How often does a great story dominate the headlines, only to be dropped from the news cycle? How often do journalists tell us of a looming danger or important discovery – only to move quickly to the next new thing? What really happened? How did these events change us? And what are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day?
These are the questions we are answering at Retro Report, an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. Combining documentary techniques with shoe-leather reporting, we peel back the layers of some of the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media.
Retro Report is founded on the conviction that without a smart, engaging and forward-looking review of these high-profile events – and the news coverage surrounding them – we have wasted an opportunity to understand the lessons of history.
The accelerating information age makes reversing this trend only more crucial. With journalistic success increasingly measured in page views, retweets and Facebook likes, there is dwindling interest or ability among news organizations to follow up on the stories they cover.
Complicating matters, the first draft of history can be wrong. When news organizations fail to invest the time and money required to correct the record or provide context around what really happened, myth can replace truth. The results are policy decisions and cultural trends built on error, misunderstanding or flat-out lies.
Retro Report is there to pick up the story after everyone has moved on, connecting the dots from yesterday to today, correcting the record and providing a permanent living library where viewers can gain new insight into the events that shaped their lives.
Retro Report was founded through a private grant from Christopher Buck, who first began drawing up the blueprints for this living news library more than a decade ago. An entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Buck is a reformed news junkie who spent 15 years working as a television editor.
The project was launched by Publisher Taegan Goddard, Managing Editor Kyra Darnton and their team of producers, reporters and editors.
In keeping with our public service goals, Retro Report is organized under the umbrella of Mirror/Mirror Productions, Inc., a New York not-for-profit corporation which was recently determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We plan to seek tax-deductible donations from foundations, institutions and individuals to support our work. All contributions will be listed here. Just as traditional news companies have created a wall between their advertising and their editorial departments to prevent undue influence, we will likewise maintain a wall between our fundraising and our editorial departments. We will not charge for access to the website.
Editorially, we are governed by strict adherence to the highest journalistic standards. To provide another level of accountability, Retro Report is in the process of forming an Advisory Board to help steer its journalistic mission.
We know individuals may interpret historical events and their consequences differently from us. Because of this, we welcome your comments about our pieces and will publish all comments that remain within the generally accepted standards of appropriate and constructive dialogue. In some ways, our ultimate governance will come from you.