fox, where they take four or five questions people tweet. Often those questions are the best asked of the guest.

    1. JLM

      .The challenge with most interviews is that the interviewer arrives with an agenda while the subject arrives with a message.Rarely is the objective to reveal facts and truths. It is either to advance the agenda or to convey the message.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. jason wright

    Someone could do very well if they build a media outlet based on transparency about the ‘mechanics’ of media. Journalists need to be more honest about their profession, about how they go about their work, and about their relationships with lobbyists (who are journalists wearing another hat), and commercial and political interests. Their Wizard of Oz playbook is coming to an end. We now see behind the curtain. We understand that news is a manufactured product.We had clerics, we have journalists, but we need something entirely new.

    1. JLM

      .Unfortunately, what we will find out is there is nobody behind the curtain and those who control the curtain are not wearing any clothes.The Wizard of Nods meets the Emperor’s Old Clothes but only has a 30 second slot to explain the last 100 years of Middle East strife.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. jason wright

        maybe we need you JLM.

        1. JLM

          .Nah, this JLM is a “long winded blowhard” given to esoteric blog posts and is quite happy with his lot in life just now.Be well.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. jason wright

            and you.

      2. LE

        So Ironic that NYT takes family money to task and runs front page stories about their nemesis when it is a institution that is run by a young scion of that family. Said Sulzberger who got the reins from his father (who got it from his father) hands the typewriter to his young son to run the paper. [1] He spoke at my Mom’s community apparently his mother in law lives there. Had a predictable answer to any political question during the small group talk deftly dodging saying anything that could come back to haunt him in any way.You have to wonder what kind of person with that type of exciting job retires when he is retirement age? You would think if you really liked the business you are in you would be a lifer and show up everyday because it is fun and not work, eh? It must really suck mentally having that type of power and knowing that you didn’t earn it in any way and were given it.[1] 38 years old:

      3. sigmaalgebra

        “30 second slot”Last night Hannity had Rush Limbaugh on for the full hour. I enjoyed all of it. Some of Rush’s conjectures I thought had to be tossed out there; I more or less independently agree with some of the most important of them.Lesson: So, the news need not always be a “30 second slot”.For more, Frontline did two hours or so on Gulf War I. I downloaded and kept a copy. It’s pretty good.I would have liked much more on the basic logistics and details of the battles. E.g., a major part of the USAF strategy was to bomb Baghdad and there command, (3C) control, and communications to keep Saddam from communicating with his troops facing the US and allies. Well, there was a lot of bombing of Baghdad, but apparently somehow Saddam still was able to communicate with his troops — HOW??? Or, if attacking 3C is such a good strategy, then how come it didn’t work in Gulf War I? Curious minds want to know.And there were other such issues. E.g., I never understood what either Schwarzkopf or Franks really wanted for Franks’s big left hook charge. It looked to me like in the end Franks had just a dozen or so M1A1s and a dozen or so Bradleys charging into Iraqi positions with little or no reconnaissance on what was ahead 100 yards, 1000 yards, 1 mile, 2 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles. So, the US force, just the dozen tanks, just charged ahead until they saw some Iraqi forces and then fired. In a sense that worked out fairly well if only because the M1A1 could fire accurately on a range of 2 miles through dust, rain, the dark, etc. and the Iraqi forces could not. Still, the Iraqis did destroy at least one Bradley. But in principle the dozen US tanks could have suddenly found themselves facing 100+ Iraqi tanks which could have been deadly for too many US tanks. If there were 100 Iraqi tanks, then we should have sent in the USAF to clear the area of all Iraqi aircraft and then to destroy the Iraqi tanks used anti-tank missiles from US aircraft or helicopters or the gun in the A10. Apparently Franks and Schwarzkopf charged ahead with very little reconnaissance. Curious minds want to understand.For more, Frontline did a long interview with the guy who was the head of Wells Fargo during the real estate bubble. I got the transcript and, with some effort, edited it out the HTML and got back to just the text. That was relatively good insight into the cause of the worst financial disaster since 1929. Curious minds want to know.There is some “long form journalism”. To me, the quality level is still at best C-, but that’s better than the below grade F toxic stuff from ABC, CBS, CNN, … WaPo.More generally, how to write clear, well supported, credible, responsible reports on reality is a very highly developed field. We commonly get rock solid writing in math, physical science, engineering, law, medical science, medicine, etc.My current guess about the media starts with the E. Fromm remark, IIRC:The fundamental problem in life is getting security in the face of the anxiety from our realization that alone we are vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature and society.So, people want to know what the heck is going on, i.e., want reconnaissance. So, they go to the media. Anxious minds want to know.The media sees the the people coming and, with great, rock solid, iron clad determination, utterly, totally refuses to provide credible information and, instead, just takes advantage of the audience:(1) The media does not provide reconnaissance to provide information to make people more secure and, instead, deliberately scares people, raises their anxiety level, even adds to divisions and incites riots. We can see some of this media technique with their rule “If it bleeds, it leads.” and because it reports on a threat. Even if the bleeding is far away, there is the issue “There but for the grace of God go I.”. So, the feeling is that as long as anyone is suffering, everyone else is at risk of suffering; thus everyone else pays attention to the bleeding.(2) The media is nothing like objective. Instead, from Sharyl Attkisson, IIRC,Essentially everything you see in the media was put there and paid for by someone trying to influence your opinion.(3) More specifically, IMHO, at present, essentially all of the mainstream media, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Politico, NYT, WaPo, Boston Globe, and more, are essentially just propaganda arms of the left part of the Democrat party. More specifically, the strategy of the Democrat party, from Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, … across the country to Elizabeth (Fauxcahontas) Warren and more Democrat politicians and their allies in the MSM, is to toss out, daily, shocking, astounding claims and accusations about President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Judge Kavanaugh, Secretary Mattis, General Kelly, Mike Pompeo, etc., just cooked up, stirred up, nasty lies, groundless statements, repeating them over and over, e.g., that, my phrasing,”Trump is a racist.”, “Judge Kavanaugh did nasty, illegal things to teenage girls.”,”Dr. Ford should be believed.”.”Stormy Daniels should be believed.”.”We must believe the dozen or so women who claim that Trump is a sexual predator,”, “Trump won the 2016 election by colluding with the Russians.”,”Trump has personal, backdoor financial deals with the Saudis.”,”General Mattis is about to resign.”.”Trump doesn’t know what he is doing, and the West Wing of the White House is in chaos.”,”Trump is psychologically unfit to be POTUS.”,”Much of the Trump staff wants to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.”,etc.all without credible evidence enough to fill one side of a small postage stamp, hoping that Nazi Dr. J. Goebbels was correct with his, IIRC,If you tell a lie often enough, then people will believe it. Eventually even you will come to believe it.Essentially all of the MSM is, except for some simple facts, e.g., a hurricane is coming, a hurricane came, is just absurd lies of left wing Democrat propaganda.Apparently this situation exists because of the standard obserevations:”Always look for the hidden agenda.”,”Money talks.”,”Follow the money.”.The low grade, dishonest content is not nearly new: E.g., inThomas Jefferson to John Norvell 14 June 1807 Works 10:417–18isNothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day.Obviously that sewage flow will continue until it no longer gets eyeballs or makes money.MSM is not “journalism”; it’s just propaganda and sewage, toxic, destructive.For the NYT, on paper it can’t compete with Charmin. On the Internet it’s useless for wrapping dead fish heads.

  3. William Mougayar

    Just did too. And I like that they are giving special pricing incentives if you are under 30 years old.

  4. JLM

    .Extremely interesting group of founders.This is not “journalism” which is the profession of writing – writing for newspapers, magazines, websites, radio, television, or other broadcast (podcasts) about current events.Journalism is further subdivided amongst opinion, hard news, feature stories (background), and breaking news.The quality of journalism is held hostage to the quality of the reportage and the underlying quality of the sources. Someone with great sources can be a lesser writer because the quality of their information transcends any shortcomings in their writing.The fact that the quality of the reporter — Walter Cronkite — provides, or may provide, an imprimatur on the reliability of the news itself is a huge element in journalism.We have different standards on breaking news, being willing to tolerate inaccuracies fairly conveyed because of the immediacy of events.Journalism is best when it provide the entire gamut of views on a subject – many times alternative interpretations of the same set of facts. We want our journalism to be objective, neutral, and fair. [The men in Hell wanted ice water this morning.]But, journalism is a for profit business which requires the targeting of audiences which puts a lens on top of the view of events and reportage. Hence we have Fox News and MSNBC reporting the same basic facts, but with a widely variant lens. Today, this lens could be fairly called “bias.”The lens is institutional, editorial, personal.The consumer tends to pick their source based on the same lens.This enterprise is a think tank which will give you a seat at the table.There are a myriad of similar sources of information — think tanks being the most like think tanks. Magazines with a longer lead time than the current news cycle have historically given us a longer and slower view of bubbling events — why some folks read the Economist and Foreign Affairs Magazine and Foreign Policy.Let’s take Foreign Policy as an example. It is a 50 year old publication with no more than 100,000 subscribers. It has a website.This venerable “Foggy Bottom-esque” publication has a website. It publishes its mag six times a year, but it produces daily content on its website.This is the impact of technology, the speed of the news cycle, the heightened pace of events, and the impatience of the consumer trying to be slow while being forced to be fast.The consumer is not willing to wait on thoughtful analysis. Most of the body consumptive is not thoughtful enough for the thoughtful analysis. [I wish that were not true and that I hadn’t said that, but it is absolutely true. We want fast food and faster content.]For me, I am most focused on the quality of the sources. I don’t really care whether I hear the news on Fox or CNN – I will follow it to the source.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. LE

    ‘This time it’s going to be different’.Summary (from the end of the video): “investigations,analysis, opinions and we want you to help us.”. I am curious if what they will be doing is a version of wikipedia where they get the benefit of free and unpaid labor for their (I think) for profit model of journalism.Manifesto follows: [1]This may end up developing into the same as we have now because people consume news because it’s entertainment not because it contains information that they actually need in their day to day lives and/or would take action on. At least the bulk of the market. Most of the stories are essentially cooked up by the media so they can entertain people. They call it informing people but honestly why does it matter to someone in Syracuse what is going on in Atlanta Georgia with a mass shooting? How does it change anything in your day to day existence or life?I notice also that they have no regular people giving their thoughts on the product they want to produce. I would have included that in the video confirming the usefulness of what they propose offering. The video is the founders who are steeped in the news culture and business. This isn’t who is consuming the news (entertainment). That said as a niche it stands a good chance of succeeding but it will always be a niche. The competition and their honestly already have changed people’s appetites for reading. Just like Netflix has changed people’s appetites for watching movies.Another issue is inevitably they will rely on writers and those writers will compete to get the most interesting stories and therefore end up inevitably (even if not to start) exaggerating and putting forth a certain viewpoint and perspective no matter how balanced they say they are going to be (and they are not even saying that.) Plus the feedback mechanism from the room will drive the content. And guess what? That is why we are at where we are today. If your competitors and doing the nasty you will end up doing the same.’hear from everybody in the room’They say they will take Tortoise on tour ‘churches places of worship, prisons refuge camps’. So right there you are not getting a diverse viewpoint and even then this suffers from putting a large amount of credibility not only on those that are there but those that have the ability to speak up. And of course the people who can present more credibly in that type of forum will get the cheers and then the conclusion will be ‘ok the people support this’. It’s a version of the AVC ‘top’ comment in a way. And why do I want to hear about suffering in a refuge camp anyway? I already know there are cases in this world where things suck for many people. I already know why people want to escape Honduras and how bad it is. The fact that someone in the media decides to single out one item that is their pet dislike is a bit unfair, no? We all understand that things are bad for a great deal of people in our country and in other parts of the world. We don’t have enough resources to make it good for everyone. It’s unfortunate but it’s true. Edit: So why is what a journalist points out more special to us? The typical answer is ‘well at least we/you are doing something’.Also will note that what people care about is what they have been brainwashed to think is important by the existing media they read. So asking them ‘what do you care about’ is really asking them ‘what are you reading’ because the majority of people believe what they read (wherever that is which is different.) Honestly most everyday people’s opinion (or a survey of them) is just how they have been brainwashed by what they read or what someone who reads tells them to think. Look I am brainwashed into thinking Austin Tx is great just as a result of what JLM says about it.If you ask most people what they think about what happened to the ‘journalist’ in the Saudi embassy they will tell you it’s horrible and that we should put firm consequences on Saudi Arabia. Because that is what is going around right now in the news by talking heads and the media attempting to stir the pot. The truth is that people who don’t follow the news at all will have a completely different opinion. And those people who would loose their jobs or their income if we did do sanctions (or refused their money or their oil) almost certainly won’t be on board with any punishment at all.I am not sure this is really ‘journalism’. It’s something different. It could be a good model and the model will change for sure from the way they have presented it.[1] I am watching ‘Manhunt Unabomber’ on Netflix and it’s really good.

  6. Joel Natividad

    Right here in the US, you may also want to consider backing the investigative journalism site – Sludge (, which is based on the Civil blockchain-based journalism platform. (