What’s the backstory here?
Founder and editor-in-chief Robyn Vinter explains: “I’ve worked in national news for more than six years, writing for publications like the Guardian, the i paper, BuzzFeed, the New Statesman and others.
“When I was living in London and working in a newsroom, it was easy to get caught up in what the latest story was — whether political, economic or something else.
“But when I went back home to Leeds and told my friends about what I’d been working on, they didn’t give a shit. It took me a while to realise that it wasn’t just because they were dicks. It was also because the most important things going on in their lives — arsehole landlords, crippling anxiety or struggling to afford to have a life outside of work, for example — were all things that the mainstream media didn’t report much on, despite the fact that they happen to everyone our age.
“As time went on I started to notice how big the gap sometimes was between what normal twenty and thirtysomethings were passionate about and what appeared in the papers, online or on TV. News editors didn’t seem overly interested in devoting pages to the millennial housing crisis — instead preferring to write articles about some pricks who inherited £20,000 and lived with their parents and claimed they saved up to buy a deposit all by themselves, or articles about how avo toast is the real reason millennials can’t get on the property ladder.
“So eventually I got fed up enough that I quit my job, moved back to Leeds and started The Overtake, with a small team of like-minded journalists, designers, developers and business-type people. Our aim is to do good quality investigative journalism about the things that real people are interested in.
“Things have actually ended up going quite well. The Overtake’s website has really taken off — we’ve done some amazing investigations — and, after just four months of existence, we were shortlisted for a Press Award. We’re still in a precarious financial situation (and none of us are currently paid!) but we’re getting there.”
How are you different?
It’s hard to bang on about it without sounding worthy so we’ll try to keep it short.
We’re based in the north (that’s the north of England, not north London). That doesn’t mean we’re a local publication, though. It’s unusual, yes, but it is actually possible to be a national news site based outside of the capital.
We’re committed to being the opposite of the straight, white, middle-aged, middle-class mainstream media. Our small team are all kinds of gay, brown, young and poor. Which means our outlook is a bit different and the kinds of things we write about are hard to find elsewhere.
Probably, most importantly, we’re proudly anti-hate. Journalists get a bad rep (and not for no reason, some of us are actual scum) but some of us got into journalism for the right (albeit slightly idealistic) reasons — to speak truth to power, to educate and inform, and to represent normal young people. That’s what we’re committed to doing, even if it makes us sound like those preachy people who shut their eyes and waggle their heads when they talk.
Why don’t you publish that many articles?
We’re about quality, not quantity. It takes a long time to research and report most of our stories, because we don’t copy them from other publications.
We’d LOVE to publish more (and soon we will) but our main aim is to give you articles that are worth reading, that you can trust and, if you share, don’t make you look like an idiot when they turn out not to be true.
Where does your money come from?
Advertising on the site is our main revenue stream at the moment. We try to keep advertising to a minimum because we know how much people hate it, but the cold hard capitalist truth is that if it wasn’t for corporate sponsors we wouldn’t exist. When our readers get journalism free, the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere.
Having said that, unlike most publications, we are picky about who we associate with and we won’t take money from anyone. We do turn down advertisers who we think our readers won’t like. So we’re at least trying to make the world a less shit place.
Can I give you money?
Actually, yeah. We’re really fucking skint.
If you have an advertising query, we would be delighted to take your money. The Overtake gets 100k unique readers a month, the majority of which are millennials. We’re doing some super innovative stuff with our ads. Let us tell you more about what we do and the great results we’re getting for other clients — email email@example.com.
If you are a kind benefactor and would like to help us continue to do good work, the email address to find out more is firstname.lastname@example.org. Every penny that comes in is spent on journalism (currently we work for free out of the basement of a bar…). We’ve got some incredible investigations that we’re just itching to do but can’t afford to work on at the moment so we need all the help we can get.
If you’re not good or kind, but you are in the 1%, we’re also open to investment. If you’ve got a brain in your head and a load of cash lying around, contact email@example.com and we’ll send you our deck and maybe we’ll let you become even more filthy rich.
Can I write for you?
If you’re a professional journalist, you absolutely can pitch us features. In the interests of total transparency, we pay £50 an article. We’d like to pay more but we have a tiny budget. Currently, we’re not taking opinion pieces and will only take first-person pieces if they’re particularly unique or compelling.
Can I do work experience with you?
Yes! Our internship programme runs continuously throughout the year but does normally have a waiting list.
We take on interns for a maximum of 15 days. This is usually done one day a week over 15 weeks, or can be taken as a three-week (or less) block, subject to availability. For the love of god, please note that our office is in Leeds, UK (not London!), and we cannot do remote working placements at this time. We’re really keen to invest in our interns — in some ways, it’s like taking part in an intensive journalism course — so please note it does require a level of commitment and enthusiasm.
We also take marketing, design, events and programmer interns.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a couple of paragraphs about why you’re interested in an internship, mentioning any experience. Important: for journalism and design/illustration interns, please also include a couple of links to previous work (we will not look at applications that do not have these). Blog posts and unpublished work are fine.
Please be patient as we get a lot of emails and it might take a few weeks for us to respond.