Why a democratic open-source news and views site needs reinvention and why we should care

By Peter Kerr 23/02/2015 1


Scoop’s in the middle of an attempt to change its ownership and business structure from individual shareholders to community (to be designed). It has just launched a PledgeMe crowd funding bid.

The metaphor that applies is not unlike the tragedy of the commons. The analogy is that we don’t know what we had until we haven’t got it.

First up, I have a vested interest in Scoop’s survival. This blog is re-blogged from Scoop among others, and I’ve done some work for it over the years.

Second, I am friends with Alastair Thompson its owner. That aside…

Now the ‘old’ models of monetizing news and content on the net no longer work.

Even gatherers, creators and gatekeepers of news, Fairfax and APN, are finding it challenging to make money online.

Scoop’s model has always been where any voice can be heard, a space/place for differing opinions, supported by banner advertising and other means.

That no longer works.

At the same time, like much that exists on the net we’ve got used to the idea of news being free (even if someone/thing has been paying for it).

From NZ Inc’s point of view Scoop is extremely important part of our news and content infrastructure – not only promoting democracy and debate – but curating it all too.

Imagine for a moment, not having its resource, its searchability, its information and knowledge on tap. It is data as democracy, democracy as an accessible right.

But, now Thompson and Scoop are making a leap into the great unknown.

He wants to reinvent Scoop as a sustainable and profitable publicly-owned and directed resource.

What this might be is to be decided.

That’s why stage one of Operation Chrysalis, is asking for $30,000 at least – to allow a three month breathing space, to collectively design that new structure in conjunction with its new stakeholders.

No one has ever tried this before; its pretty ballsy stuff.

From both an individual and collective point of view, not having Scoop would yank out a large part of our modern available knowledge.

Scoop needs to continue – everyone, from politicians to PR companies, news junkies to school projects, special interest groups to bloggers need it to thrive. (Not the least, it is useful and important for my Punchline message making consultancy.)

It will be an interesting metamorphosis.


One Response to “Why a democratic open-source news and views site needs reinvention and why we should care”

  • “Scoop’s model has always been where any voice can be heard, a space/place for differing opinions, supported by banner advertising and other means.”

    Indeed. Which is why fluoride-free groups, for example, use it as a means of disseminating their ‘press releases’ – there’s no-one casting a critical eye over the claims made & doing a spot of investigative journalism.

    “From both an individual and collective point of view, not having Scoop would yank out a large part of our modern available knowledge.”

    I’ve always found Google & Google Scholar to be quite useful – particularly the latter, for the reason given above. As you’ve said, Scoop affords space for opinions; that’s not the same as being a repository of knowledge.

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