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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.