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Scoop’s 17th Birthday Party - Event Report

Scoop’s 17th Birthday Party

Report by Scoop Foundation trustee Jan Rivers

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About 130 people came to celebrate Scoop’s 17th birthday and to hear about the Panama Papers from Nicky Hager on Wednesday night in Wellington.

Guests and Scoop supporters also heard presentations from Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism Trustee and long-time Scoop supporter Margaret Thompson, one of Scoop’s Editorial team members Robert Kelly, and Scoop Editor Gordon Campbell.

Margaret focussed mainly on the legendary Chicago Tribune editor Colonel Robert R McCormick whose words on the importance of the fourth estate are chiselled into the walls of the Tribune building. Her speech is here.

New kid on the block Robert Kelly has been at Scoop for 9 months and has carved an important role aligning Scoop to RadioActive radio with a weekly programme interviewing Wellington’s politicians and regularly attending and reporting on the post-Cabinet press conference. His view of the media landscape is upbeat and positive and he described some of the excellent investigative work taking place across the NZ media. He also gave a worm’s eye view of life in the Scoop engine room.

Nicky Hager was in good form with an update on the impact of the Panama papers and described some of the practical challenges of working on a million documents with his Radio NZ and TVNZ colleagues. He said that they had all liked the opportunity to collaborate. Watch out world that they may get the chance again.

Scoop Editor Gordon Campbell had set the scene and described how the full moon publication Werewolf has morphed into a daily mix of articles and opinions. He also of the opportunities that are arising to monetise Scoop’s current and historical content which are helping to provide an avenue out of the broad ranging financial challenges to news worldwide. Gordon said that future fundraising would be more clearly linked to the core role of the Scoop Foundation of funding investigative journalism projects rather than the 2015 fundraising which had had to focus on survival. He also elaborated on Werewolf’s name arguing that the best journalists are often lone wolves in their operation.

As a final note the NZME-Fairfax merger document as submitted to the commerce commission cites Scoop as a significant player in the NZ media scene (together it has to be said with some of the many blogs and small and specialised news services). It also cited 10 stories cited from Scoop’s database to support the case for amalgamation – a larger number than from any other source and even cited a potential news site proposed by Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings as an argument in favour of amalgamation.

Jan Rivers
Trustee
Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism

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