Bullseye! Scoop Hits Its $50k PledgeMe Fundraising Target
Please pledge now towards Scoop's first stretch goal of $60,000. The first $10,000 above our target will be directed towards an investigative public interest journalism grant.
Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism
For Immediate Release
16 November 201
Bullseye! Scoop Hits Its $50k PledgeMe Fundraising Target
Over the past year, Scoop has embarked on an epic voyage to secure itself a sustainable future, connect with its crowd and become New Zealand's first philanthropic investigative news funder. With its target met, Scoop's Trustees have decided the next $10,000 in funds raised will be applied to the Foundation's first investigative journalism grant.
The Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism now has a fighting chance of completing its establishment after hitting its $50,000 crowd-funding target in a PledgeMe campaign supported by hundreds of Kiwis who are deeply concerned about the state of NZ's news media.
The crowd-funding campaign has grown Scoop's grass root's supporter base to the "1000 Kiwis who care about the Future of News Media" which it used as its campaign hook.
Scoop Foundation Trustee, out-going Scoop.co.nz founder and long time Scoop editor Alastair Thompson says the Scoop Foundation is very keen now to leverage its crowd of "1000 Kiwis who care" to reach out to the institutions and professional organisations whose support it needs to become sustainable in the long term.
"The power of our crowd which we’ve discovered is far and away the most exciting aspect of the new era of Scoop," Thompson says. "A direct connection to our readers and contributors has brought us new energy and a sense of belonging and collegiality which was absent as a traditional media business largely supported by advertising. Rather than trying to sell access to our readership, Scoop is now actively supported by them."
While success in our PledgeMe fundraiser is not a silver bullet for Scoop's efforts to keep its open source news publishing operation alive, our planning can now begin for the next phase of our transformation.
In September the Scoop Foundation became the owner of Scoop.co.nz, the much read (500,000 users a month) home of NZ's national debate. Scoop reaches a very influential audience of news makers and is best known for publishing verbatim the feed of press releases which forms the undergrowth in the news eco-system.
"Starting Wednesday we intend to seek our crowd's assistance in a public campaign to seek ask the professional users of Scoop to contribute towards Scoop's costs. We now need to activate the support of organisations who use Scoop not simply to inform them about what is going on, but who generate real business and organisational benefits from the timely and actionable news service that Scoop provides," says Thompson.
"There is a brief window before the summer break begins and we plan to hit the ground running after this PledgeMe campaign finishes tomorrow night," says Scoop Business Development Manager Steven Wood.
Scoop's first two PledgeMe campaigns in March and June 2015 raised a little over $46k. The first facilitated the gift of Scoop to a charitable entity and paid for work to establish the Scoop Foundation Trust as well as to develop the "Ethical Paywall" product. The second "Crowd-Selling" campaign in June launched the idea of Scoop Membership.
Why Scoop Decided to Embrace A Crowd Connected Future For News
At noon Graeme Colman's pledge, the 665th in this campaign, brought the total pledged to $50,365, 35 hours before the campaign closes. The pledges in this and previous campaigns, have come almost entirely from grass-roots supporters, Scoop's readers, friends and allies.
Scoop's transformation into a charitable trust was driven by digital disruption in the advertising markets which reached a zenith last year. Following the election,our advertising orders dried up completely. Scoop identified the source of our disruption as the computerised "robotic" digital advertising markets which had effectively severed the relationship between quality news and the marketing industry.
NZ's mainstream publishers have also been hit hard. 2015 has seen multiple cut-backs, redundancies and closures as NZ’s leading online news providers (TVNZ, Mediaworks, Fairfax and NZME) responded by seeking to maximise their audiences for the sorts of content that digital marketers were still buying, short viral videos and social media gossip and breaking news driven by provocative and sometimes deceptive click-bait headlines.
With a much smaller audience - albeit still significantly larger than most NZ niche news print publications - Scoop chose instead to pivot away from advertising altogether and launched a transformation project we dubbed "Operation Chrysalis."
The breakthrough moment in "Operation Chrysalis" came at the end of April. Without a means of sustainable commercial funding Scoop.co.nz will not be able to continue to serve the people of NZ. Our annual costs of providing the service are close to $500k and crowd-funding from the public would never be enough for this. In this article we revealed our solution - the "Ethical Paywall" - and we began advertising the fact that Scoop is copyright on the website. Our new manner of describing what we were doing immediately struck a chord. Within days we had several clients and very importantly an endorsement from the influential NZ Law Librarians association.
A New Sustainable Business Model - Scoop's Ethical Paywall
At the end of April Scoop announced its "Ethical Paywall" an innovative new subscription revenue model which asks institutional, business and government readers who access Scoop.co.nz as part of their professional activity to purchase commercial use content licences.
Scoop’s free services are more valuable to the businesses and organisations who routinely use them, because they are free:
• If Scoop were to charge for the publication of releases we wouldn’t have a comprehensive set of all the day’s press releases.
• And if Scoop were to charge for access to the Scoop.co.nz website it would reduce the visibility of the releases.
While Scoop's novel approach has met some resistance, through persistence and patience we’re winning out. In the seven months since the "Ethical Paywall" product launch, Scoop has grown its business subscriber base to over 80 organisations including Parliament, Treasury, MFAT, MBIE, State Services Commission, DIA, AUT University, Auckland Council, Deloittes and several large law firms and PR companies.
The sales process for content licenses has been ramped up with the addition of a second full time sales person and a volunteer database administrator. Hundreds of organisations and institutions have been encouraged to bring themselves into compliance with Scoop's publicly advised terms and conditions of use. Somewhat wonderfully, as Scoop's "Ethical Paywall" subscriber base grows it has also become increasingly easier for us to sell the licences.
In the five weeks left before the summer break, Scoop will ramp up its licence sales activity, leveraging the success of its crowd-funding campaign to appeal to its business users altruistic and community spirit.
Scoop's #TakeBackTheNews> website was launched on September 10th, six days before "Day One" when we transferred the Scoop publishing company assets to the Scoop Foundation ( incorporated on September 2nd). The website was built by a team from Noshi Creative, a fellow Enspiral Network venture, and is designed to recruit members and contributors to the new Scoop community.
Activating The Scoop Crowd - An Empowering Experience For Scoop And The Crowd
In June, inspired by the response to our "Help Scoop To Fly" PledgeMe campaign in February and March Scoop launched Scoop Foundation "Membership" as a second new revenue stream.
Over 16 Days of Scoop in June - a celebration of our 16th Birthday - 200 initial foundation members signed on via a PledgeMe crowd-selling campaign. A further 200 members were signed up by grandfathering donors from the earlier crowd-funding campaign and via recruiting new members via our #TakeBackTheNews / TakeBackTheNews.nz campaign - put together by a group from Scoop's new business support community at the Enspiral Network (NOTE: Scoop joined the Enspiral Network as a venture formally on 13th February 2013).
Our TakeBackTheNews.nz campaign was launched to coincide with the formal legal transformation of Scoop into a charitable trust in early September. It has two purposes, firstly the ongoing recruitment of financial members and secondly finding contributors. to join The Fellowship of Scoop, a high-trust learning community of people who we hope will provide much needed practical support for Scoop's mahi (work). Once the current PledgeMe campaign ends, TakeBackTheNews.nz will move back to the forefront of Scoop's membership and contributor recruitment drive.
On Sunday 22nd November the Scoop Foundation will hold a "Scoop Hui" at 2pm at St Andrew’s on the Terrace in central Wellington to kick-start its engagement with both members and contributors. Fostering and developing our relationship with this crowd will be critical to Scoop's future.
In January Scoop launched the first phase of its transformation campaign - a public discussion about the State of NZ News Media and "Operation Chrysalis", the name we gave for the wider transformation programme.
Next Steps - Targeting Institutions & Commercial Users In A Summer Sales Drive
To sum up, with the
generous financial assistance of its readers Scoop has
• completely reconfigure its business model;
• connect to its crowd;
• launch a sustainable news organisation for the people of New Zealand which is dedicated to investing in quality public interest news services.
However, the $50,000 we’ve raised is insufficient to complete the launch phase of the Scoop Foundation project. Higher levels of engagement with and patronage from the institutional users of Scoop are now needed to ensure that the positive start we’ve made delivers on its promise.
To achieve the institutional support we need, over the next five weeks we intend to ask for the assistance of our crowd to reach out to the professional organisations that rely on us and encourage them to support us - government agencies, universities, local authorities, NGOs, corporates, lawyers, accountancy and consultancy practices and PR agencies - .
The Scoop Foundation has begun to revolutionise the way in which news publishers fund and deliver their news - moving towards a more ethical, accountable and public good direction for the news media.
Via this method, and with the support of our crowd, we hope that the Scoop Foundation will be able to spark a minor revolution in the way in which news publishers fund and deliver their news - perhaps moving the balance away from click-bait towards a more newsworthy, ethical, accountable and public good direction for the news media this little piece of paradise we all call home, Aotearoa New Zealand.
For further information please contact:
Alastair Thompson Scoop Foundation Trustee and Scoop Editor - 021 707044 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Wood Scoop Business Development Manager - email@example.com