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Speaker: Creating a "New Scoop": Our solution to a common problem

13 Responses

  • Paul Campbell,

    "Truth" ... of that truth .... you had me worried there for a minute, thought you'd taken one of Slater's hand-me-downs

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • kevinM,

    There's a wonderful discussion on this problem here: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 6 posts Report

  • izogi,

    In contrast, when you read something in a news article written by a journalist there’s a transformation process involved. Facts and assertions are interpreted, supplemented, checked, and sometimes critiqued. This is also useful, but in a different way.

    I hope Scoop’s new model succeeds because it seems useful and I appreciate it, but from my layperson’s perspective I think this (quoted) is the most important problem where modern journalism is concerned: I want good analysis because I simply don’t have the time, resources or expertise to always do it myself, but there’s very little of it.

    Often the difference between a press release on Scoop and an article on Stuff will be that Stuff’s inserted their own journo’s name at the top, removed the source attribution, re-ordered the words in the final paragraph, and hit the Publish button. Where good analysis exists in NZ’s media landscape, it’s often ignored or ridiculed and devalued by people who instead easily seek out interpretations which reinforce their own predetermined views or agendas, instead of challenging them. Especially when powerful people are involved, this simply makes it harder for the media organisations and individuals with an intent of robust and reliable analysis to continue to survive against those which have an agenda, or which simply want to attract funding.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

  • Alastair Thompson,

    To provide quality timely analysis news organisations need to be staffed by experienced knowledgeable journalists who have the background and knowledge to provide context to the latest development.

    In journalism - like any profession - it takes time to learn the skills. I think it probably took me four or five years to feel on top of the craft. But deep subject knowledge takes a lot longer than that to acquire.

    One of the great tragedies that is occurring in journalism globally at present is that the experienced subject specialists are the ones who are losing their jobs. This is happening partly because the pay and conditions they are on tend to be much better than those of new entrants to the profession, and also because companies want to remove pension and redundancy liabilities from their balance sheets.

    This process of sweeping out experience is why we have publications which are full of breaking news coverage and human interest news. Many of these stories are very well executed - however they are no substitute for what we previously had access to. Smart, free, inquisitive minds telling the truth as best they can.

    The hollowing out of experience is rationalised by news organisations who claim that a new digital first news world needs multimedia trained digital news ninjas who can produce news which is online, on air, everywhere all the time. And it is true that if news is valued on the basis of its ability to attract eyeballs then cat gifs will always beat a considered sober analytical discussion of the state of the health system and how we got here in a ratings war.

    However cat gifs are not the sort of news reporting which society needs to enable us to understand, critique and hold our political leaders and their officials to account.

    For me the best feature of the "Ethical Paywall" innovation is that in theory it looks as if it might be able to help reverse the cycle of experience destruction.

    If other news organisations follow in Scoop's footsteps with this then they will need to provide the kind of news which businesses and government agencies need to do their work. I.E. the kind of news which we used to have before things started to turn so badly wrong.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report

  • izogi, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    If other news organisations follow in Scoop's footsteps with this then they will need to provide the kind of news which businesses and government agencies need to do their work. I.E. the kind of news which we used to have before things started to turn so badly wrong.

    Thanks. Do you think there would be enough businesses and government agencies which are small and needy enough that they'd want to outsource their independent journalistic analysis in this way, and subsidise the same independent analsis going to the populace?

    I'm guessing the larger ones could simply employ their own in-house staff to analyse and learn whatever they might want to know, just as it's now common to employ large communications teams to stand in front of real staff who might say an "undesirable" thing, or anything at all. And if there aren't enough potential customers, then it might make some sense for those same businesses and government agencies with the resources to instead throw money at (or offer to subscribe to in large amounts) whichever media agencies do the most to further their own causes or agendas.

    I hope this model works well for Scoop, in any case.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Izogi,

    They are not being asked to buy our analysis so much as pay a licence fee to read us for work purposes. In the case of other news organistations ultimately organisations need to consider whether they want their staff to have access to reading news (and perhaps in time also to watching news video or listening to news podcasts). If not then they would probably need to inform staff that they are not supposed to read news for work purposes or act on information obtained through reading the news media. At which point you can see that refusing to comply sort of results in a form of absurdity which most institutions of any scale couldn't justify.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report

  • Mark Graham,

    Being a publisher is a bugger. FB and Google are parasitical in their approach - they rely on publishers (Google more than FB but that's changing) to supply content but siphon off badly needed revenue. That model ultimately ends up with the parasite killing its 'host'.

    I wonder what the digi-generation will read and PR agencies will use to try to promote their clients once publishers have disappeared.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report

  • Kevin McCready,

    AT, I want to say this kindly and to thank you for your efforts in NZ Media, but think you need to step away. Whoever takes over from you would do well to have a very close look at crikey.com.au including their twitter account @crikey_news . All I can say is that scoop is all over the place and needs sharper focus.

    Some of the things which spring to mind are my reasons for unfollowing your twitter account which included too much publishing of other people's press releases and, if I recall correctly, I had no idea who they were from unless I clicked on the tweet. You also tended to tweet random stuff not tightly linked to your website. And speaking of websites - compare yours (2nd or third rate) compared to crikey.com.au

    Gordon Campbell is very good value but you need to use him the way crikey uses Guy Rundle. Also Gordon rarely or never responds on his article page to comments - or maybe he doesn't see them.

    These days news goes with comment and you need to spend the effort moderating the comments, keeping them open for a set and brief period of time, insisting as far as possible on use of real names and having a strict bunch of rules (a la The Standard) might help.

    And if RB still has shares in your company perhaps that should have been declared here.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Kevin,

    RB has no shares in Scoop any longer.

    He once did have some, but in December the company was taken by its major creditor, my mother. In September she will be settling it in a trust and it will effectively at that point be owned by everybody.

    I am stepping away. That is something I have made clear on numerous occasions albeit not in this piece however so no criticism should be taken from this observation.

    Scoop has suffered like all media from inadequate resourcing.You are correct that it would be nice if it had greater focus. I am confident an outstanding journalistic team will take over from me and I look forward to what they do with it.

    Thankyou for your feedback :)


    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report

  • Kevin McCready,

    Thanks AT.

    So I go to Gordon Campbell's latest article (re Donald Trump).

    1. The webpage doesn't remember who I am.
    2. There is no button to logon.
    3. I laboriously enter my details, again.
    4. The little boxes for details are too small to see the details I enter.
    5. I type in my comment and bingo
    6. Webpage hangs up, again and as it's done before when I've bovvered the last few months.

    This is very basic stuff. But it's reassuring to note that "Gordon Campbell is a SCOOP MEDIA project, powered by WordPress."

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report

  • Kevin McCready,

    "The tendency has always been strong to believe that whatever received a name must be an entity or thing" John Stuart Mill 1829

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report

  • Alfie,

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Alfie,

    Michele Hewitson interviews Alastair Thompson in the Herald.

    I worry about Alastair, why Hewitson? I have always thought of her style of writing as akin to someone writing a parish pamphlet, with emphasis on how well she understands the Vicar, a Hyacinth Bouquet if you will.
    I wonder if John Key has ever thought of her to write his memoirs.
    On a more interesting note I have just discovered some red fibres in my pocket fluff, I wonder where they came from?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

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