Fix The News

Time for a change

Fix The News
Illustration by Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker

Hi everyone, Gus here. 

It’s no secret that the news media is in crisis. It's not just newsrooms’ ongoing obsession with stories of division, death, and destruction, it's also the stories they’re telling about themselves. Sweeping layoffs, cuts to local reporting, consumer trust at an all-time low. Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to know what's happening in the world yet more difficult to get a clear picture. It’s not breaking news. It’s broken news.

So what if we could fix it? This newsletter has spent the last eight years making the case that the news can delight and inspire, with stories about what's happening in places we will never visit, to people we will never meet. Every edition, every marker of progress, every graph, every new paying subscriber, every conversation we’ve had with our podcast guests, has shown that the news can let us care about the good and the bad—not because we’re directly impacted, but because we are all sharing this planet at the same time. 

We’ve received emails from many of you saying that our stories have helped you stay sane over the last few years. I’m not surprised, because that's true for me too. I'm a news junkie. I have paid subscriptions to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The South China Morning Post, Wired, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal and receive something like 20-30 newsletters in my inbox every week. If I’m not careful, the doomscrolling can get overwhelming.

Researching and writing this newsletter is my own medicine. At the end of every week, no matter how awful the news has been, I’m reminded of all the progress that has happened in places where the cameras aren’t rolling. Over the course of 240 editions, I’ve read about a lot of human cruelty and stupidity, yet way more about courage and kindness. For every story of plunder and pollution, there’s been another of restoration and renewal. 

What’s surprised me most is that what started as an exercise in balance has become a study in attention, allowing me to stay with things when the world feels really dark. I know that a lot of you use this newsletter in a similar fashion, to take a break from the relentless negativity, to have your faith in humanity restored, and to remind you that the news doesn’t just have to be about the mistakes that are made; it can also be about the steps we take to fix them. 

So we’re changing our name to Fix The News. 

This rebrand signals the beginning of a new, deeper commitment to the long-term project of showing that another form of journalism is possible—and economically viable. The more we dig into this work and expand our reach, alongside other organisations doing the same, the more chance we have of mending at least some part of the wider media ecosystem. 

We intend to be laser-focused on progress that is happening, rather than events that unfold. We think there’s a genuine market for this kind of content. We believe that human beings aren’t slaves to negativity bias. We’re convinced that readers don’t want to just passively consume good news, they want to feel like they’re part of it. You could call this naive, except for the fact that you, our subscribers, have already proved it.

What stays the same?

We’re still committed to being the world's most reputable and comprehensive source of stories of progress. Our charity donations will stay the same. They’re not just a cherry on top, they’re an essential part of our circular news model: the news gets turned into subscriptions, which turn into action, which leads to more news about how progress is possible. The podcast will continue to share conversations with people stitching the world back together. 

I’m lucky to be bringing a great team along. Amy is going to be at the helm of the podcast, digging into the stories of the people behind the big wins you read about here. Steph, our copyeditor, will continue to fix our inevitable mistakes, and we are also hoping to grow the team in the next few months.

Future Crunch will continue to grow as a speaking and thought leadership organisation, and will soon be expanding into education and online courses. Tane and the team there remain committed to spreading intelligent optimism to audiences around the world. Need a dynamic, mind-blowing, and thought-provoking speaker for your next event? Do yourself a favour and head to the website.

What will change?

Next week’s edition of the newsletter will come from Fix The News rather than Future Crunch. I recommend adding the email address to your contacts so the spam bots don't take us out.

You might notice a tonal shift, including some more personal commentary and experimentation. We want to take this opportunity to reimagine what we do: weaving in different voices, testing different formats and channels, and at some point, I’m hoping to start commissioning some of our own, original solutions journalism. 

This is not about doing more; it’s about going deeper. We are not about to become a one-stop media shop, but we do want to be an essential part of your information diet. Also, as part of our commitment to fixing the news, we’re offering free premium memberships to any educators or mental health workers who find this to be a useful resource. Does that sound like you? Hit reply to this email and we’ll add you to the list. 

We have a lot of ideas, but we’re also bootstrapping this thing. There aren’t any investors or foundations behind us, so we will only grow as fast as our subscriber base. Which brings me back to you. For those of you who have been on the journey with us until now—thank you. None of this would be possible without your support. For those of you who have joined us recently, you’ve come onboard at a great time! 

We know that the rest of this decade is crucial, a hinge point in history. There is so much at stake for our collective future. None of us can predict which way it's going to go, but if nobody is documenting the story of where we’re getting it right, then how are we going to know we're getting it right? We’ve become so conditioned to prepare for the worst, we’ve forgotten how to lean into the possibility of things working out. More of us need to be saying there’s a chance we might make it.  

And if that’s true—you’ll hear about it here first.

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