Scoop celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. Scoop.co.nz is now the longest continuous running digital-only, free, public-facing news website in NZ. Founded in June 1999 - Scoop is slightly older than Stuff and slightly younger that the NZ Herald Online).
Scoop is an ecosystem - a decentralised organisation and home for news and views from a diverse range of voices. It is a complex, living, breathing organism made up of a variety of autonomous players and parts existing in an intricate balance. This structure is a big part of Scoop’s resilience over so many years.
The ecosystem of people and organisations contributing to Scoop have been a key part of the successful thriving of Scoop for two decades. The core team are sincerely grateful to all these groups for helping Scoop reach this point (whether by submitting or reading news, donating money or time or subscribing to ScoopPro). We truly could not be where we are without every one of you.
Scoop’s ecosystem model is unique among media enterprises in NZ and globally. Scoop serves NZ readers in the professional and citizen realms with independent news sourced through a decentralised network of journalists and organisations providing press releases and articles as well as our own independent journalism. For 20 years, this unique approach has proved to be a highly resilient and efficient ecosystem-based approach - to the benefit of the information ecosystem in New Zealand.
However, an ecosystem flourishes only when all of its parts are healthy, thriving and in a balance of mutual exchange. We are at a crucial juncture for the continued thriving of Scoop and independent online news in New Zealand in general. Last year we unveiled our Scoop 3.0 plan which seeks to move this forward dramatically creating more opportunities for readers and contributors to engage in building a progressive future and solutions focussed media ecosystem for Aotearoa. We are planning a crowd equity raise in 2020 to achieve this plan.
This is where the ScoopPro model comes in. ScoopPro started out as the “ethical paywall” model under which organisations and professionals are required to pay a reasonable fee for using Scoop professionally. This service currently has 265 subscribers and includes our professional media tools Newsagent and InfoPages which add value to these licensed subscribers.
In 2019 we also expanded ScoopPro to ordinary readers with ScoopPro Citizen. This service is completely optional, but offers members a way to support Scoop by choosing to subscribe to a range of professional-level news intelligence emails. There are three customisable levels that allow readers to access different level of news including regional news for all 16 NZ regions and updates on key sectors, Gordon Campbell, Scoop’s top stories and more.
We are currently launching a pledgeme crowdfunding and crowdsale campaign aimed at reaching the target of at least 300 member organisations and 200 new ScoopPro Citizen subscribers.
This is necessary to prove the ScoopPro model conclusively, as it will see Scoop break even for the first time since our advertising revenue dramatically declined in 2015. More importantly, it will enable us to continue with our planning for the equity raise to implement our ambitious Scoop 3.0 transition plan in 2020 and continue to evolve the journalism and services we offer our valued readers.
ScoopPro Subscription and
and financial revenue figures for the last five years show
just how close this innovative model is to making a real
breakthrough into sustainability and a flourishing future.
Fig 1. ScoopPro Membership
Fig 2. ScoopPro Revenue Split and Projection
Both these financial and membership figures clearly tell the story of the steady growth of ScoopPro membership and associated revenue since the launch of this model in 2015.
Fig. 2 also demonstrates that the ScoopPro model is
reducing our reliance on dramatically reduced advertising
revenues and other income such as donations. In fact, it
shows that Scoop's operating budget will be 100%
non-advertising funded by Jan 2020. This will give us the
opportunity for the first time in some years to start
expanding the team and making substantial upgrades to our
journalism approach and our technology
A Flourishing Future
The majestic Kauri Tree has three distinct growth phases.
Like the Kauri, Scoop is now seeking to continue evolving from our current “Lean Transitional” phase (Scoop 2.0) into Scoop 3.0 - the third phase of “Emergent” growth into a fully flourishing and ecosystem supporting position.
This critical third stage of Scoop’s growth will see us developing tools and processes through which both news consumers and submitters continue to thrive in their professional work and lives through involvement with the Scoop ecosystem.
Scoop 3.0 will centre around both strengthened community and updated technology tools. It will render Scoop even more useful for professional and non-professional users by offering:
over personal information and news preferences,
Better data transparency and analytics.
A more open news process exploring innovative new journalistic approaches and new ways of participating in a two-way dialogue of transparent, collaborative news creation.
Subscriber Funded Slow News
Image: The Urgent Quest for Slower, Better
News | The New Yorker
The third element above involves a new experiment with a collaborative member/subscriber based “Slow News” approach. This will be Scoop’s answer to the “Fast Food News” or “Click Bait” so prevalent in today’s social media and news aggregator dominated market.
The Slow News movement, pioneered by organisations such as De Correspondent, is an exciting new form of in-depth, ongoing, collaborative journalistic inquiry into important issues by dialogue with readers and experts in the field being covered. This movement is, in part, an attempt to redesign news content for the age of the permanent update by ensuring the journalism process is transparent and that content continues to evolve as new understanding or perspective is gained.
This approach will be especially powerful in combination with Scoop’s existing ScoopPro professional subscription based model and our decentralised approach to news gathering. Our existing inclusive approach to publishing raw press releases could in effect be extended to opening up our journalism to feedback and contributions from subscriber organisations. A journalistic approach informed by readers and subject experts would allow Scoop’s ecosystem of companies, academics and political/advocacy organisations to contribute meaningfully to shaping research focused, professional-level journalism.
This refocus will have far-reaching positive outcomes for readers, organisational contributors and subscribers and news in New Zealand more generally. This slow, organic “Wholefood” News focus will be fulfilling and nourishing to the information ecosystem.
Creating an ecosystem for independent journalism
Just like the Kauri - Scoop 3.0 also aims to play a role of sheltering and fostering new life as the kauri and other large trees of the forest do with shrubs, saplings and epiphytes. Scoop 3.0 aims to support other independent local news organisations to also thrive and grow using the tools and processes we develop under this plan. This will lead to a healthy and thriving information Ecosystem of interconnected and collaborating news organisations in New Zealand.
How will Scoop 3.0 help NZ journalism?
For the past two decades, Scoop has been run very efficiently and at a low cost compared to other news organisations due to our unique community-based ecosystem model through which news is sourced from a wide range of voices.
Scoop also provides a comprehensive public record archive providing the raw materials NZ needs to sustain a healthy info ecosystem. Many newsrooms and other organisations utilise this resource for research and news monitoring.
We want Scoop to continue to be something more than just another news website. Scoop has the potential to build something unique and have a real impact on the Media environment in New Zealand.
We want Scoop to remain a home for insightful, truthful news, views and vigorous debate from a diverse range of NZ voices. However, we also want Scoop to become even more decentralised, community owned with a greater emphasis on quality, crowdsourced and collaborative investigative journalism.
We now seek to build a new “Scoop 3.0” software stack that accentuates this core strength by increasing the range of useful products allowing organisations to contribute to and consume news beneficial to them in their professional roles.
The Scoop 3.0 plan seeks to ensure that in the future Scoop is even more beneficial to those who use it daily as a professional or non-professional news source. We plan to achieve that in the following ways:
introduce new technologies that provide opportunities for
more participation in the news-making and news consuming
process - that bring the community whether professionals or
ordinary citizens into the process.
To find ways to reward contributors who use Scoop and help grow the ecosyestem.
To build a thriving collective ecosystem of independent media organisations utilising the technology tools we build.
However, achieving this goal requires that those relying on Scoop professionally subscribe to ScoopPro.
An explanation of the full Scoop 3.0 Plan is available here
In summary, we cannot launch our planned Scoop 3.0 Crowd Equity raise until we have at least 300 ScoopPro Members subscribed. This will fully prove the concept and show the Scoop model is successful and give us the stable financial base to invest in this effort.
Will you or an organisation you influence join us in this effort?
You can support by:
1. Claiming a 20% Discount on a ScoopPro Organisational License / Media Services Package by Pledging on the option for your organisation size or registering through our ScoopPro site!!; or
2. Sponsoring a section on Scoop.co.nz - claim discount by pledge or by contacting Scoop directly now. More information on sponsorship options here.
You can support by:
1. Subscribing to ScoopPro Citizen. You will also have the chance of getting rewards such as the new Scoop 20th anniversary notebook or a Freerange Journalism book; or
2. Sharing this with any other readers, organisations or professionals you know of that may care about the future of independent media in Aotearoa.