Freed trying again

It looks like attempts are being made to get Freed, a news/media alternative, off the ground again.

Slater pal Regan Cunliffe is back looking investors in Freed and railing against journalists.

It was over two years ago that Cameron Slater announced that Freed would be up and running by the last election – CAMERON SLATER’S NEXT MEDIA VENTURE.

We’ve been signalling that there is something in the wind that would see Whaleoil expand and grow without being specific about it.

At this stage we are not going to expand on any of the detail, suffice to say that instead of replacing Whaleoil, this new venture will implement similar strategies and draw on the same talents that is driving the unprecedented growth behind this site.  It will complement and run alongside Whaleoil, but is a completely separate venture focussed purely on “the news”.

It is time for a “New media” news service and a bit of a shake-up of the old media club.

It is not going to be right or left, but it is going to be a properly resourced new media venture with all the news, all the time.

 The post quotes from an NBR article:

[Cameron Slater] will start a news website before this year’s general election.

NBR ONLINE understands Instra managing founder Tony Lentino is funding
the news website which Cameron Slater says will have 10 staff.

There were job interviews in late 2014 but then things stalled.

In April this year on Whale Oil: IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING TODAY…

For more than a decade I have been building online communities. I began by creating one of the first Olympic Games blogs with an average of 250,000 visitors each day. In recent years, I’ve worked on award winning TV-centric sites.

The one project I have constantly wanted to tackle is news. I’ve watched as media companies struggled to come to terms with the arrival and dominance of digital media. I’ve laughed and shaken my head in disbelief at what their reactions were. I’ve watched copious amounts of money be thrown at poorly executed attempts at second-rate delivery platforms. My frustration at what a real difference those resources in the right hands could make was palpable.

Knowing what to do and being able to do it are quite different things. In order to challenge the mainstream media, any new player needs a certain level of resources. Finding someone who recognised the opportunity in the media market and was willing to back it financially was the first goal.

In early 2014, Freed was incredibly close to launching at the end of that year. We’d had a great development run and a very successful round of interviews with potential job candidates and were weeks away from going live when it all changed. Tony became unwell and was diagnosed with cancer. This is public knowledge due to a Fairfax article.

Freed is an important project because we desperately need to change how journalism is done. I believe Freed has the answer. Careful preparation has been made and we’re ready to launch. Freed will monetise news without the need for advertising or paid subscriptions to access it. What we need now are a few more people who are prepared to put $50k+ on the table.

As established media organisations continue to diminish and devalue their newsrooms by eliminating the single biggest asset they have, their staff, I am of the belief that it is those who are investing in news who will not only survive, but become the new leaders in journalism. The incumbents are wandering around aimlessly like zombies as the world crumbles around them. We are young, excited, and full of vision for the future.

If you’re ready to help launch the next big thing in New Zealand, I’d love to hear from you and have you join us for the next leg of this incredible journey.

Regan Cunliffe
CEO Freed Media Group

 Yesterday SB posted at Whale Oil: DO YOU WANT BETTER NEWS COVERAGE IN NEW ZEALAND?

I follow Freed Media and received the following e-mail yesterday. Freed wants to give readers the news they want, when they want it. You can help them with their planning and staff allocation by answering the questions and telling them what news coverage you want.

That’s an odd comment. SB implies she was advised by email but then appears to reveal details about Freed’s progress that are not mentioned in the email, which says:

Do you want better news coverage in New Zealand?

Hello friends!

In preparation for the launch of Freed, we’ve published a survey online to help us better understand how you currently consume news and how you’d like to.

You can find the survey here:http://freed.nz/survey.html

Please share this with anyone you think is dissatisfied with the current state of media in New Zealand.

The survey page at Freed:

FreedSurveyPage

Oddly the main page at freed.nz remains unchanged with a ‘subscribe’ option and no sign of the survey or any other information.

The SB post also appeared to repost Regan Cunliffe’s letter posted in April but it is an updated version with a number of changes, including:

The media landscape has continued to decay with their shameless pursuit of clickbait, and idle and malicious gossip.  Much of what passes as headlines and “breaking news” now is paid-for content that protects brands from ever having a bad thing written about them because they’re funding the survival of these clickbait engines.

Freed is an important project because we desperately need to change how journalism is done. I believe Freed has the answer.  Careful preparation has been made, new investors have been found and we’re gearing up for launch.  It’s not too late to be a part of history so please contact me if you’d like to learn more about how you can invest in the future of not only Journalism, but New Zealand.

Freed will monetise news without the need for advertising or paid subscriptions to access it.

So now “new investors have been found and we’re gearing up for launch” but also “It’s not too late to be a part of history so please contact me if you’d like to learn more about how you can invest…”

It closes the same as the earlier letter:

If you’re ready to help launch the next big thing in New Zealand, I’d love to hear from you and have you join us for the next leg of this incredible journey.

Regan Cunliffe
CEO Freed Media Group

The Freed Facebook page now links the the survey, which apart from a message about Lentino’s death is the first activity for about a year there. @FreedNZ has also become active again, promoting the survey.

But on the Whale Oil thread it was pointed out there were problems with the survey, and this was confirmed on Twitter:

It appears there was a DNS issue affecting some people trying to complete our survey today.

Supposedly being about to launch a survey seeing what people want is a curious approach.

While a lot of the public promotion appears to still be via Whale Oil it is interesting to see that, after being announced as “Cameron Slater’s next media venture”, Slater is now sort of out of the picture with Cunliffe appearing to be in charge and fronting things – although Slater does appear in comments.

Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Joe Bloggs

     /  10th August 2016

    their shameless pursuit of clickbait, and idle and malicious gossip. Much of what passes as headlines and “breaking news” now is paid-for content

    Meh, that describes WO content as much as it does any other ‘journalistic’ endeavour. If Slater is involved and thinks that the WO model is what journalism needs to change to, then he’s dreaming.

    Reply
  2. Conspiratoor

     /  10th August 2016

    All good fun pg, but the core message remains the same. Return to journalism. Mock political correctness in all it’s many guises. Reflect the inherent conservatism of the majority of people.

    And in pursuit of that goal I wish them all the best

    Reply

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