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It’s Crunch Time for Scoop.co.nz – an Open Letter to Scoop supporters and readers

To: All Readers and Supporters of Scoop
From: Alastair Thompson, co-founder, former editor and director of Scoop Independent News

Dear Readers and Supporters,

Scoop‘s services are not currently sustainable, and unless they become so in a relatively short space of time, we will be unable to continue to provide them.

Scoop provides two quality professional services for free to thousands of NZ businesses and organisations:

  1. Reliable easily accessible access to professionally curated news intelligence information in real time;
  2. Free open access to publish press releases in a high profile manner.

It is now Crunch Time for Scoop.co.nz. With less than two weeks to go Scoop needs $24,000 in sales and donations to reach its PledgeMe Crowd-funding and Crowd-Selling target. For Scoop’s professional users it is also Crunch Time, and time to make a decision.

Click to support the Scoop 3.0 crowd selling and crowd funding campaign now!

See links in the header of this page to share this plea with a simple click.

For those of you who do not know who I am, a brief introduction.

I am the co-founder of NewsRoom.co.nz and Scoop.co.nz. From 1999-2015 I was the editor and general manager of Scoop, and I am now working overseas and continuing to support the Scoop crew in their battle to achieve sustainability and continue to provide the Scoop publishing service.

This open letter is directed at three groups of people (and if you know other people who are members of one or more of these groups please draw it to their attention: Tweet it, Link in on Linked in, or post it to Facebook or Instagram.

The three groups of people we want to reach are:

  1. Our Readers: NZ readers of Scoop, around 300,000 each month;
  2. Our Supporters: The people who have supported Scoop over the past two decades and especially over the past three years during Operation Chrysalis – at least 1000 financial supporters plus many more people who have supported us in other ways including the crew at the Enspiral Network, our former colleagues in the Scoop Media Cartel and our professional services suppliers many of whom have over the past few years been very understanding and supportive;
  3. Our Professional Users: Perhaps most importantly it is addressed at those people who use Scoop in their professional lives, that is:

All NZ MPs and politicians (central and local government), public service chiefs, public service communicators, business leaders, board directors, senior staff within NGOs and civil society, arts administrators, foreign diplomats and missions, librarians, business intelligence companies, lawyers, accountants, reporters, editors, news producers, documentary makers, and perhaps – most obviously – all communications professionals, PR company principles, and writers.

The reason Professional Users of Scoop are being singled out for special attention in this letter is that it is Crunch Time for you as well as for Scoop. If you read on you will see what I mean – you are both the reason that Scoop exists – it is your use of the Scoop service that makes Scoop.co.nz worth supporting – and it is you who will miss out if Scoop comes to an untimely demise.

Obtaining the information that Scoop provides you now for free will cost money. And you will use your largest and most effective open access communication platform to the public, media, and decision makers.

The Scoop 3.0 PledgeMe is all about you. Its primary goal is to get you to stop freeriding, as my colleague – Scoop Co-Editor Joseph Cederwall – explained last week, and to sell a further 95 Scoop Licenses by Christmas – or at least in the early part of next year.

This will be sufficient to safely secure Scoop’s existence into the future – and to enable us to reinvest in the project, bring in new people, and potentially turn it back into a technology start-up which can help journalists in other parts of NZ and other parts of the world establish a sustainable business to practice journalism.

Our subscription services of Business Intelligence from other providers costs over $1000 per year at a minimum. Providers of Press Release Distribution Services with far lesser reach than Scoop charge around $200 per press release to simply to send your release out to an email list. Larger publications charge substantially more for “premium editorial placements”, which Scoop provides for most organisations for free.

It is time to ask yourself, if Scoop.co.nz were to close this summer would it be in convenient to your organisation? Would it cost you more money and time to have to find your own news intelligence or to pay to distribute your press releases?

And if the answer to either of these questions is yes then please act quickly and support our Crowd Sale and Crowd Funding campaign today. If the decision is not yours to make raise this with the people in your organisation who do have that responsibility.

I am not saying that we will definitely close if we do not reach our PledgeMe target, but staying open will not be easy if this crowd sale fails, in large part because of significant client cancellations in the Second Half of 2018.

In addition, the significant employee subsidy which supports the continued existence of this service – which is provided by a charitably owned company – is not sustainable.

If your inclination as a communications manager or CEO of an organisation which utilises Scoop.co.nz is to ignore this message, and to use and allow your staff to continue to freeride as a professional users of Scoop, then it is time to consider the morality of your conduct.

Scoop’s terms of use are clearly advertised and have been clearly notified to all our professional users now on multiple occasion via email and via the website.

If you continue to use Scoop, ignoring our conditions of use, you are not just freeriding on the 100s of organisations who are now paying to provide our service – but you are also denying the staff who work at Scoop – a Charitably owned organisation – both security and a living wage.

Finally, today and tomorrow I will be explaining in greater detail the background to Scoop’s precarious financial situation. Its causes and what we have done to address it and the challenges we have faced, which are numerous. And in that respect Scoop is far from alone – if you haven’t noticed yet the entire NZ news industry is in a state of financial crisis. From what I can see – and those of you who know me will know that I watch these things closely – there are no profitable growing news businesses in NZa fact that even the industry is even publicly acknowledging now – perhaps prompted by Scoop’s attempts to raise the subject in a high profile manner

I apologise for speaking so plainly about this.  But this really is the moment for people who care about the provision of public interest news publishing to stand up for what they say they are committed to.

Yours Sincerely
Alastair Thompson, Scoop Co-Founder
Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Click to support the Scoop 3.0 crowd selling and crowd funding campaign now!

See links in the header of this page to share this plea with a simple click on social media.