Former Politico editor Tom McGeveran has co-founded a new company called Civil, which aims to use Ethereum-based smart contracts to radically change journalism's centralized and bureaucratic business model. A white paper published last week explains Civil's vision for "self-sustaining journalism." CoinDesk reports:
[Civil] divides journalism into three marketplaces that interact as a "mesh" of services that can be broken down into a series of core components.
Newsrooms enable coverage by identifying "niche and local" topics that audiences members, or "citizens", can either express interest in or not. "Stations" are monetization platforms that allow journalists to price their work "however they want." While "fact-checking-as-a-service" uses tokens to incentivize audience members to identify libel, plagiarism, errors and more.
Listen to what Civil's co-founder Matthew Iles told CoinDesk:
There's costs involved in the centralized business model that we don't think go towards the creation of valuable journalism. And we think there's an opportunity to create efficiencies in that business model that would enable journalism to exist where it currently can't.
I agree, and frankly it was only a matter of time before blockchain started being applied to the failing news industry. The internet has already eroded the power of yesteryear's news conglomerates; the only question was what sustainable business model would replace it. In my mind, a decentralized environment for journalism - one where independent journalists and readers make direct exchanges without the unnecessary overheard and politicalization of a corporate structure - will create more competition and produce better journalism in the long run.