One final article – a goodbye

29 Jun 2023 Nick Garbutt    Last updated: 2 Jul 2023

The time is right for Scope to close. It’s been a decade of long reads, alternative journalism, and the opportunity for important issues to have a platform. And – hopefully – some good insights.

This version of Scope began almost a decade ago. We wanted to give a voice to people and organisations who had important things to say, and who might have struggled to find a platform elsewhere. Hopefully we succeeded.

We want to thank NICVA for choosing to fund Scope in the first place, and for continuing to support it for so long. Their commitment to our independence was also exemplary – we wrote around a thousand articles, and they never asked us to change a word. This was a fine contribution to journalism and its fundamental purpose: giving people easy access to important information and concepts that are relevant to their lives.

Scope quickly found its feet as a magazine focused on slow journalism. Articles were relatively long but still concise (mostly). Sometimes they lasered in on breaking news, sometimes they looked at interesting tales from hundreds of years ago. The aim was to let readers chew on the smaller details within larger ideas.

Our coverage of health has been a particular highlight. We started writing about the need for a transformation of services at a time when the dynamics slowly crushing Northern Ireland’s health system were less widely appreciated than they are now. If we contributed to any improvement in the crucial public conversation that exists in parallel to health reform, it’s something of which we can be very proud.

Things change, however. Funding a magazine is not part of NICVA’s core mission and, given the immense pressures on the third sector, it is unsurprising that Scope is winding down. Those financial realities, combined with the fact that the two of us have been writing these articles for ten years, mean the time is right for this version of Scope to close.

So, this final article is a goodbye. We want to thank NICVA, once again, for all their support. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the magazine over the years. And, of course, we want to thank our readers for deeming us worthy of attention (and for all the nice emails thanking us for our work). More than anything else, we want to acknowledge the memory of our late colleague, Patrick Sanders. Patrick, who died in 2017, was a key member of Scope from the beginning. He was a great man – intelligent, caring and warm – and his illustrations were the best part of our articles. We never even thought about replacing him, it would have been an impossible task. The image at the top of this article is his first cartoon for Scope. There could be no better way to sign off.

Scope will continue to exist online as a great resource for anyone seeking to understand all sorts of issues that impact on Northern Ireland. We thought about linking to some of our favourite articles here, to provide a flavour of our writing. However, maybe the best way to do that is to simply look at the final articles from both of us: a historical reflection on the incredible achievements of the Belfast Charitable Society from Nick, and Ryan’s helter-skelter look at the future of the jobs market.

That was Scope, in a nutshell. Every week, you never knew what you were going to get. Hopefully you enjoyed it all.

Thanks, Nick and Ryan.

Join the Conversation...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Join us on Twitter and join the conversation today.

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest edition of ScopeNI delivered to your inbox.