Tweeting the news

by Lindsay Shelton
Twitter has played a big role in spreading the news about changes at Scoop.

Yesterday it seemed that everybody was tweeting “WTF” when they read the first reports saying that Scoop’s co-founder Alastair Thompson had resigned.

Selwyn Pellett, who has recently invested in Scoop with his brother Craig, was tweeting too. He said he and his brother had invested because they wanted to help Alastair push Scoop to the next level. “As the major shareholder in Scoop Holdings Ltd I can assure you it’s the beginning not the end.” But he was also providing news the old-fashioned way – in conversations with reporters who then wrote their versions of the resignation story for their parent companies – print, or radio, or television – and for their organisations’ news websites.

There was no tweeting yesterday from Alastair. @althecat was uncharacteristically silent. He started tweeting again today. But only twice. In one message, he confirmed that he has “a new job which was announced prematurely.” And then he tweeted that he hadn’t left Scoop … “more like I’m having a sabbatical.”

Which leaves a question yet to be answered. Resignation, or sabbatical?

Today there’s been the first online analysis of what seems to be happening. A fair and balanced survey by Gordon Campbell, who describes how noone connected with the organisation knew what was happening. A friendly piece by Russell Brown, who praises the extraordinary contribution to New Zealand’s political life by Alastair and Scoop. And a predictable rant by David Farrar, followed by some vile comments from his followers.

If Scoop people are frustrated by differing reports of what’s happening in their organisation, they should spare a thought for the frustrations of the regional manager of Wellington’s civil defence who has to decide how best to send out emergency messages. In the DomPost today, Bruce Pepperell pleaded:

“It’s no good sending a text alert to my mother, because she doesn’t have a cellphone. She gets her information from the radio and newspaper. It’s no good trying to reach young people through the newspaper, because they get their information from Twitter and Facebook.”

Scoop’s new majority shareholders will no doubt use all media – old and new – when they’re ready to announce the next instalment of what’s happening about the editor’s role.



  1. Kathleen Byrne, 16. January 2014, 18:52

    Good luck Al, Aotearoa needs a wake up for the election re privacy issues… and some fun! [via Twitter]

  2. Steve Braunias, 16. January 2014, 18:53

    @althecat Your appointment is the first thing I’ve ever liked about your employer. Congrats on the job chum! [via Twitter]


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