Filling the Fairfax/NZME gap

Talk of a merger between Fairfax and NZME has prompted discussion about opportunities to fill the gap left by an expected further contraction of MSM news and analysis.

The Daily Blog was launched as a left leaning alternative several years ago, and Waatea news (also driven by Martyn Bradbury) is trying to provide a new way towards a so-called 5th estate. While Waatea is useful it is not providing much new nor balanced.

Regan Cunliffe is still hoping to launch Freed. With a close association with Cameron Slater that will be seen as right wing whether it is or not.

Scoop continues to fund raise for it’s crowd funded model.

In a Scoop post Gordon Campbell on the proposed media merger:

To state the bleedingly obvious: the blogosphere does not have the resources to compensate for the reduction in competition (and the loss of journalistic resources) that will be the inevitable outcome of this merger.

Why not? Sure, online startups are lively, thriving and multiplying : there’sScoop, The Spinoff, the Daily Blog, , the Hard News stable, No Right Turn, The Standard, Pundit, the Dim-Post, Eric Crampton’s Offsetting Behaviour,Paul Buchanan’s 36th Parallel….to name just a few. Theoretically, the merger opens up a market opportunity for them. In reality, all of them will be damaged by the merger.

How come? Well for starters – and as this RNZ report explains here – and also here the blogosphere is poorly positioned to pick up the slack. It is run on a shoestring. It has few resources – or no resources at all, in most cases – to do news gathering. Its strength lies in its analysis and commentary; an essential role that the mainstream has carried out timidly, or not at all. In other words, a genuine symbiotic relationship currently exists between the blogosphere and the traditional . We rely on their news gathering and increasingly, they rely on our analysis and commentary. So… if there’s a decline in news gathering capacity, this will damage the ability of the blogosphere to carry out its valuable contribution to the public discourse.

David Farrar responded to that suggesting he was considering expanding Kiwiblog and has followed that up with Can blogs pick up the slack?

…I have been thinking about what I would do if Stuff and NZ Herald combine and go behind a paywall. The initial impact would be a hassle. Rather than quote stories from their sites, and comment on them, I’d might have to use other sites such as Radio NZ or Newshub. But they have far fewer stories.

But the other thing I can do is start reporting the news more directly. 80% of stories seem to originate for PRs. I know this as I now get all the PRs. They tend to go into a folder I check once a day or so (if I have time). It is rare I’ll do a story based on a PR, as easier to quote a media story already summarising it.

But if two million NZers get blocked from most content on the Herald and Stuff sites, they’ll look elsewhere for it. I doubt many will pay for it.

I could hire someone to write a few news stories a day on interesting NZ issues. I already have good sources for overseas news.

I could also hire someone to cover parliamentary news and try and get them accredited to the press gallery.

Hiring people costs money, so the business aspects of that would be a risk.

If DPF has a crack at it I’m sure who would do something worthwhile and aAny addition to news and analysis is a good thing, even if I can hear the spluttering from TS and TDB from down here.

How ever well DPF does it Kiwiblog News will be deemed by some to be a National/right wing/Crosby Textor mouthpiece with a Dirty Politics smear.

What’s missing from these options is a relatively neutral (politically) approach.

I’ve considered what else I could do to expand on what we’ve established here but I’m not in a position to put in much more timer or resources. It’s already equivalent to probably a half time job, albeit unpaid. It will be quite a few years before I can retire and put full time into it.

Trying crowd funding or attracting and managing volunteers also diverts time and attention.

I could only manage it if I could give someone a specific task, like reporting on Parliament, or reporting on political media releases, or reporting on political social media, or aggregating blog posts and Facebook posts, and leaving them too it.

Farrar has already tried some of that and it hasn’t really taken off. There are not many people around with the political interest, time and passion to give it heaps.

Perhaps we just have to accept that media will continue to both consolidate and fragment, and international players like Google and Facebook will increase their growing domination.

Scoop membership drive

The Scoop Foundation is doing a membership drive, possibly timed to try and take advantage of the uncertainty over the future of journalism in New Zealand with the merger talks going on between Fairfax and NZME.

Journalism: A New Model – The 2016 Scoop Foundation Membership Drive

The Scoop Foundation is seeking public support to safeguard the future of public interest journalism in New Zealand.

To ensure public access to comprehensive, free, timely news is maintained during this dark hour for journalism. And to provide every voice in NZ the opportunity to be heard in the national debate.

You can donate at Pledge Me: The Scoop Foundation : the best chance to create an independent guardian for public interest journalism in NZ

In the first half of 2016 news organisations everywhere were forced to take drastic measures to stay alive.

In March The Independent in the United Kingdom ceased publication of its print edition. It was a harbinger of a deepening global news crisis.

This week here in NZ the two largest news organisations have proposed a merger as their Australian owners simultaneously announce their intention to exit the NZ market. Massive journalism job losses now loom over an already battered profession. Even the UK Guardian, one of the world’s largest digital publishers has had to announce layoffs.

With your support over the past 18 months Scoop has against enormous odds managed to create a new kind of news organisation, one based on a new model for funding journalism, not dependent on advertising, which offers the prospect of providing a long term sustainable platform to support the growth of a new generation of independent news publishers.

Everybody is invited to be part of this new future for news.

Thinking about Scoop I use them occasionally when I’m looking for media releases but don’t think of going there for news or for journalism. Ironically I see them as repeaters, not reporters.

Maybe I should check their New Zealand Politics summary page.

 

Scoop with part 2 of Hager raid files

Three weeks ago Scoop published documents related to the police raid on Nicky Hager, looking for evidence related to ther ‘Rawshark’ hack of Cameron Slater’s data.

Inside The Hunt For Rawshark – The Hager Raid Court File

They have just published a second set of documents, partially redacted:

Inside The Hunt For Rawshark – Hager Raid Court File Part 2

Scoop Independent News has secured access to the court file for the Nicky Hager Rawshark Raid Case and today publishes partially redacted versions a second group of documents released by the High Court.

They provide links to affidavits, exhibits and a ‘key police disclosure’.

There doesn’t appear tio be a corresponding article by David Fisher this time so you’ll either have to read through them yourself or wait for some coverage from someone else who has.

Hager raid court documents published by Scoop

Scoop have obtained court files related to the police raid on Nicky Hager and the seeking of an obtaining of banking data in an investigation of Hager over Dirty Politics and the RawShark hacking of Cameron Slater.

Alastair Thompson details how Scoop obtained the court files  against the wishes of the Crown.

Justice Clifford judge’s minute concluded that the files released today should be released, and that unless the Crown provided compelling reasons by 23rd October 2015 as to why they should not be released, that Scoop should be provided with access to the affidavit evidence of the crown.

Scoop wrote today to the High Court to ascertain whether the Crown had filed objections to the release of this evidence. At the time of publication no response had been received.

The files which have been released so far are linked below. They are all in PDF format. Some minor redactions have been made.

Bryce Edwards may have know his affidavit was about to be released and published. Last week I posted Dirty Politics revisited that was about Edwards having just published Affidavit of Bryce Edwards.

Scoop published this at 12.05 am this morning (Saturday 24 October), as early as possible on the first day they were legally allowed to do so.

It’s interesting that there are two affidavits from Herald senior journalist David Fisher, and this morning there is a Fisher written article at The Herald – Police got Hager data without court order – that talks about other court details released. He seems to have had access to these court files prior to their release.

His article is worth a post of it’s own, coming up next. Obtaining Hager’s Westpac data, David Fisher, the Privacy Act

Can Scoop survive with crowdfunding?

Scoop has beein looking at howe to re-invent itself as a news resource site, and in an attempt to re-invent it’s financial support they are seeking crowd-funding. The Standard posted on this (yes, I read about it there and not at Scoop):

The team at Scoop are re-inventing themselves via a public conversation on the state of the media. They now have a crowdfunding page up at Pledgeme:

We plan to transform into a not-for-profit media organisation held for the benefit of all NZers, accountable to the community of news communicators and consumers it serves

Scoop is seeking one-off funding of $30,000 to enable this transformation

If you value independent news and investigative journalism please go and give them a hand at Pledgeme

I think Scoop is a very useful research resource but I don’t think it’s seen much as a go-to site for keeping up with things as they happen. I sometimes got to Scoop to try and find things I can’t find elsewhere but don’t see it featuring in the social media daily news buzz.

There’s a link to a promotional interview:

Transcript:

Jesson Wood from Scoop News here outside Parliament with Scoop editor Alistair Thompson. Al, Scoop is launching a crowdfunding campaign, what’s that all about?

Thompson: Scoop is undergoing a transformation, from a private business into a not-for-profit media organisation held for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

Wood: How will a not-for-profit media organisation benefit New Zealanders?

Thompson: As the largest online news publisher Scoop is a key part of democracy. We’ve been publishing the public statements of anyone and everyone for almost twenty years, making the political process accessible to everybody.

Wood: It seems like Scoop has a strong foundation, so why go out to your crowd?

Thompson: The news business in New Zealand is in a bad way. Online revenues are falling, budgets are being slashed and standards are slipping. The public is justifiably concerned about the situation, especially in the wake of the Dirty Politics revelations.

So Scoop is building a new kind of news organisation for the twenty first century. We need to change the way we do news, building a news business that’s owned by the public, for the public that will ensure accountability and a better understanding of the implications of media ownership.

Wood: So what does this all mean for Scoop and it’s readers?

Thompson: Scoop is planning on moving forward to a more sustainable business model. This means working with new partners to make our public offereing even better, and build a better news products for our paying clients.

To kick this all off we need thirty thousand dollars. This money will be used to prepare a new legal framework, bring fresh people into the team, and support a re-focus, and support a re-focus in Scoop’s business.

If we exceed our target then extra funds will be used to optimise the site for mobile devices, something we know our readers want.

Through this crowd funding project Scoop is seeking to give online news in New Zealand a significant head start. If the next fifteen years is anything like the last fifteen years then independent ethical on-line news is something that New Zealand is going to continue to need.

Unfortunately that sounded like a party political broadcast for a minor party. It only preaches to the loyal. Alastair is more journalist than marketer.

The appeal for crowd funding is an interesting exercise but the crowd who are inspired to contribute might be sparse.

There is a definite need for independent news coverage, and especially in depth investigation and analysis. I hope Scoop can discover a recipe for survival.

I think that a one-stop-shop approach is one of their problems. Scoop is more like a library than a news broadcast.

Perhaps they should consider separating the news database and have several focussed front end sites targeting different more popular online markets. They may have already considered this.

I’d like to see Scoop survice but it’s not going to be easy.

Ok, after this I thought I had better go to Scoop and see how they are promoting this.

Scoop Is Crowd Funding – Help Scoop To Fly In 2015

There’s some heavy duty reading on that page. I might have more of a look sometime but right now I have to go and check out what’s happening in the news.

Bradbury versus Scoop and The Standard

Martyn Bradbury claims at The Daily Blog:

With Scoop about to collapse next month,  The Standard, Public Address and Pundit are about to lose their largest revenue streams.

Alistair Thompson from Scoop:

No Scoop is not about to collapse. I have no idea what Martyn Bradbury is going on about. Looks like his messiah complex is getting worse.

Bradbury has not had a good record with his predictions lately.

And Lyn Prentice blasts him at The Standard in Poor (and rather pathetic) Bomber:

Oh dear, Bomber really has no idea how our site operates. Or how any of these sites operate. We haven’t really depended on advertising for most of the last year. I’d guess that nor has either of the other sites.

That Scoop has financial problems has been obvious for some time. Bomber gloating about it is a tad.. disgusting….

Yes, a tad disgusting if there’s no basis to his claim but not out of character. Malicious left versus left gossip is lose/lose.

Scoop about to collapse?

Martyn Bradbury sees Scoop as representing left wing media but claims they are about to collapse

Those voices representing the Left have been slowly killed off. The Herald was supposed to replace Matt McCarten as a columnist, they instead ended up simply appointing Rodney Hide to spout his right wing nonsense. When  a Left voice is included, it tends to be the same old tired right wing Labour voices they roll out.

With Scoop about to collapse next month,  The Standard, Public Address and Pundit are about to lose their largest revenue streams.

It would be a shame to see Scoop collapse. Is this just Bradbury hot air or is it accurate?

With the imminent launch of Slater’s new media weapon the Left are in total retreat along all fronts. The Standard is currently searching for a new direction as that voice of the Left, but their pathetic and limp criticism of Labour selling out on 24 hour surveillance shows that the leash around their neck from head office has tightened.

Bradbury and Prentice have fallen out and now diss each other (Prentice was a founding author at The Daily Blog).

The importance of a new media to counter this Right wing onslaught is more necessary than ever before.

It remains to be seen whether Freed will be a “Right wing onslaught”, with Slater heavily involved it’s hard to see them getting mainstream credibility, especially seeing how Whale Oil has been positioning itself as a carefully controlled mouthpiece with most content being Truth style magazine slush.

In terms of The Daily Blog, we are in talks over the summer to look at where we can build. Hope to have some news in the new year.

The Daily Blog was launched as a great left wing media machine. Like Whale Oil now Bradbury also ruthlessly controlled comment content and is also over the top and self aggrandising. After the election Bradbury was shell shocked due to his brash predictions proving to be crap, and his blog diminished even more.

If Scoop collapses left leaning online content will look mean and lean.

UPDATE: Once again The Standard seems to be down this morning, it’s becoming a common occurrence.  Not a good sign for a blog that is looking to expand and build it’s presence.

Internet Party bombshells

Major revelations today as Kim Dotcom’s scheduled party launch has been out-gazzumped.

Dotcom’s drip-feeding details of his  party launch turned into a flood of applicants yesterday for his Party party launch on 20 January. Today he announced he was calling it the Internet Party.

But his thunder has been stolen by a lightning bolt from Whale Oil – revelations about the party strategy – [EXCLUSIVE] The Internet Party strategy revealed.

Key bombshells:

  • Martyn Bradbury on payroll for $8000 per month plus $5000 advance payment for technology upgrades
  • Martyn Bradbury to stand in Auckland Central

Bradbury has already admitted being paid by the Mana Party as a consultant. He posted a curious precursor at The Daily Blog yesterday – Why National have most to fear from Kim Dotcom’s new Internet Party – that now fits into the storyline.

@MattNippert

Trying to target only National voting Gen X prof males reeks of trying to keep Mana paymasters on side.

Bradbury is hoping for three MPs for the Internet Party and three for Mana. Is he whoring for any other parties?

  • Scoop Media’s General Manager Alistair Thompson is to be the Party Secretary and has already registered the domain names under the Scoop Media banner. Scoop Media is also the name server registrant for the domain name and also that of internetparty.co.nz

If that’s accurate that’s a major blow to the supposed independence of Scoop.

We are the leading independent news publication in New Zealand and value our independence strongly.

Not any more by the look of things.

It looks like Dotcom is trying to buy himself out of legal trouble by financing a political “kingmaker”. I wonder if he could have been more careful about what advice and candidates he seems to have bought.

Dunne being vindicated after Henry travesty

A comprehensive article that helps understand the situation and implications of the David Henry inquiry and the using of phone and email data – from Scoop editor Alastair Thompson:

The Privileges Of Parliament & Peter Dunne

It is hard not to conclude – in the wake of more than a year of half answers, miss-truths and outright lies around key aspects of the GCSB debacle – that we are now dealing with a rogue Government.

Now the latest monumental balls-up/gross abuse of power (you pick your description) has dragged the Speaker into the net and that has really opened pandora’s box.

On Dunne:

On the face of it Peter Dunne faced a trial by meta-data.

And he was convicted on that meta-data alone when he refused to give up what remained of his rights to privacy.

This of course puts the GCSB Bill which seeks to legalise the wholesale gathering, warehousing and mining of meta-data (which is not defined in the Bill) by the Government without warrant.

What happened to both Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance is deeply disturbing in a way that is not that easy to convey to the public.

And his summary:

Now the “Powerful” Parliament Privileges Committee will consider all of this and my guess is that it will come down very strongly on the side of Parliament.

This will hopefully restore the balance.

But the amount of damage that has been done here should not be underestimated and it will not go away quickly. The Press Gallery will remember this.

Coming on top of the months of obfuscation and outright lying and evasiveness over every aspect of this story from the Kim Dotcom raids and who knew about them when, to the illegal GCSB spying, to the appointment of a child-hood friend of the PM’s as GCSB Director and now the Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne affair – we will remember.

The damage will continue until this is dealt with properly, until the whole truth comes out, and until proper controls and protocols are put in place.

On the other hand Peter Dunne is gradually being vindicated after a travesty of justice and an attempted political hit job that is backfiring.