I am a communicator, online media expert, journalist, editor, publisher, story-teller, entrepreneur and truth seeker. I have 18 years experience running a digital communications business at the heart of New Zealand's small and healthy democracy and am now seeking to use my skills at a global level.

Work History

Work History

Publisher, Editor, Director, Co-Founder

Scoop Independent News
Jun 1999 - Present

I founded, developed and managed the business from its creation in 1999 till now. ( Please Note: As this business makes up the bulk of my life's work I have addressed this and its relevance to the position I am applying for at World Economic Forum in a separate document entitled "Alastair Thompson & Scoop  A Biographical Sketch" )

Political Editor and Co-Founder

Dec 1996 - Jun 1999

One of two co-founders of a news startup based around the idea of digitising the inboxes of the New Zealand Press Gallery. I had been a member of the Press Gallery since mid 1994. I led the editorial direction of the website, reported on Press Conferences, covered Parliament's question time and simultaneously continued a freelance writing career.

Editor Straight Furrow Newspaper

Straight Furrow Newspaper
Jul 1996 - May 1999

As a contractor I edited the fortnightly newspaper published by Federated Farmers, the Farming lobby group. The newspaper  had a circulation of 90,000 copies and was distributed to every rural delivery address in New Zealand. The job ended when Federated Farmers sold the publication and it was merged with another farming newspaper.

Feature Writer

North & South Magazine
Jan 1995 - Jul 1995

I wrote longform in-depth feature articles (5000-10000 words) as a senior feature writer for a period of six months. During this period my son Gregor was born. The position also allowed me to work at home and look after him.

Investigative Reporter

National Business Review
Dec 1993 - Jan 1995

As a result of winning several awards for investigative journalism at The Dominion I was head-hunted to join the team at the National Business Review, an independent business publication based  in Auckland. While there I reported on corporate fraud, tax evasion and corruption in high places.  In mid 1994 I relocated from Auckland to Wellington and joined the NZ Parliamentary Press Gallery. I continued to work on  investigations while also contributing to the political reporting team.

General Reporter

Dominion Newspaper
Aug 1989 - Dec 1993

My first journalism position. The Dominion was the capital city's morning newspaper and along with the New Zealand Herald is regarded as one of New Zealand's two national daily newspaper.s I trained on the job beginning as a cadet reporter, hired on the strength of two freelance feature articles published in a leading current affairs magazine, The Listener. At The Dominion I started as a reporter for a technology supplement before moving to the general reporting pool. Later I served for 15 months as arts reporter before moving on to news feature reporting. In 1992 I won the Qantas Junior Reporter of the Year award, and in 1993 was a finalist in the Senior Feature Writing category. Also in that year I won several awards for a series of articles written about a legal fraud case including the Westpac Business Reporting Award and the Jubilee Prize for Investigative Journalism - which was awarded by the Journalists Union. For nine months prior to leaving I worked as a courts reporter.



BA / LLb

Victoria University of Wellington
Mar 1988 - Oct 1999

Part time studies studying English, History and Law with a break from 1990 to 1995. Completed stages 1 and 2 Law and stage 2 History. Studies stopped in 1999 when I founded Scoop Independent news.

BA / BSc

University of Canterbury
Jan 1987 - Nov 1987

Studied history, philosophy, maths and physics at first year level.


Age : 45

Nationality : Of Scottish ancestry, with dual British/NZ citizenship

Family : Wife (of 18 years) Wendy Cooper, 3 grownup sons, David, George and Gregor.

Interests : Writing, Reading, History, Philosophy, Futurism, Journalism, Weather, Foreign Affairs, Humanism

Hobbies : Exercise (Gym), Walking, Skiing, Photography

Health : Good



Gordon Campbell - Veteran NZ Journalist And Scoop Political Editor

"Alastair has been a pleasure and inspiration to work with. He brings an extraordinary level of energy to the tasks before him, and his strong work ethic and sense of social commitment are remarkable. Unusually so for a New Zealand journalist, Alastair has always shown a strong interest in international affairs, from US domestic politics to developments in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. .... I would recommend Alastair to any position of editorial or journalistic responsibility, and especially so for work with an international focus and a human rights dimension. He would bring creativity, integrity, and an exceptionally high work output under pressure to any tasks required of him. "


I have been in the NZ Parliamentary Press Gallery rubbing shoulders with politicians, Ministers, Prime Ministers, mandarins, lobbyists and political stakeholders for 20 years. Scoop Independent News is a business built on servicing the needs of these people in particular and I have learned a great deal about politics, how it is practiced, what works and why and how things break over that period.
With nearly 20 years experience in online media I have experienced a lot of change, built two businesses, switched business models multiple times and worked with lots of clients on their strategic goals. I have consulted on several large scale campaigns and wrote the strategy for and led the creation of the nascent Aotearoa New Zealand Public Interest Journalism Foundation.
With 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and publisher I have a great deal of writing experience in a wide variety of forms including reporting, feature writing, travel writing, arts writing, interviews, reports, strategy documents, briefs, reverse briefs and board papers.
Web Development Project Management
My experience in Web Development is at the project management and CMS execution level rather than at the coding level. I have managed numerous website re-designs and launches and have managed the building and maintenance of web installations from the hardware level right up the stack for the past 18 years. All of the web development work that I have undertaken has been done on small budgets within tight time constraints and with a few small exceptions everything I have sought to achieve has been completed on time and on budget.
Web Content
Building excellent webcontent requires melding together design, imagery, interactivity and presentation. I have launched and delivered multiple websites on multiple platforms for many different purposes. I have a good overview and understanding of user interface (UX) design, visual design, readability and information architecture and the disciplines involved in each of these specialties without being a specialist in any of the individual disciplines.
Technical Tool Set
My extensive web experience includes experience with the following software and web tools : FreeBSD (OS) , Linux Debian/Ubuntu (OS), Apache, Perl, Mod-Perl, Mason, Php, Varnish, Squid Proxy, HTML, CSS, Google Apps, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Google+, Optimizely, Picasa, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, Facebook Analytics, Youtube, Youtube Analytics, Instagram, Linkedin, MOZ Pro, Optimizely, Mailchimp, Thunderclap, Wordpress (CMS) , Drupal (CMS) , Silverstripe (CMS), Medium
At the heart of all communications is the art of story telling. In journalism the first stage in the production process is to find the truth. Stage two is turning that into a story which is compelling, attractive and achieves the objectives that you as writer wish of it, or in the case of a communications project, the objectives being set. Story telling is my art.
Photography for me is both a hobby and part of my professional skill set. I am a skilled digital news reporter/photographer (as opposed to being a professional expert photographer) and have been using digital cameras since they were invented in the late 1990s. I can readily to take photos in many different news and event situations for use in social media and online advertising as well as images to illustrate websites and stories.
After managing Scoop since 1999 I am well aware that I still have a great deal to learn about people and how to get the best out of them. That said I have a good record of management and have achieved a low rate of staff turnover over an extended period of time and consider myself relatively skilled at motivating and directing staff. I have rated myself as an intermediate in this skill level due to the fact that Scoop has always been a relatively small business and at its peak had 13 staff.
I have been in positions of editorial leadership for 18 years and business leadership for 15 years. In recent years I have also taken a role in professional leadership within the wider sphere of independent online media.
Breaking News
During a lengthy 25 year career in journalism I have never stopped writing breaking news and am still able to do so competently, quickly and accurately.
Online Journalism
As the founder and editor of two online news websites and with 18 years of experience in the game this is my major specialty area of expertise with experience in many different facets of the production, commercialisation and management.
Investigative Reporting
In my early career I won several awards for Investigative journalism and have maintained a strong interest in it every since. The art of inquiry is one requiring persistence and creativity. While I haven't engaged in any recent investigative work I remain closely connected to practitioners in NZ and have supervised several investigative projects in recent years as an editor.
Publishing is the art of producing content which people wish to read and commercialising that activity. I have been engaged in that for the past 18 years in a very fast moving and very difficult market. Scoop Independent News is far and away the largest independent online publication in NZ by audience size and this is something I am very proud of.
Content Strategy
Both Scoop and its numerous subsites are all content strategy plays. Whereas individual pieces of content can have strategic significance, content streams over time can influence society's understanding of certain issues in a manner which is not well understood. Content and ideas flow, mingle and influence society in an often slightly magical manner and understanding these flows and how they work is something that I have spent most of my professional life working on.
Media Relations
As a long-time practitioner of journalism from the journalistic side of the fence I am familiar with many of the tricks employed on the other side of the game. As a general rule my view is that when dealing with the media one needs to be honest, open, transparent and helpful - as much as is possible in the circumstances.
Public Speaking
I have spoken in public on numerous occasions to groups large and small. I can write a good speech and worked briefly as a ministerial speech writer in 1999. I have also spoken on television and radio on numerous occasions (mostly as an expert commentator).
Social Media and Social Media Marketing
Keeping up with the latest trends in communications technology has always been at the heart of my business practice in order to be ready to deal with the rapid rates of change which are endemic in the online media industry. I was an early adopter of Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and am an expert user of all three networks. Before these technologies were invented I was an experienced participant in online forums where I have learned both how to communicate and how not to communicate in the social media environment.
Making online content readable for machines as well as people is a key and often over-looked skill set in the online publishing area. I am an experienced user of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools as well as the leading SEO measurement subscription tool MOZ. I understand the importance of meta-data and the forms that it needs to be in to help the machine parts of the internet wrangle with online content.