Scoop, OSOS & crowd funding

The nice people at Scoop invited me to live blog the Open Source/Open Society conference (OS/OS), coming up soon on 22 & 23 August. As the name suggests, this is all about what might happen if we were to rebuild the world on an open source basis. It’s a great opportunity for like minded people working in diverse paradigms to think long and hard about how we might make the world a little bit better: more accessible, more transparent, more collaborative.

They’ve got some great speakers: Max Rushbrooke from Victoria University has done more than most to identify and understand the growing economic inequality in New Zealand. Audrey Tang is a civic hacker from Taiwan who seems to have an interesting and effective kaupapa in liberating information. American Douglass Rushkoff has written extensively on both the strengths and limitations of technology. I’m looking forward to hearing from the Action Station people, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and tons more besides.

There’s no one I’d rather be doing this for than Scoop. Since ages ago, they’ve been doing more than most to foster high quality journalism in Aotearoa that’s both viable and affordable. They probably have a bit further to go getting that balance right, but we all know the problem: journalists aren’t getting paid to write stories in the way they used to.

Here’s John Oliver with a refresher course from earlier in the week.


A few months ago, Scoop put it out there that they were making changes. That meant expanding their pool of writers and asking readers for money. So I gave them some cash, signed up as a writer and eagerly awaited the next step. Which is this: I’m off to the OSOS conference.

There’ll be a little team of us, including me, Wellingtonian Joe Cederwall and another I’m yet to discover. Our posts go up on the dedicated Scoop page, and – simultaneously – on the OSOS website, making open source really open. It’s gonna be awesome.

But there’s a catch. Scoop is a not-for-profit. And I’m a freelancer. I’m not on salary, I don’t have corporate learning objectives to fulfil (just my own personal ones), and – while I can claim on a few expenses – it’s not like I’m getting paid to be there. And it’s more or less the same on Scoop’s side, too.

Russell Brown wrote recently about the new role we can all play as patrons of the stuff we like. Like the song you’re streaming? Do the artist a favour and buy it. Better yet, get the album. Enjoy the gig? Buy the CD: the artist gets more margin there than they would through retail.

And you can patronise me, too (’cause everyone loves being patronised)! My Give-a-little campaign is here. My goal is a modest thousand bucks. It’ll fly me there and back, keep me in pies, accommodate me, and that’s about it. That way, you, them and those guys over there will all be able to get real time updates of what’s cooking.

But the clock is ticking! The conference starts on August 22. My Give-a-little project runs until August 16, just after mid-day.

Oh yeah, plus, I take requests. So if there’s anything or anyone at the conference you’d like us to focus on, you can message that here, or talk to me directly through my website.




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