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The Day’s Advisory Board of teachers and librarians discuss plans with Richard Addis (left) and Tom Rendell (right)
One morning, after editing a famous British newspaper read daily by six million people, I was stopped in the corridor by a senior reporter. “Brilliant!” he said. “I read the paper avidly from cover to cover. But I still have no idea what is going on.”
Millions of people follow the news every day but have no real understanding or insight. This is because in a competitive business, the news that sells most all over the world is shocking, funny, weird, and often intrusive but the providers of this news very rarely pause to explain.
Frustration at this lack of clarity - at the sheer unhelpfulness of the newspaper business in which I have spent 30 years as a senior editor - sparked the idea for The Day, which was launched in January 2011 as a daily online newspaper for teenagers focussing on the big issues that are transforming the world.
In an old warehouse on the banks of the Thames in central London, with a fellow journalist from the Financial Times, we set to work. We had very little idea what would happen, but gradually teenagers, teachers and families have responded with enthusiasm to the idea: that equipped with the right explanations of what is in the news, young people can become confident, engaged citizens of the world.
‘Explaining matters’ is our tagline. It is both what we do and what we believe.
We believe that ‘explaining matters’ for many reasons but two in particular. First, as the world becomes more complex, a basic understanding of current affairs is a vital tool for life. Without it, we can easily become lost, confused, and even deluded, with our prospects hampered.
Second, the most fulfilled and happy lives are spent learning (not just passing exams) and the best school for many of us is the school of life. To continue learning our history, maths, geography, literature and science from the living world around us is a great thing. It helps remind us constantly what is true, what we believe and who we are. And thinking for ourselves, being true to our true selves, is arguably the surest way to build a healthy society today and for our children.
We decided to launch The Day for schools and colleges because while the adult world already has plenty of excellent media, there is less that is aimed at the vital level where young people are just beginning to grapple with the philosophical and moral dilemmas of the wider world.
In our newsroom each morning our writers carefully choose which of the events, discoveries and controversies in the news shine a light on the undercurrents that shape modern life. We try to explain these events clearly and without bias in the best, uncomplicated English prose we can fashion - backed up with illustrations, glossaries, further reading and discussion points. We try to pinpoint the essential debates that our stories raise, to leave the readers well equipped for debate or discussion.
Today we are a small, independent company providing news to several hundreds of schools in many countries -- still in our corporate infancy. I’m sure we will evolve and change. The ultimate vision of The Day is that everyone, not just students, should get into a regular habit of spending a few moments thinking deeply about the news and the fascinating issues raised. We want to be a mental ‘apple a day’ for lively-minded people all over the world, young and old, rich and poor.
Whatever happens, our mission will remain ‘Explaining Matters’. And we hope to provide a daily news service to schools, colleges and families for many years to come.
Meet the rest of our team