Whaleoil 2014 – part 2

This is one of a number of posts I’m doing today on the past and future of Whaleoil.  Here is Part 2, it follows Part 1 (oddly enough)

One of the strengths of Whaleoil is its community.  Rather than being an observer of the media, our readers feel participants in it.

This is a critical difference.

Time and time again, our own readers do research and share the results via the Tipline or directly to the comments section.

Because of the electronic medium, we can integrate this new information as an update or a new article.

Instead of “real journalists, trained and skilled”, we have something vastly more important:  we have each other.  The skill set, experience base and resources available to us as a group far outweigh those of traditional media outlets.

The challenge will be in capturing some of it for the benefit of all of our readers.

And that, in a nutshell, is what Whaleoil is going to achieve this year.  Call it citizen journalism, call it cloud journalism, call it anything you like – there is a thirst, a need, and a deep desire for our people to see their own views reflected in the media.

TV news, current affairs and newspapers have lost a lot of their audience.   Mostly through market and channel fragmentation.  But it also is leaving an increasing number of people feeling there isn’t anything in the media left that speaks their language.

Citizen journalism is of course how journalism started.   The rawness, the honesty, the dreadful bias is all part of it.  Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter, because either way, you can’t ignore it.

The challenges involved in making citizen journalism work are actually simple, but at the same time very hard when you start from scratch.  Luckily (really?  luck?  no luck involved)… I should say, fortuitously, Whaleoil has organically grown from a personal blog of Cameron Slater hitting out at the world to something that is much bigger than him.

Cam remains the main attraction, but you – dear readers – are are other ace in the hole.

Your need to have stories come out, to deliver research results, to do the backroom, non-glamorous, anonymous and sometimes thankless tasks that result in an article being created is now at least half of what makes Whaleoil so popular.

Critics look at Cam Slater and simply can’t understand why his audience is increasing at such an alarming rate!  What they have failed to observe (although we have reminded people of it regularly), is that Whaleoil is a community, a platform as well as Cam Slater the person.

In 2014, Whaleoil is going to focus on you.  Whenever someone says “I can do this, but I can’t do that”, we are going to be the platform to make sure someone else does “that”.  Many of you like to help.  Many of you want to see change.  Few of you will be moved to make a placard and stand outside in protest.

Whaleoil is a vehicle for change.  And we are offering it to you.

Some of the work that needs doing is going to be simple, but it needs a team of people to simply take responsibility for it.  An example:  When a political party makes a statement about policy, it needs to be captured.  What is it they said they are going to do, what are the details, when did they promise it and when are they going to implement it.  All it takes is for someone to scan the news every day and add any policy statements to a document.  Not difficult – can be job shared, and once in place, becomes a valuable public resource.   I suspect even the “real” media will end up using it.

Another example:  We don’t have the resources to fly people to locations in New Zealand to take a picture, do an interview or do some research.  But why fly people there when you already live there and are able and willing to help out?

During 2014, Whaleoil is going to organise the  “Whaleoil Ground Crew”.

We already have some of them.  Travis and I were the start of this.  We now have James, Lux, Michael, Nick, blokeintakapuna and SonovaMin, and many others that don’t seek to be in public eye but are always helping out.

But this effort, when coordinated, is going to be the engine room that will propel Whaleoil into media outlet we can all feel part of.

Ambitious?  Yes.

Could fail?  Of course.

Worth doing?  You bet!

It doesn’t matter if you help us once a month or every day.  When it is your turn to be the right person at the right place at the right time, Whaleoil is going to give you the platform and support to help you do it.

Stay tuned for part 3…


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  • Blokeintakapuna


  • 4077th

    Sounds like a brilliant idea. Let us know what is required and when. I would be interested in having some input.

    In the meantime, comments closed on part 1? Also still having problems with Disqus with random mobile mode and not able to “load more comments” while in mobile mode on my desktop?

    Mac OSX 10.9.1
    Safari 7.0.1

    • ex-JAFA

      I can’t even get Part 1 to load; it just shows some site stats from months ago. Ditto with the “Tony Abbott’s chief business advisor…” post.

      • Cowgirl

        I had that same issue with a couple of stories last week – sounds like a story from September that keeps causing a glitch

        • 4077th

          Yes maybe the dirty “cache”

          • ex-JAFA

            I’ve emptied my cache (and my cash) but it still won’t load.

          • Agent BallSack

            I can load it but its only a picture I can see, no comments. Disqus has been a bit jacked lately

          • ex-JAFA

            I’ve tried other browsers as well, and still no joy.

          • thor42

            I get the same – picture and no comments with the “Comments are now closed” note.

          • GazzW

            Not the first time that “Comments are now closed” has appeared. At least three times in the last few days.

          • ex-JAFA

            If I get the story but Disqus either doesn’t load at all or loads as text-only, I’ve found that it’s usually because the timing coincides with a new post being put live. Going back to the main WO page so the new story loads usually fixes Disqus. Sometimes loading my Disqus history helps as well.

          • Agent BallSack

            Maybe we can get a recap once the mods see we can’t access it. Last night I was getting “Contact a Administrator” instructions from Disqus.

          • Cowgirl

            I’m getting the same now that I’ve back to check. Could read it before. Looks like that same story from September strikes again….

          • ex-JAFA

            Yay, Part 1 is now working for me. I still get the Sep stats image when I try to load the Tony Abbott story, though.

      • RightOfGenghis

        me too. I’ve been tormented by that damn stats site for weeks. Am I paranoid?

  • thor42

    Sounds great! This will be building on one of the real strengths of this blog – the commenters and their wide span of knowledge. Add the ability of us here to use logic and reasoning very strongly and that’s a very potent mix.

    • Cowgirl

      I often find I learn more from the comments on here than the actual story sometimes :)

      • jb

        me too, sometimes

      • motorizer

        Hey quite often I read the first few paragraphs and then a quick scan of the article, THEN straight to the comments and then back to the article for a full read and then comment if I think neccesary.

        • 4077th

          Spot on..

    • dyannt

      Your comments triggered a thought, Thor. How about “adopt a polly”? One or two people in each electorate (and for the list MP’s) keep a very detailed watch on their local MP – what they are saying and doing (or not doing) and bail them up at public meetings with penetrating relevant questions. Maybe the birth of the WhaleOil Media Corps.

      • motorizer

        That’s a very good starting point for everyone I rockon

    • motorizer

      If you did I think its very very important to state facts without the nastyness that the left themselves are so proficient at. No point dragging ourselves don’t to their level. Facts speak for themselves.

      • thor42


  • skyshore


  • Agent BallSack

    News is the desire to be informed. Just like 2 housewives gossiping over the back fence about someone mutual they know, it is current affairs, the details that don’t often get reported. We seem to have a media hell bent on reporting on certain elements of society without offering an opposing view. That’s where Whaleoil has it in spades over traditional media, we are the housewives or the man on the street. Also I thanked the WhaleOil crew last night in a couple of posts – the most important cog who I neglected to mention is CAM himself. Without his tenacity and bulldoggedness we wouldnt have WhaleOil at all so THANKS CAM. For the ability to be able to discuss and disseminate the news and mostly the ability to think for ourselves!

    • Michelle

      Agree totally without Cam we wouldn’t have this, along with his team,

      Keep it up Cam, you have a big year ahead and we are all behind you with your court case and other trials and tribulations you will face for us to be able to have this blog/news medium

  • skyshore

    I can not load part 1 either.

  • LesleyNZ

    It won’t fail. Truth will make sure of that.

  • Michelle

    l can’t get back to part 1 either it loaded earlier for me but not now

  • motorizer

    It may be the hangover talking, but reading this makes be kind of teary eyed. I’m so impressed by the reciprocation. It was months ago when I suggested the whale census that I also suggested a green party log of their whacky policies. I don’t know if it was already in the pipeline for you guys but I thought maybe it was put in the too hard basket. I’m so pleased that you are taking it its full potential across presumably all parties. At election time it will make it so easy to find ammunition for reasons to vote a certain way. And it does need to be that simple because the public in general are very simple in my part of the country. Thanks Pete and crew your fuckin amazing.

    • Our problem is that we have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. This is a great example of ideas coming our way percolating and being put on the must-do list, but without a change in how we going about things, a lot of them will never see daylight.

      What we’re about to do is going to be the hardest thing we’ve done so far, but I think it is worth a crack to find out if we can succeed.