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Q&A with Scoop’s Alastair Thompson

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 30th, 2015 - 47 comments
Categories: journalism, news - Tags: , , ,

For 16 years Scoop has been making an enormous contribution to the NZ media landscape. They reckon that “the news is broken”, and they want to build a sustainable independent news organisation for the people of New Zealand.

Scoop’s Alastair Thompson will be joining us around 10am – comments will be moderated live from that time.

Do you have questions on the future of the media, public service journalism, or plans for the Scoop Foundation? Ask them here!

47 comments on “Q&A with Scoop’s Alastair Thompson ”

  1. Steph 1

    It’s clear to me that if we want high quality, independent and honest journalism, we (the readers) need to contribute to it financially. Good quality journalism does not make any sense in a media environment that is funded by very cheap (Google) advertising.

    I guess the problem is that there is a widespread expectation in the internet age that journalism (whether quality or not) should be free.

    I’m interested to read what Alastair has to say!

    • Hi Steph,

      In the Internet Age you are obviously correct that people expect the news to be free. And two decades of practice – where publishers have given their news away online – has reinforced that perspective.

      And as you say there is no longer a viable economic engine to pay for news.

      Unfortunately in discussions about the “Future of News” the discussion tends to move inevitable towards talking about what content we should or shouldn’t have rather than how to pay for it.

      Scoop has been grappling with the issue of how to sustain ourselves since we launched in 1999. For us online advertising only became an important source of revenue for us in around 2004, peaked in 2007 and then disappeared at the end of 2014.

      And at that time we decided to make an active decision to chart a new course – which we revealed on April 29th with the public launch of our “Ethical Paywall”.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1504/S00198/why-scoopconz-can-no-longer-be-free-chrysalis-update-5.htm

      This changed everything for us as it has proved to be a viable and much better alligned method to finance what we do.

      Al

  2. r0b 2

    “The news is broken”.

    How is it broken?

    Why is it broken?

    Is there any way of fixing it, or do we just give up on the “mainstream media”?

    • >> How is it broken?

      News companies have been in a continual cycle of retrenchment for nearly 30 years now. There was a hope that new forms of “digital revenue” would emerge to replace the rivers of gold in terms of print advertising (especially classified) which used to finance news. The news you see now is produced by a workforce of largely inexperienced people operating in sweatshop conditions and tasked not with delivering “news” to consumers, but rather with delivering “eyeballs” to marketers.

      >> Why is it broken?

      In the last decade and a half no viable digital revenue model has emerged and the situation is now rapidly getting worse. Without experienced news professionals on the job – the task of producing quality news, news which effectively curbs the excesses of the powerful, cannot exist.

      >> Is there any way of fixing it, or do we just give up on the “mainstream media”?

      Yes.

      1st we (Society) need to acknowledge the problem – that digital disruption has rendered journalism increasingly trivial, shallow and ineffective in holding the powerful to account.

      2nd we need to agree that Journalism is something that society needs to function (like what Russel Norman said last week).

      and then

      3rd we need to actively try to direct the mainstream media back onto the path that it should be on. This can be done in several ways:
      – An NZ On Air for news;
      – Boosting public broadcasting funding, or
      – Wholesale adoption of the new Scoop model of “Ethical Paywalls”
      – As consumers donating to, subscribing and buying services from the ethical news companies whose product we value.

      • r0b 2.1.1

        >> tasked not with delivering “news” to consumers, but rather with delivering “eyeballs” to marketers.

        Yes – and ad blockers are going to damage even that revenue stream.

        >> 1st we (Society) need to acknowledge the problem

        We the people don’t seem nearly interested enough. I don’t think we’re going to get past step 1. Are you more optimistic?

        >> Wholesale adoption of the new Scoop model of “Ethical Paywalls”

        Great to hear that is working for you!

        I think “micro-payments” is another interesting technology in this space.

        • >> We the people don’t seem nearly interested enough. I don’t think we’re going to get past step 1. Are you more optimistic?

          I think the media’s own silence on this is beginning to break. And I think interest by the Government, institutions and businesses in this issue is beginning to register. At least I hope it is.

          >> I think “micro-payments” is another interesting technology in this space.

          Micro-payments have been discussed and tried (like paywalls) for more than a decade. We tested an early version. They work best at scale and like advertising rely on mass public interest. Practically speaking that means that they are unlikely to be viable in a place like NZ – especially for public interest journalism. Simply because (as you point out) the general public aren’t nearly interested enough for the old method of media holding power to account to work effectively.

          I think the next age of media is one which involves more soft power and diplomacy than shock and awe.

  3. ianmac 3

    Can’t quite see where to ask a question.
    Anyway.
    “What will guide your choice of topic to explore given the limited extent of your resources? Will it be around Demoracy, Government, Sport, Entertainment or what?”

    [r0b: This is the place to ask!]

    • >> “What will guide your choice of topic to explore given the limited extent of your resources?

      The Scoop Foundation intends to support good journalism by:
      – Supporting the efforts of new emerging publishers to get themselves established. In 16 years of operations Scoop.co.nz has been linked to by Fairfax and NZME on a handful of occasions if that – these publications are monopolistic in their outlook and to date have tended not to support the good emerging grass roots journalism efforts of others.

      Scoop has and will continue to run headline feeds powered by RSS from blogs such as The Standard, Dimpost, Pundit, Public Address and other contributors to those who are engaging in constructive discussions.

      – Running crowd-funding appeals and doing direct to donor fund-raising activities to fund grant based investigative and public interest journalism projects.

      – Maintaining Scoop.co.nz as a hub for and publisher for quality independent journalism about all manner of subjects.

      – Helping future of news entrepreneurs set up businesses and business models to support quality public interest journalism.

      >> Will it be around Demoracy, Government, Sport, Entertainment or what?”

      Government and Democracy is our focus. We publish content about sport and entertainment but what is of interest to the public is not the same as what is in the public interest.

  4. savenz 4

    There is clear and sustained media attacks smears against the opposition members on parliament – what should they do about it, can the media be held legally accountable if MSM for example have a conflict of interest and sustained attacks for no reason are being repeatedly made on opposition members of parliament?

    • Freedom of speech is a double edged sword.

      You have the right to express your view.

      &

      you have to accept that others have the right to express theres.

      There are methods of dealing with journalism that you do not approve of when it is from reputable publishers via the OMSA (online media standards authority), the BSA and the Press Council. They are not perfect but they work.

      Finally I would encourage you to expect this sort of thing to get worse. Unfortunately that appears to be the trajectory we are on with public discourse in NZ.

  5. vto 5

    Alastair, one thing I have never understood is why the media is not required by law to disclose its interests so conflicts can be deciphered and accounted for.

    After all, our main media are owned by very wealthy foreign interests who take strong partisan political stands around the globe. As such, they are far from objective. Given the power the media has, this is crucial in a functioning democracy I would have thought.

    Why are they permitted to present themselves as objective when they are not? (also a breach of the Fair Trading Act, being misleading and deceptive conduct…?)

    Why are they not required by law to declare who they are and what their interests and positions are?

    They should be required to place a disclosure statement on the front page every day.

    Seems a massive flaw in our system

    • Your dissatisfaction with mainstream publishing is clear.

      I do not share your view that the mainstream media is completely onesided but I do accept that you are entiitled to that view.

      As I said to the previous question the flipside to your right to free speech for example here on The Standard is that others also have a right to free speech.

      The issue of media ownership is important. As mainstream private media companis; profitability and revenue collapses they are increasingly being controlled not just by their shareholders by the institutions which own their debt – e.g. Mediaworks has been taken over the the “Vulture Fund” Oaktree Capital. That said their editorial team is still one of the better ones in the country and their news service is a lot better than say “Fair and Balanced” Fox News.

      • vto 5.1.1

        Thanks Alastair but when it comes to the principles that surround the application of conflict of interest, it is the perception and not the reality that drives the rules of disclosure and the like. I think you have answered on the basis of your view of the reality and missed the perception.

        As to your point on the right of free speech, sure and that is accepted of course, but it is irrelevant to the question of conflict and disclosure.

        Your last paragraph hints at the problem “they are increasingly being controlled not just by their shareholders by the institutions which own their debt – e.g. Mediaworks has been taken over the the “Vulture Fund” Oaktree Capital.” You even state “The issue of media ownership is important”. Yet ownership of media features pretty much nowhere in the media (certainly nowhere useful for the reader). How does that work?

        I think you have carefully avoided the issue.

        • Hi VTO,

          I am not trying to avoid the question, and am sorry if that was the impression I left you with.

          You are right that the media is not at all transparent about: the problems it is facing; nor about the impact of ownership; nor about its economic performance; nor about its cutbacks.

          I wrote about this at the beginning of the year in my Reinventing the News piece under the heading “Whatever you do don’t mention the war.”>> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1501/S00058/reinventing-news-as-a-public-right-a-public-conversation.htm#6

          News organisations always project themselves as authoritative, strong, powerful. Media delivery and advertising sales are both confidence tricks. The media is the expert in seeming much bigger and looking far more powerful than it really is and talking about their agony doesn’t fit this narrative.

          When Mediaworks was agonising through the Campbell Live axing stuff it dawned on me that for readers/viewers the non-discussion of newsroom cutbacks comes across as very discordant. News institutions which demand transparency of others failing to be transparent themselves and being silent on stories which are everywhere else in the media is a very bad look.

          Plus it creates a vacuum for the socialverse, blogosphere and water cooler gossip to fill and people love talking about these things almost as much as the media hate reporting their own struggles. That said they seem to be able to report each other’s problems in a sort of competitive white-anting manner quite effectively.

          Similarly the absence of clarity around thge recent high profile restructurings at Fairfax and NZME has also resulted in people filling in the gaps for themselves, publications of leaked memos etc.

          I know this is not addressing the question of disclosure statements directly. But if anything the issue of editorial interference – which is what you want transparency about – is even more sensitive than redundancies.

          Finally ownership issues related to the media are addressed in only two places that I know of. Changes in that area are best reported probably by MediaWatch on Radio NZ and by the media team at NBR (with much of the best content on this behind the paywall.)

          Bill Rosenberg wrote this a while ago now but it shows the trajectory >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1501/S00089/news-before-profits-bill-rosenberg.htm

          And there is the JMAD reports of Merha Mehrlati >> http://search.scoop.co.nz/search?q=merja%20JMAD&sort_by=date

          Happy to address other questions you have.

          Al

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.1

            Alistair,

            Much admire your contribution here. Your professionalism stands out and leaves me a little envious in the best possible way 🙂

            Have already contributed to Scoops fundraising and will continue to do so. I only wish I could think of some other way to lend your campaign a little more momentum.

            Best wishes.

          • vto 5.1.1.1.2

            Thanks Alastair, helps greatly to get the perspective of those at the helm. It seems complex, interwoven and politically (office and otherwise) sensitive.

            But, from the perspective at this end of the sector (the reader), things appear more simple and are taken that way when reading. As such, a front page listing or link to the ownership of the publication and its interest (political and commercial etc) is simple to place and of great benefit.

      • Grant 5.1.2

        “Mediaworks has been taken over the the “Vulture Fund” Oaktree Capital. That said their editorial team is still one of the better ones in the country and their news service is a lot better than say “Fair and Balanced” Fox News.”

        I think that is referred to as damning with faint praise..

        • I didn’t mean that to come across like that.

          I really rate the journalism of the team at TV3. Mark Jennings is one of the best news bosses in the business and provides a very strong firewall between his staff and corporate bosses as far as I am aware. This is one of the most important roles of a good editor – to act as a buffer to manage dealing with issues which are “sensitive” for proprietors.

          I might add to that the observation that I often get into trouble on twitter defending my colleagues when there are social media storms in play about this or that story. The realities for pretty much everybody operating in the news space these days is that you are required to do too much with too little with too little support and you have to be self-motivated in your work.

          The fact that the results of this are disappointing to readers is understandable, and is distressing for those who are producing the shows and publications which are criticised (often justifiably) for their mistakes.

          Pretty much anyone who is still in a senior journalistic role these days is doing so out of a sense of vocation or compulsion rather than because of the rewards that the industry delivers. There are still wonderful things about being in the news business, it is a privilege to do this work, but it is also a constant struggle.

          And the fact that so many readers/viewers/listeners appear to be so angry about what is happening, but do not understand the reasons behind the things that make them angry, makes it all the harder for those who are working hard and doing their best in very difficult circumstances.

          Al

          • Grant 5.1.2.1.1

            In that case maybe the industry should be much more transparent in its communication with the public about the difficulties they are having providing a quality in depth news/ current affairs service. One of the reasons people are angry, especially those of us who have lived as adult news consumers through the ongoing decline over the last thirty years is that it is a rare day indeed that any such admission of a decline is made. Instead we too often get the self aggrandizing promotional puffery followed by shallow gimcrack churnalism which simply doesn’t pass the bullshit test.

            Bottom line, yes, many of us are angry, both at the quality of news / current affairs, and at being treated like mushrooms.

            Thanks at least for being honest about the state of play.

  6. weka 6

    Hi Alaister, some of Scoop’s descriptions of what it is trying to do are a tad overlong and complex. Can you describe Scoop’s new organisation in two paragraphs, maybe bullet pointing the different structures within it? I’m thinking the more practical side rather than the ‘news is broken, we aim to fix it’ side (which is already clear).

    • Anne 6.1

      I concur with weka’s comment. Make it simple. 🙂

      Also can you supply a suitable address so that I can send a donation by cheque? Yes, some of us still use them from time to time. Thanks.

    • Scoop is now owed by a charitable trust (the Scoop Foundation) which has as its purpose supporting public interest journalism. This trust will raise money to help it achieve this purpose.

      Scoop.co.nz is still a company and once it returns to profitability it will pay dividends to the Foundation which will then be able to use that money to pursue its purposes.

      In the meantime Scoop.co.nz – thanks to its huge reach and influential audience – is in a position to assist public interest journalism activity being undertaken by third parties and will do so.

  7. Wainwright 7

    Alastair: The trust infographic is too complicated and unclear. Is New Scoop a news site, or an NZ on Air for journalism, or something else? How do you describe it in one sentence for a n00b who doesn’t get how the media works?

  8. Hi, sorry I am so late…… I will start answering questions now.

  9. r0b 9

    Unlike our Q&A’s with politicians the questions are all reasonable and interesting, so I will turn off moderation and comments will just go through.

  10. ianmac 10

    I wonder if we should pay a subscription to Scoop (and the Standard) in lieu of a sub to MSM. What do you think Alastair?

    • Hi Ian,

      I would definitely encourage you to do so. The most effective way you can support and encouragement the kind of media you want is to subscribe to and pay the providers of services which you value.

      Alastair

  11. whateva next? 11

    Under National government, Crosby Textor have a sophisticated strategy of undermining any opposition in the media.
    It seems that trying to counter there propoganda is endless and exhaustive, and always on a backfoot. The narrative is set by them, and the readers have already lost interest after the sensational and mostly ridiculous, headlines slating any opposition actions.
    Given that we understand what the strategies are now, could we front foot and point this out to public? as was done in UK? thereby neutralising the strategy?

    https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAAahUKEwjUyer81ujIAhWC2qYKHQ0ICBc&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fpolitics%2F2015%2Fmay%2F08%2Flynton-crosby-wedge-politics-general-election-tories&usg=AFQjCNGlJPIWoluiT3HB0RIR63Hr27i2gg

    • Hi Wateva,

      The meta narrative behind the propaganda efforts which are being employed against the electorate is a particularly fascinating subject.

      Scoop has covered Crosby Textor extensively in the past. Particularly back around the time of the 2005 and 2008 elections.

      https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1SNJF_enNZ590NZ590&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=site:scoop.co.nz+crosby+textor

      Since then they have gone from strength to strength and the reporter that we had who was focussed on the subject then has moved on.

      I agree very much that Crosby Textor deserves a lot of attention in NZ. They are almost certainly responsible for the elevation of Max Key into the public eye and the Flag debacle IMO. The fact they now have an office in Auckland suggests to me that they will also be involved in the “dark arts” work around next years local body elections.

      No doubt there will be some mainstream reporters who take an interest in this – as it is interesting – however given the parlous state that the news media is in I would think it far more likely that the readers and contributors to The Standard would be able to mount a more effective counter to this than anything the MSM can do.

      Plus what happens in the blogosphere tends to bleed into the MSM over time. So I would encourage you to dig in, be the media and publish the truth.

      Al

      • whateva next? 11.1.1

        “Plus what happens in the blogosphere tends to bleed into the MSM over time.”
        That is reassuring, rather than two separate worlds which is what I have been thinking.
        Thanks Al, and thanks for your response. I guess a “multi-pronged approach” is the way to go, including an anchor in Scoop. I will get onto this tonight. I will even squeeze in a quote to galvanise me!
        “Between the idea
        And the reality
        Between the motion
        And the act
        Falls the Shadow”
        ― T.S. Eliot

  12. maui 12

    This isn’t really a question, but more a comment.

    I don’t know a lot about scoop, but find my impression of it is a place where a range of organisations issue press releases. I don’t go there for news, and still use mainstream sources even though I know bias or lack of quality is an issue there. If others feel similarly, how does scoop get more on people’s radar as a legitimate news source?

  13. r0b 13

    I’m not sure how long Alastair is planning to stay, but I have to go now.

    So I’ll take this opportunity to thank him for joining us here today, and for his detailed and thoughtful answers!

    I’ve promoted this link several times on TS, but once more won’t hurt. If you want to donate to Scoop you can do so here:

    https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/4175-establishing-the-scoop-foundation-for-public-interest-journalism

    • Hi rOb,

      Thankyou very much for your kind invitation to answer TS questions, and also for your support for our campaign. It is massively appreciated by myself and the entire Scoop Team.

      I will be here for another 10 minutes before I have to head away to do something for a bit. However I would be happy to continue to answer questions about anything – and will come back later today to do so.

      Scoop is linking to this thread on our Front Page so there maybe some new people joining you here through that route.

      Alastair

    • left for deadshark 13.2

      Thanks for this post rob, good luck Alastair.

  14. Hi Maui,

    I am going to cut and paste a description from this piece which explains in some detail what Scoop has been doing and why. Yes we publish Press Releases, no that is not journalism, but yes it is a legitimate news source. We are the news source that news makers rely on to know what is going on. Press Releases are unusually actionable pieces of information.

    The quote below comes from >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1508/S00016/scoops-futureofnews-challenge-solution-a-new-scoop.htm

    About Press Releases

    Press releases which form the bulk of Scoop’s content are a very useful form of communication.

    For starters it is clear who they are from. You can also be certain that the person who is quoted in them will stand by what they are saying (i.e. they haven’t been trapped into saying something silly, what they put in a press statement it is their considered opinion, and not just the first two paragraphs but in all likelihood every word carries some meaning otherwise it wouldn’t be there.) And, most probably, anything in a press release has not only been signed off by the people quoted in it, but also by a range of other stakeholders and governance people involved in the announcement.

    From an economic perspective Press Releases often have a team involved in their preparation including often the CEO of the organisation. They are therefore expensive to produce.

    Yes press releases are a subjective view of reality from a perspective of a particular organisation or person, but they are one which can be relied upon in most cases to be an accurate and often nuanced reflection of that subjective view.

    By contrast these days if you read something in a news article that has been written by a journalist there is a transformation process involved. Facts and assertions are interpreted, supplemented, checked and sometimes critiqued. This is also useful but in a different way.

    What Scoop’s professional users tell us consistently is that what they value about Scoop is the fact that they are able to read all the information from the source and draw their own conclusion about what is important and what it means.

    And from the perspective of a legal profession which deals in facts. Press releases are of course particularly useful, there is little danger that remarks contained in a press release will be later disavowed.

    Scoop’s Audience – Influential Professional Users At Work

    Scoop’s audience is remarkably large given that the content on Scoop is by and large pretty serious . We reach roughly 20,000 people per day, 100,000 per week and 300,000 per month. Scoop is used predominately 9am to 5pm, at work by people who are working.

    Firstly Scoop does not publish very much sports or celebrity news. Most of what is on Scoop is pretty serious. And we can also see from use patterns that a lot of Scoop usage is research based. Last week for example 30,000 different items were read by roughly 120,000 users. In the same week we would have published around 1000 items – so it is clear that use of historical material is significant.

    In addition 5000 different search queries were run on the search.scoop.co.nz search engine in the week, and Google Webmaster Tools shows us that Scoop results appeared in Google search queries between 300,000 and 500,000 times each day.

    We have extensive research into Scoop’s audience which shows that it is particularly strong among the Media, Finance and Public Administration sectors. This research also shows it includes a lot of CEOs, directors, managers and decision makers. Scoop’s audience is particularly strong in both news-makers and those who are paying close attention to what is going on.

    Many Voices Informing Influencers

    Recently as we were trying to figure out how we should evolve to survive we came up with the catch phrase “Many Voices Informing Influencers” to describe what Scoop does.

    Scoop provides a voice to all-comers across the political spectrum to debate business, social and cultural issues and we allow the community to respond in real time. Media commentator and Scoop collaborator Russell Brown has described us as “the home of the national argument”, another way of saying roughly the same thing.

    When people send material to Scoop they know they can reach an influential audience – including the media. As a result Scoop acts as a magnet to content from people who are seeking to be heard. And as mentioned earlier, for many of these would-be news-makers Scoop’s publication of their contribution to the debate is often the most high profile and important outlet for their material .

    When an item is published in Scoop it is almost instantaneously indexed by Google. And because of Scoop’s high level of authority the Scoop page results features high when people are searching for news about specific things. This enables people and organisations to ensure that their version of what is happening to them can be found alongside the interpreted views relayed via the media.

    Conclusion

    In Summary then Scoop is a piece of much used information infrastructure which has reliable served the NZ information system for a generation – and for that reason we think it is worthwhile making some effort to keep it alive and kicking and informing the people of New Zealand.

  15. Tracey 15

    I note more layoffs of journalists today and the constant refrain of lack of resources for reporting. if we count up the number of media in england for the wod cup final, there is no lack of resources.

    my question which is loosely related to the above

    By your observations are editors calling the shots on what msm choose to publish or are their hands tied by policy/edict from higher up?

    eg hagers info being releasex so easily to the police took a few days to reach msm and not until it included a loosely associated SC decision which enable more focus on potential criminalisation of hager and journos

    • >> By your observations are editors calling the shots on what msm choose to publish or are their hands tied by policy/edict from higher up?

      Editors call the shots. But they have performance objectives – eyeballs and audience engagement – which drive their choice of stories. When it comes to serious reporting – Press Gallery, Business Desk, Investigative and Round Reporters the reporters tend to be responsible for what they choose to work on. They have to justify time to editors and request space (for print) etc.

      IMO everybody is doing the best they can within the current system, but what you the readers do not appreciate is how constrained things are. If you are expected to produce 2 stories are day you have to take less time and challenge less complicated stories. If you have less time then doing challenging or novel work is more difficult.

      Human interest stories, sick baby, clever dog, angry house owner are easy. One interview, nice picture bobs your answer. Trying to understand a 300 page report into decile funding and its impact on educational outcomes takes time, experience and the product is not as appealing to the average reader. The solution for reporters facing this situation is to piece together comment from the experts/interested parties to whatever the debate is – which can also work within the timeframes and resource constraints.

      But subtle, important news is hard.

      >> eg hagers info being releasex so easily to the police took a few days to reach msm and not until it included a loosely associated SC decision which enable more focus on potential criminalisation of hager and journos

      Scoop coordinated release of the documents with NZ Herald Journalist David Fisher who I knew had great knowledge and interested in the case. We also offered the documents to Radio New Zealand who picked the story up on Saturday (the day we released the papers) to.

      I don’t think there is any connection between the Dixon case and the Hager case. I could be wrong but in the unlikely event that Clifford J rules against Hager this judgement will almost certainly be appealed.

      That said in the event that Clifford J rules against the Police it is certainly possible that they too may decide to appeal. Either way the law around police responsibilities towards protecting journalistic privilege are about to be clarified that will be helpful and important to us all.

      This is the reason Scoop requested access to the file.

      We are still hoping that the affidavit evidence of the police officers involved in the raid will be released to us and have asked for it. When/if we receive it then we will be sharing it with our media colleagues and trying to coordinate high quality coverage of the material contained within. A cooperative approach to news reporting is very much what Scoop hopes to be able to model now that it is a charitable entity. Afterall we are no longer in competition for advertising dollars with anyone.

  16. Rosie 17

    Thank you to Alistair for coming along to speak with readers today and thank you to The Standard for hosting him. It was interesting and insightful reading the questions and answers. Interesting too, on a day when I hear NZME are “merging their news departments” and approximately 15 journalists will lose their jobs.

    These days I’m relying on RNZ and Scoop for news, having almost given up on The Dominion Post and stuffed.co.nz. I also make sure I never miss The Scoop Report on Radio Active with Alistair Thompson and Grant Robertson. It’s during this interview on a Thursday morning that I get questions answered about “why” this is happening or “why” did such and such say that or whats behinds that story. etc. Sometimes Alistair and Redbird Jnr keep Grant Robertson on his toes 🙂

    The Scoop Report discussion around politics naturally flows into issues within society. This week Grant Robertson talked about his observation of how deep and widespread our issue with mental health is NZ and what little resources we have to truly improve people’s well being, and address it’s causes. Alistair followed on with his observation of causes of poor mental health within the workplace, including the public service.

    Just fascinating listening. Often candid and always honest. I will miss him when he leaves these shores in a few weeks.

  17. vto 18

    hmmmph… disappointing he hasn’t returned to flesh out his weaker pov’s

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    23 hours ago
  • Supporting work to protect Northland reserve
    New funding announced by Conservation Minister Kiri Allan today will provide work and help protect the unique values of Northland’s Te Ārai Nature Reserve for future generations. Te Ārai is culturally important to Te Aupōuri as the last resting place of the spirits before they depart to Te Rerenga Wairua. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Critical step to new housing deal for Pacific communities
      Today the Government has taken a key step to support Pacific people to becoming Community Housing providers, says the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. “This will be great news for Pacific communities with the decision to provide Pacific Financial Capability Grant funding and a tender process to ...
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    1 day ago
  • Consultation opens on proposed Bay of Islands marine mammal sanctuary
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on a proposed marine mammal sanctuary to address the rapid decline of bottlenose dolphins in Te Pēwhairangi, the Bay of Islands. The proposal, developed jointly with Ngā Hapū o te Pēwhairangi, would protect all marine mammals of the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Three District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.    Two of the appointees will take up their roles on 1 April, replacing sitting Judges who have reached retirement age.     Kirsten Lummis, lawyer of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government announces list of life-shortening conditions guaranteeing early KiwiSaver access
    Government announces list of life-shortening conditions guaranteeing early KiwiSaver access The Government changed the KiwiSaver rules in 2019 so people with life-shortening congenital conditions can withdraw their savings early The four conditions guaranteed early access are – down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder An alternative ...
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    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank to take account of housing in decision making
    The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into account government policy relating to more sustainable house prices, while working ...
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    2 days ago
  • Investment to reduce cochlear implant waitlist
    The Labour Government will invest $6 million for 70 additional adult cochlear implants this year to significantly reduce the historical waitlist, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Cochlear implants are life changing for kiwis who suffer from severe hearing loss. As well as improving an individual’s hearing, they open doors to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Māori wards Bill passes third reading
    The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill passed its third reading today and will become law, Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta says. “This is a significant step forward for Māori representation in local government. We know how important it is to have diversity around ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government delivers 1,000 more transitional housing places
    The Government has added 1,000 more transitional housing places as promised under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan (HAP), launched one year ago. Minister of Housing Megan Woods says the milestone supports the Government’s priority to ensure every New Zealander has warm, dry, secure housing. “Transitional housing provides people ...
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    3 days ago
  • Second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech doses arrives safely – as the first vaccinations take place in the...
    A second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived safely yesterday at Auckland International Airport, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “This shipment contained about 76,000 doses, and follows our first shipment of 60,000 doses that arrived last week. We expect further shipments of vaccine over the coming weeks,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
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    3 days ago
  • $18 million for creative spaces to make arts more accessible
    The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni has today announced $18 million to support creative spaces. Creative spaces are places in the community where people with mental health needs, disabled people, and those looking for social connection, are welcomed and supported to practice and participate in the arts ...
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    3 days ago
  • Moriori Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading
    Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little today welcomed Moriori to Parliament to witness the first reading of the Moriori Claims Settlement Bill. “This bill is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work from all the parties involved. “I am delighted to reach this significant milestone today,” Andrew ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government action reduces child poverty
    22,400 fewer children experiencing material hardship 45,400 fewer children in low income households on after-housing costs measure After-housing costs target achieved a year ahead of schedule Government action has seen child poverty reduce against all nine official measures compared to the baseline year, Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty ...
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    4 days ago
  • Entries open for the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards
    It’s time to recognise the outstanding work early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura do to support children and young people to succeed, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins says. The 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are now open through until April 16. “The past year has reminded us ...
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    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature benefits three projects
    Three new Jobs for Nature projects will help nature thrive in the Bay of Plenty and keep local people in work says Conservation Minister Kiri Allan. “Up to 30 people will be employed in the projects, which are aimed at boosting local conservation efforts, enhancing some of the region’s most ...
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    4 days ago
  • Improvements to the Holidays Act on the way
    The Government has accepted all of the Holidays Act Taskforce’s recommended changes, which will provide certainty to employers and help employees receive their leave entitlements, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said the Government established the Holidays Act Taskforce to help address challenges with the ...
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    4 days ago
  • NZ’s credit rating lifted as economy recovers
    The Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and faster than expected economic recovery has been acknowledged in today’s credit rating upgrade. Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) today raised New Zealand’s local currency credit rating to AAA with a stable outlook. This follows Fitch reaffirming its AA+ rating last ...
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    5 days ago
  • Speech to National Remembrance Service on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
    Tena koutou e nga Maata Waka Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngai Tahu whanui, Tena koutou. Nau mai whakatau mai ki tenei ra maumahara i te Ru Whenua Apiti hono tatai hono, Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate Apiti hono tatai hono, Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora Tena koutou, Tena ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government reaffirms urgent commitment to ban harmful conversion practices
    The Minister of Justice has reaffirmed the Government’s urgent commitment, as stated in its 2020 Election Manifesto, to ban conversion practices in New Zealand by this time next year. “The Government has work underway to develop policy which will bring legislation to Parliament by the middle of this year and ...
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    5 days ago
  • New creative service aims to benefit 1,000 peoples’ careers
    Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni today launched a new Creative Careers Service, which is expected to support up to 1,000 creatives, across three regions over the next two years. The new service builds on the most successful aspects of the former Pathways to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Honey exporters busy meeting surging demand
    Overseas consumers eager for natural products in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic have helped boost honey export revenue by 20 percent to $425 million in the year to June 30, 2020, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.   “The results from the latest Ministry for Primary Industries’ 2020 Apiculture Monitoring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers more wellbeing support for young people
    Thanks to more than $10-million in new services from the Government, more rangatahi will be able to access mental health and addiction support in their community. Minister of Health Andrew Little made the announcement today while visiting Odyssey House Christchurch and acknowledged that significant events like the devastating earthquakes ten ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government eases visa restrictions for visitors in New Zealand
    Two month automatic visitor visa extension for most visitor visa holders Temporary waiver of time spent in New Zealand rule for visitor stays Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration ...
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    1 week ago
  • Push for sustainable tourism gathers pace
    The Tourism and Conservation Ministers say today’s report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) adds to calls to overhaul the tourism model that existed prior to COVID19. “The PCE tourism report joins a chorus of analysis which has established that previous settings, which prioritised volume over value, are ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government extends dietary supplements regulations
    The Government is providing certainty for the dietary supplements industry as we work to overhaul the rules governing the products, Minister for Food Safety Dr Ayesha Verrall said. Dietary supplements are health and wellness products taken orally to supplement a traditional diet. Some examples include vitamin and mineral supplements, echinacea, ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand to join the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
    The Government is joining the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (the Budapest Convention), Justice Minister Kris Faafoi and Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark announced today. The decision progresses a recommendation by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack to accede to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Appointment round in 2021 for Queen's Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker announced today that an appointment round for Queen’s Counsel will take place in 2021.  Appointments of Queen’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint Queen’s Counsel in ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government support for businesses kicks in
    The new Resurgence Support Payment passed by Parliament this week will be available to eligible businesses now that Auckland will be in Alert Level 2 until Monday. “Our careful management of the Government accounts means we have money aside for situations like this. We stand ready to share the burden ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Final preparations to ensure Phase 1 of the vaccination rollout is ready to go
    A dry run of the end-to-end process shows New Zealand’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is ready to roll from Saturday, when the first border workers will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The trial run took place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch yesterday afternoon, ahead of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Free Period products to be available in all schools and kura
    From June this year, all primary, intermediate, secondary school and kura students will have access to free period products, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced today. The announcement follows a successful Access to Period Products pilot programme, which has been running since Term 3 last ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government accounts remain in good shape
    The latest update shows the Government’s books are again in better shape than forecast, meaning New Zealand is still in a strong position to respond to any COVID-19 resurgence. The Crown Accounts for the six months to the end of December were better than forecast in the Half-year Economic and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New DOC strategy champions responsible enjoyment of the outdoors
    The Department of Conservation’s (DOC) new Heritage and Visitor Strategy is fully focused on protecting and enhancing the value of New Zealand’s natural, cultural and historic heritage, while also promoting a sustainable environmental experience, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It has been a quarter of a century since DOC first developed ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand to conclude its deployment to Afghanistan in 2021
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare have announced that New Zealand will conclude its deployment of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to Afghanistan by May 2021. “After 20 years of a NZDF presence in Afghanistan, it is now time to conclude ...
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori to Succeed in Trade – International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organi...
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. This is a special time in our country. A little over a week ago, it was the anniversary of the signature by Māori and the British Crown of Te Tiriti O Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), a founding document in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on the arrest of former dual citizen in Turkey
    The Government is in contact with relevant authorities in Turkey following the arrest of a former Australian and New Zealand dual citizen there, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Contingency planning for the potential return of any New Zealander who may have been in the conflict zone has been underway for ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Household incomes rise but more work needed
    Figures released today by Stats NZ show there was strong growth in median household incomes in 2020, before surveying was halted due to COVID-19. Stats NZ found the median annual household income rose 6.9 percent to $75,024 in the year to June 2020 compared with a year earlier. The survey ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Business support under COVID resurgence confirmed
    Legislation will be introduced under urgency today to set up a new Resurgence Support Payment for businesses affected by any resurgence of COVID-19. “Since the scheme was announced in December we have decided to make a change to the payment – reducing the time over which a revenue drop is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago