INDEPENDENT NEWS

Scoop Foundation Impact Statement

Published: Wed 1 Jun 2016 04:34 PM
Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism
Impact Statement 2016
The Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism is a charitable trust founded on the principle that an informed citizenry is a basic requirement for democracy. Our founding purpose is to support ethical journalism training and the publication of trustworthy public interest information, freely accessible to all New Zealanders.
Scoop Publishing Ltd publishes www.scoop.co.nz and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Charitable Trust. All profits must be applied to the objectives of the Trust.
This Impact Statement sets out the Trust’s current plans and intentions in relation to the Scoop website, which has provided online public interest news services in New Zealand for over seventeen years.
THE PROBLEM
The problem is the global decline of a free, independent news media. If fewer journalists report on stories that matter, we are less well informed about matters that affect us all. Informed voter participation is vital for democratic decision-making.
The decline of independent news media in the free world is accelerating alarmingly. The complex causes have been analysed and ways to reverse the trend or generate new business models are being tried, but there is no simple fix. The news media must adapt in order to continue to play a vital role in our democracy. There are exciting opportunities ahead, as well as difficulties to be overcome.
This is the social enterprise in which the Trust is engaged.
HOW PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THIS PROBLEM
Sources of truly independent public interest news are more and more difficult for readers to find. Mainstream journalists are presenting more clickbait stories, celebrity gossip, and unattributed spin news.
History shows that distortion of information is how powerful interest groups by-pass or overthrow democratic decision making, leaving ordinary people virtually powerless through the distortion of information.
Without easy ability to access and test information to hear different perspectives, and to freely discuss the government issues that affect them, voters lose the power to influence decisions. Decline of confidence with democratic processes leads not just to disempowerment, but also to cynicism, anger, and disengagement from both government and the community - as we see in elections throughout the free world.
THE CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM
In the past, funding for news came through advertisers targeting consumers who read, watched, and listened to the news. Now, whenever people go online programmatic algorithms employ cookies to target them and their browsing habits, so news channels are no longer well supported by advertisers and their revenues are in freefall.
Contributing causes include
• Loss of revenue as advertisers shift to global internet providers such as Facebook, Google.
• Erosion of independence as news media companies move to survival funding from sponsors with corporate interests.
• Attrition of constitutional freedom of information tenets in democracies as Governments respond to party political funding from lobbyists.
• Slowness of traditional news media to find effective ways to use the internet to fund and provide public interest news services.
• Growth of public relations and lobbyists to fill the gaps in news media coverage.
• Growth of online social media as the way most people find out news information, which is neither independent nor free.
• Lack of public awareness and of political interest in the growing information gap.
THE FOUNDATION’S SOLUTION
This upheaval in news services brings fresh possibilities. We have transformed the Scoop website from a commercial enterprise to a social enterprise with wide public interest objectives.
Our vision for the website is to establish a sustainable, low-cost, business model that provides for free access to independent, reliable, archived news information for more people in New Zealand, and a platform for them to discuss and contribute their views. We want to support the diversity of voices that reflects the real society of New Zealand.
Our site is already the go-to site for policy-makers, central and local government, business and professional interests, community services, educators and students, and we want to meet their increasing needs in the ways that best suit them. We also want the Scoop site to be the go-to place for all who need accurate information to participate effectively in public decision-making.
In 2015, we undertook four major initiatives in order to achieve this vision –
• Formation of the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism in 2015, which wholly owns the Scoop Publishing Company. The Foundation is a charitable trust and the company is a not-for-profit company, which means that all profit and all donations received by either entity must be used for the public interest journalism purposes in the Trust Deed.
• The Scoop Publishing Company, which operates the website, has developed the Ethical Paywall concept. This is a new business model whereby commercial users commit to paying a license fee in line with the number of people with access to the internet. All information on Scoop remains freely available to all readers - there are no paywalls and all information is published without a fee being charged.
• Members of the public are encouraged to support our vision by renewable membership of the Foundation and by contributing to our continued development and vision. There are currently 1,000 members.
• We became an Enspiral Venture - part of a collective of people and companies who support each other to create a thriving society.
OUR VISION FOR 2016/17
With additional funding, Scoop Publishing can expand the business along lines proven to be of interest to our readers and contributors, which will in turn broaden our readership and make our services better known.
These include –
• An updated, more user friendly website and mobile link
• More regional journalism connections
• Support for specific investigative journalism projects
• Mediating vibrant discussion
• Providing an ability to access the archive via an API
• Incentives and support for education of journalists
Our immediate plans include -
• Expanding new business models which support the core mission like ethical paywall licenses and subscription services such as Newsagent and InfoPages.
• Running an annual Membership Drive - the 2016 membership drive has just got underway via Pledgeme
• Seeking advice from various groups who participate in NZ commercial and political life to help us build our capacity to understand, design, and deliver our sustainable social enterprise objectives.
• Seeking charitable donations to the Foundation
We will continue to -
• publish news releases on all topics of public interest (social developments. politics, commerce, environment, culture, industry etc.)
• welcome all contributors
• promote discussion of all matters of public interest
• maintain our unique 17 year archive of public interest topics
• fund investigative journalism and informed commentary
We will work collaboratively with -
• Our readers
• Our members and contributors
• Organisations accredited for Scoop
• Journalists and bloggers
• Commercial and legal advisers
• Public relations personnel
• Media academics
• IT experts
• Clients using Scoop’s professional services
OUTCOME
We are just one news media organisation fighting to be sustainable in a changing world, but we offer a unique, low-cost, and sustainable model on which we can build a vibrant social enterprise.
We believe that New Zealand citizens will benefit from the sustainable expansion of the Scoop Foundation and its related publishing news services because they are freely available; remain independent of political and corporate interests; and provide a platform where different views can be expressed, understood, and discussed. This effort can only strengthen the resilience of our democratic traditions.
Projections
Short term (first year) - An increased number of people (both public and commercial) being better informed using Scoop who have access to both read and disseminate information; an increased awareness of the problems independent media face; more journalists working on public interest stories that matter.
Medium term (2-3 years) - Quantity of quality news published and public interest journalism funded steadily increasing.
Long term (4-5 years) - An increase in the range and diversity of independent public interest news sources in New Zealand.
Quantifying the Changes
Short term (first year) - Monthly Benchmark Reports - Google Analytics for the Scoop.co.nz website. Numbers of Scoop Foundation members. Number of searches on Google showing Scoop results. Number of commercial use licensees. Number of corporate members. Number of contributors and contacts listed in our database. Number of journalists employed by Scoop.
Medium term (2-3 years) - Measures of the range and quantity of submissions published on Scoop. Volume of news published financially supported by the Scoop Foundation and metrics on its reach.
Long term (4-5 years) - A robust sustainable publishing company and successful trust which is capable of investing in and supporting new public- interest publishing ventures to flourish. True independence is closely tied to financial strength in terms of income and balance sheet.
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From the Trust Deed of the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism
Purposes:
1. To educate the public in New Zealand about the role and function of independent journalism in an open, democratic society;
2. to fund reporting and journalistic investigation which educates and informs the New Zealand public about:
• society, government, public institutions and officials; and
• private corporations, voluntary organisations and individuals that affect the public and the ability to participate in public decision making.
3. to provide education and public information about the journalistic culture in New Zealand based on fairness, accuracy and comprehensiveness;
4. to fund and assist publications and activities which support and promote the above purposes.
The Scoop Foundation
The Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism
The Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism is a charitable trust and the legal heart of the New Scoop project. The foundation is the owner of The New Scoop Publishing Company (www.scoop.co.nz).
The purposes of the Scoop Foundation are to promote, encourage and generate funding for investigative and public interest journalism.
Become a supporter at foundation.scoop.co.nz
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Thanks for your support.
Contact The Scoop Foundation
Twitter:
Postal Address:
Box 11501, Wellington
Email:
Physical Address:
L3 354 Lambton Quay, Wellington

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