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The Future of Journalism on the Blockchain

June 18, 2018


Yesterday, the New York Times reported that several former Denver Post journalists and editorial staff have teamed up with a ConsenSys startup called the Civil Media Company in order to start a Blockchain-based, local news outlet.


The New York Times stated that the outlet plans to be an online newspaper that reports on local, Colorado stories, called the Colorado Sun. What isn’t quite clear is exactly how the Blockchain will give such a venture a competitive advantage.


Apparently, The Sun will use a Blockchain which will be provided by the Civil Media Company, to store any data that it generates and uses. All in all, the Colorado Sun aims to be, according to Coin Telegraph, a venture that is not only well-supported by its local community but also completely owned by the journalists that work for it.


This form of ownership, which was inspired by the heavy interference of the Post’s owners in the editorial process, could lead to another use case for the Blockchain, on top of what has already been mentioned.


If the company is owned by its employees, then everything that it does could be disclosed openly on its private blockchain, in order to promote transparency and therefore the view that equal ownership exists, across the business.


According to the same report by Coin Telegraph, the Sun also wants to be a news site that is focused on journalism which analyzes and explores the changes that Colorado is undergoing, while remaining ad-free.


Given that almost every traditional newspaper is moving more towards completely depending on advertisements, the Sun’s choice poses an interesting question.


How can an online newspaper sustain a consistent revenue stream without advertisements? As of now, what’s clear is that it is beginning by running a Kickstarter campaign, with the goal of raising $75,000 to get the business going.


On their Kickstarter page, they also clarified their business model, saying that the outlet would be subscription based as well as dependent on donations.


At this point, it is natural to wonder what their differentiators will be to set them apart from traditional newspapers, which are now typically dependent on subscriptions in addition to revenue from advertisements.


What this comes down to is Civil Media Company’s grand vision, as it will effectively act as the parent company for the Colorado Sun as well as around 1,000 similar firms that it plans to lead, this year.


Both the Colorado Sun and the Civil Media Company are trying to solve the central problems of the journalism industry today, which they see as being the facts that it is ad-driven as well as that what is published depends on what the shareholders in a small group of private companies want to see.


In short, these companies want to put journalism back into the hands of the common man.


 In the case of the Sun, this means that they want to be the place where the average Colorado citizen can read about what it means to live “the Colorado Lifestyle,” as well as read stories about politics, business and the environment that aren’t usually covered in traditional news outlets.


This is their big draw, put together with the fact that all of their writers and editors are already apparently trusted voices in the industry.


As of now, as mentioned above, the Blockchain could be used to promote consistent trust in the business, but it isn’t clear whether the Sun plans to do this or not, at this point.


As the Kickstarter campaign ends and the site goes live, it will be interesting to see if it can consistently generate revenue, while operating in opposition to the industry’s prevailing business model.




By: BGN Editorial Staff


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