JEEcamp: Kyle Macrae on Scoopt: We’re all entrepreneurs now

They don’t make ’em like Kyle Macrae, the founder of citizen journalism photography site Scoopt, any more – but maybe they should?

Speaking at Friday’s journalism and enterprise ‘unconference’, JEEcamp, Macrae posited that the only option for journalists at the moment is to be entreprenuerial.

Macrae sold Scoopt to Getty Images in March 2007, before the photography giant shuttered the site in February this year.

Macrae outlined some of the issues with the idea behind Scoopt:

  • every mainstream media organisation that bought into the idea of user-generated content e.g. send us your pictures of snow – took away from Scoopt’s business
  • Scoopt needed a default route to market for all valuable content e.g. a partnership with Flickr was discussed, where users posting potentially valuable images could click to sell
  • there isn’t an unlimited market for editorial photography
  • Scoopt wasn’t sticky enough – “People would register on site and then wait the rest of their lives for something to happen”

It was impossible to scale the business on a regional level

But, says, Macrae, selling the site was always his ‘exit strategy’ – something all entrepreneurs should have from the start and there were some very valuable nuggets of advice for budding independents in his presentation:

  • try to step outside of the journalism sector before starting a journalism business – you’ll spot more opportunities this way
  • similarly, get someone to sanity check your business – preferably someone outside the industry
  • pay less attention to what the ‘usual commentators’ are saying when considering if you’re idea is good
  • in an ideal world, you’d have the funding in place first, but start as you mean to go on – think about where the money is going to come from from the very beginnning

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