The Cooperative

Scope Media: An opportunity to redefine an industry and contribute to positive change.

A problem, our opportunity

In recent years there has been a notable deterioration in the quality of reportage in Ireland and the UK. The standard in what is a noble profession has been greatly eroded by the monopolisation of the market, for one. The quality has deteriorated as newspapers attempt to deal with lower readership. They have adopted business models which depend on ‘hits’ on their websites, and have taken a similar approach to the way the print editions are run. 

lesNewspapers are now run strictly as businesses; the emphasis has become solely about generating profit, not high-quality reporting on important issues. It becomes less about holding power to account or uncovering injustices. It becomes less about lending a voice to those without one.

The way forward – to safeguard against this deterioration – is the cooperative model.

The Publication

Our aim is to create Ireland’s first media co-operative, owned and run by the people of Dublin. We want to re-establish integrity within the industry and provide people with an independent, democratically run, transparent and accountable publication which will report on important issues in a fresh and engaging way. The aim is to generate thousands of members who will have access to free events and workshops in Dublin which we will organise, have a say in how the publication is run and what areas it should be focusing on.

Our Comprehensive Process

We have developed a methodical process which we will utilise to identify and decide editorial content. Firstly, we will gather information from our members regarding general areas of interest. We will identify key concerns among our members through workshops, debates and other events, and subsequently take on a vote on the direction the subsequent issue will take. Our publication will be receptive to the ideas and concerns of our members. 

How Are We Different?

Broad-based content focus and audience

We will be reaching a broad range of people in the city with a wide range of important issues. Alternative perspectives on local issues are what will distinguish our content. We will be identifying issues and trying to address them in a fresh and engaging way. Much of our reporting will be investigative going forward.

Slow journalism

We will not be making the elementary mistake of chasing breaking news stories. We will be analysing wider issues through investigative journalism and community-based communication. 

Multimedia

We will be utilising engaging methods of media including informative short videos, images, infographs, illustrations, podcasts, etc.

Democratic, Transparent, Accountable

We will be democratically run, wholly transparent and accountable. We aim to establish an ethical charter which will be a guiding document. We will also debate the merits and integrity of content, contentious or otherwise, before among members before making a decision. Going forward we envision voting in an ethical review board which will oversee editorial decisions.

Is There Interest?

We genuinely believe Dublin needs a fresh publication without the constraints of a large corporation controlling it. We believe there is an appetite for something new and engaging. And we believe the cooperative model is the most democratic and sustainable way to offer this.

Our Inspiration

We drew our inspiration for the model from a publication called The Cable, which is based in Bristol. They have grown into a sustainable, democratic and transparent publication in their city. They now have over 1,000 members who contribute an average of £2.50 a month and have published 8 print editions in the city as a result.

Their print publication is aesthetically pleasing, very informative, community-based, engaging, challenging and receptive to the needs of the public in Bristol. They’ve received several grants to continue the good work the are doing and are now at the stage where they can pay a small wage to the people who work on it every day. We believe these models are a way of establishing a publication of integrity, and we believe they are the future of the industry.

How you can get involved

At the moment we are in the process of establishing the cooperative. We are also seeking initial funding to get us off the ground. If you are interested in becoming a member, want to help or contribute in some way or seeking further information please email me at shukibyrne1@gmail.com.

Who are we?

Saar Byrne is a DCU graduate currently working at IBM. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and, later, an MA in Multimedia. He has worked on many projects for groups such as Action Aid and is currently designing software for IBM. Visit his website here.

Shuki Byrne is also an MA graduate in Comparative Literature (DCU). After completing his MA he worked for several online news publications before he began work at INM where he was for more than three years.