The Sounder


Slow Journalism mag Delayed Gratification is good. Damn good. With a new edition out now deconstructing the big news stories of the last three months, we decided to ask the DG team in London how they made Issue 27.

Marcus Webb, Editorial Director
“Since our launch, every issue of Delayed Gratification has featured the work of an artist we admire on the cover along with an accompanying interview inside the magazine. We were keen to differentiate ourselves from other news magazines which tend to be more photography-led, and we love how putting a work of art on the cover of a current events magazine encourages people to come up with their own interpretations of what it may mean. Over our 27 issues we’ve worked with an incredibly diverse range of artists including Shepherd Fairey, Ai Weiwei and Don Pendleton, and the results have always been incredible. We’re lucky that these talented people are happy to lend their skills to support the magazine. Our latest issue features ‘Terns’ by Rotterdam-based artist Jeroen Allart. We love the graphic nature of his paintings, and the rogue bird in ‘Terns’ facing the other way to the rest spoke to us during a period of political rebels going against the grain for better or for worse in the UK, France and elsewhere. I’m sure that’s not what he had in mind when he was painting it, but that’s the beauty of interpretation…”

Rob Orchard, Editorial Director
From the ashes – the Grenfell Tower disaster
“The idea of Slow Journalism is that we report on a news event three or four months after it takes place. In most cases this enables us to get a more complete picture of the lasting impact of the incident and a better understanding of why it mattered. But when I spoke to five people whose lives had been affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster of 14th June several weeks after the incident, the story was still very much in flux and the wounds were still very raw. I spoke to a former Grenfell resident who spent the night watching his former home burn before becoming a central figure in the community’s efforts to help victims, a spokesperson of Grenfell residents who is temporarily living in a hotel, a representative of a housing group which had been warning about fire safety issues at Grenfell for a long time, a volunteer who put her life on hold to help people, and a man who had lived in the tower for nearly 30 years and narrowly survived the fire. Through these five perspectives we get a sense of how the community has come together at a time of intense anger and sadness. It’s emotionally draining reporting on a story such as this. People are still sad, angry and confused and it will take a long time before we fully understand what went wrong, who was to blame, and how we can ensure this never happens again. It’s a story I’m sure we’ll be returning to.”

Christian Tate, Art Director
The UK general election in infographics
“The question I asked myself when starting work on our election infographic was, “how do we do something fresh?” It had only been two years since the last general election and in between we had the Brexit referendum and the American election. We don’t want to repeat ourselves. The key is to determine which story from the election is the most compelling and then finding a way to tell that particular story through data. On this occasion the story that needed to be told was that Theresa May took a gamble by calling an unnecessary election, lost that gamble, and had to find a way to establish control again. So I focused on her polling numbers during the campaign, how she lost a 20 point lead, and then looked at what came after the surprising result – the deal with the DUP and how the result reshaped the political landscape.”

Matthew Lee, Associate Editor
Moment that mattered: Islamist militants in the Philippines storm Marawi City
“Every issue of Delayed Gratification is split into three sections – one for each month of the quarter we’re covering. Each section contains at least one ‘Moment that mattered’ piece. These are interviews with people who can offer a ‘Slow Journalism’ perspective on the biggest news stories of the quarter – people who can help us understand the longer term impact on the people directly affected by these news stories. The Battle of Marawi, a conflict in the Philippines between government forces and militants allied with Islamic State, is an ideal topic for a ‘Moment that mattered’ – it’s a huge news story that didn’t receive much media coverage in the West when fighting first flared up in May. I found a local journalist, Carmela Fonbuena of Manila-based independent news website Rappler, who was on the ground in Marawi for three weeks at the start of the conflict. I spent an hour talking to her on Skype about her personal experiences of reporting on the conflict. It was so fascinating – she was at the Philippines military HQ when it was attacked by the militants, which sounds like a terrifying experience, and she described how emotional it was when soldiers she’d spent time with at the army base were killed in battle. She also visited some of the shelters established to temporarily house some of the 600,000 internally displaced people and saw whole families living in cramped spaces and surviving on a diet on tinned fish. When the fighting started in late May everybody in the Philippines thought it would be over in days, but the government underestimated the militants and the fighting is still happening.”