Newsnet Scotland – an update of recent events

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    Today, as with every other day, Newsnet Scotland brings you news, comment and opinion on a variety of subjects.  It’s the end of a week that has evidenced some ‘growing pains’ in the continued evolution of this news site.

    However, clarification of what has happened is necessary if we are to continue to enjoy the trust of regular visitors and contributors.  In particular the destination of donations and our understanding of current funding needs explaining.

    On March 12th this year the site was handed over to a, now former, team member with a  view to professionalising content and structure.  It was hoped that by presenting a more corporate image we would facilitate growth in terms of advertising revenue, donations and of course professional copy.

    There was limited success in all three areas, but crucially the organisation remained a hybrid of dedicated unpaid volunteers and equally dedicated professionals.  This hybrid was not suited to the restrictive nature of the formal corporate structures put in place and the opportunity for justified criticism and constructive dialogue all but disappeared – a two tier entity emerged that was mutually incompatible.

    With hindsight the plan was probably ahead of its time and checks and balances had not been prepared.  Subsequently pressures built as the formal corporate entity was unable to deal with the pressing day to day issues and concerns – it was no-one’s fault and everyone’s fault.

    This week we have abandoned this corporate venture and decided on a new approach that will build slowly on the volunteers who contribute to the site.  We are still absolutely committed to bringing in professionals, but this will a more gradual process than before.

    This will of course rely on a consistent revenue stream and adverts will be one way to achieve this.  Donations of course are also a source of revenue.

    Prior to handover Newsnet Scotland did not make direct appeals for donations, we felt that the button that inhabited the right hand side was sufficient and occasionally we would leave a reminder at the bottom of articles.  Since handover we witnessed appeals, very successful appeals, and a new dedicated donations system was put in place which has led to a significant five figure sum being donated via the paypal account.

    These funds were controlled by the corporate side and, we understand, used in order to pay for professional copy and other costs accrued as a result of the corporate venture.  We have been informed that the monies remaining will be used in order to settle outstanding debts yet to be paid as a result of that venture.

    The team now operating the site were not privy to funding arrangements, this was quite proper and finances were controlled by the board.  However this has left us with no information as to what funds currently remain and who currently has access to the monthly donations made via paypal.

    We have therefore removed these paypal buttons from this site but can do nothing about automatic payment previously set up.  As these funds are currently not under our control and therefore inaccessible to us, we cannot guarantee that they will be forwarded to us.  It will be up to each individual to form a judgement on whether they wish to cancel their monthly donation.  In time, our site will re-introduce a similar facility, we will announce this clearly when we do.

    As far as advertising revenue is concerned we understand that this goes to the Santander account.  This account is administered by the board on behalf of Newsnet Scotland ltd, a company limited by guarantee.  We have asked that any surplus funds from this account be forwarded to us for the benefit of the dot com site.  We have also enquired as to the possibility of the account remaining active for the use of this site.  If this is not possible then we will set up our own Limited by Guarantee Company and bank account.

    Another site was set up on Thursday by two former colleagues disenchanted with our decision to end the corporate control structure.  This site is not endorsed by those of us at Newsnet Scotland.com and we hope that those behind it will realise it has no future and is causing confusion.  Steps have been taken to have the site closed down and we are confident this will come to pass.  We can though say that confidential data remains secure and no third party will have access to it, of that we are sure.

    We would like to take the opportunity to thank those gentlemen who gave of their time in attempting to make the corporate venture work – it is appreciated.  They found themselves in a situation not of their making and we would like to issue our heartfelt gratitude to Harry McGrath, Stephen Maxwell and of course George Kerevan for their efforts; to each we would say that our door remains open.

    Today is just another day, we are here and we will be here tomorrow.  With your continued support we will be here for a good while to come.

    Newsnet Scotland{jcomments on}{jcomments lock}

     

    An email was sent out on Thursday evening informing members that the dot com site was still active and would remain so.  The email may have shown a dot org origin but was genuine.