Media Powerlist: How hard is it gaining a platform?

The UK’s top newspapers are dominated by historically acclaimed companies – making it difficult for new publications to make a breakthrough.

By Lucy Hopwood

Research conducted by Leeds Hacks has found the majority of the UK’s most read newspapers are over 100 years old.

Connections reveal large companies’ boards consist of staff with existing mainstream media backgrounds – debatably leaving small publications struggling in the gutter.

The Sun has the highest circulation of last year at over 1.5m daily readers – without taking online views into consideration. Owned by News Corp UK & Ireland Limited, the second largest news publishing company.




Tortoise Media is attempting to be the anomaly in this. Aiming to open up journalism, Tortoise provides ‘slow news’ via it daily app updates, open news conferences and ‘The Tortoise quarterly’ described as a short book of big reads released every three months.

Social Media Lead, Greg Halfacre said: “There’s a constant desire for new information and 24 hour breaking news wasn’t helpful, it wasn’t doing the job.

“Our co-founder, James Harding, felt overwhelmed by the constant news cycle.

Tortoise was born off the desire for whats going on and whats driving the news.”

James Harding has an impressive employment history working for large news publishing companies such as News Corp UK & Ireland Limited. As a Director at BBC News and the Editor of The Times – it’s clear he knows his stuff.

Halfacre said: “There’s 40, maybe 50, years of collective experience in major news publications.

“That’ll help in understanding what people want and how to make a sustainable future for journalism.”

So it could be argued that whilst Tortoise is new and seemingly successful up to now, this could be down to the experience of the people running its board.

With the most successful newspapers having over 100 years of publication experience under their belts, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to gain a successful platform. Publications such at The New Day manage to make a breakthrough, but never sustained it.

Tortoise Media attempt to combat the divide between the powerful and the powerless

Tortoise Media attempt to combat the divide between the powerful and the powerless

Launching in 2014, The New Day  newspaper reached a circulation of 40,000, beating the likes of The New European. However the success was short lived and failed to make its way into 2017.

Whilst many have failed, the future of journalism isn’t necessarily all doom and gloom. The i only launched in 2010 and currently stands at the 10th most popular UK paper.

As a membership business, Tortoise works on a subscription basis, built for and with members.

Greg Halfacre from Tortoise said: “It’s £10 for an under 30’s year subscription to our app.

“We use the app to make it as accessible as possible, young people have got a huge voice now and they’re very open about news.

“If you want to know whats going on and whats driving the news now you’ve got to hear from a wide range of people.”

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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