Exeter Observer delivers independent, engaged, transparent, ethical and accountable public interest community journalism for all who live or work in or around Exeter.
Exeter Observer is editorially and financially independent:
- no media barons or shady investors
- no advertorial, rehashed press releases or clickbait churnalism
- no party political allegiances or party political broadcasts
- no invasions of privacy or profit-driven commercial agenda
- no relentlessly uncritical cheerleading.
Exeter Observer is rooted in community interest:
- all that is important (and nothing that is not) for people who live or work in Exeter
- what’s being done in their name, by whom, with their public assets and money
- free journalism training courses to enable community contributors
- stories that amplify local voices, support democratic dialogue and inspire action for change.
Exeter Observer delivers content with real relevance:
- challenging established narratives by presenting and evidencing progressive ideas
- offering wider context for stakeholders to explore common interest issues from multiple perspectives.
Exeter Observer informs and empowers its readers:
- identifying policy- and decision-making bodies and explaining their roles
- clarifying spatial contexts and the democratic representation that goes with them
- providing a repository of research resources including key policy documents
- publishing guides to key people and organisations.
Exeter Observer observes industry best-practice principles:
- stories are fair, balanced and non-exploitative
- case studies are responsibly sourced
- right to reply is respected
- information is verified
- sources are protected
- mistakes are publicly acknowledged and corrected.
Exeter Observer is fully regulated:
- as a Community Benefit Society we must pass a community benefit test and submit an annual report to the Financial Conduct Authority
- as an IMPRESS member we adhere to a Standards Code and have a robust complaints procedure with access to an independent arbitration service
- as an ICNN member we maintain our editorial independence and high professional standards via adherence to the NUJ Code of Conduct.
- as a member of the BBC Local News Partnerships we meet strict eligibility criteria and maintain standards including adherence to the Editors’ Code of Practice.
Exeter Observer aims to strengthen civil society and help people participate more effectively in local democracy by:
- increasing public understanding of complex systems and policy- and decision-making processes
- making pertinent information more widely accessible
- stimulating more inclusive and better-informed deliberation and debate.
Exeter Observer is enabled by people who share our mission:
- owned and managed, researched and written, designed and laid out, promoted and distributed by people like you who live or work in or around Exeter.
One disruptive startup Exeter can’t do without
Exeter is positioning itself as a global leader in sustainable living, but many obstacles to becoming a world-class environmental exemplar remain. If reality is to match rhetoric, significant local challenges must be met.
Attempts to deal with such problems are hampered by the way public policy is determined and delivered. Meanwhile other powerful yet unaccountable organisations and actors also significantly influence decision-making which affects us all.
Good quality local news coverage can help address these issues by providing accurate, relevant, timely information about who is deciding what on whose behalf and how the bill for these decisions will be paid.
However, the capacity of the press to perform these essential public interest tasks has been eroded and the editorial independence of existing local media is at risk.
Exeter Observer is part of an agile, innovative local news sector that has emerged in response to these systemic challenges to deliver independent community journalism with public interest at its heart.
Help deliver the independent public interest community journalism Exeter needs
Exeter Observer is looking for occasional and regular contributors to help create and deliver our content.
We are also seeking compelling stories about issues affecting the public interest in Exeter and beyond.
Our capacity to scrutinise, investigate and report depends on your support.
Public interest journalism relies on having sufficient resources to effectively interrogate information, arguments and the people who put them forward.
Every contribution, large or small, sustains our research and writing about the issues that matter in and around Exeter.
Your support also helps ensure our editorial and operational independence so our journalism stays free for everyone’s benefit.
Analysis ⁄ Democracy & governance
Council's executive now possesses majority on city planning committee, with council leader and planning portfolio holder also included despite national guidance, offering basis to challenge decisions and increasing democratic deficit.
News ⁄ Transport & mobility
Devon County Council cites "pushback" from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after "snap poll".
Analysis ⁄ Climate & environment
Exeter City Futures' carbon reduction plan ignores over a million tonnes of carbon emissions and massively underestimates the challenges facing the city. First in a series examining its flaws by Fridays For Future youth climate activists.
Analysis ⁄ Democracy & governance
Exeter City Council has convened an unelected board that meets in private, does not publish its discussions or decisions and is taking responsibility for major policies which will determine Exeter's future.
Analysis ⁄ Community & society
Exeter City Council has yet to confirm whether it will use any of the £2.15m Rough Sleeping Initiative funding it has received since 2018 to keep housing rough sleepers when government emergency accommodation funding runs out.