Veteran journalists in Colorado are using the blockchain to build a news startup which is ad-free, reader-supported and owned by readers with its data recording on the blockchain, writes The Durango Herald.

Two US newspapers, The Colorado Sun, and its partner, the Civil Media Co, are planning to completely break with tradition by adopting blockchain to hopefully start a new trend of news sources which are not subject to corporate pressure and reliant on advertising.

Due to shrinking revenues, papers are looking for new ways to run successful businesses without losing money. The Colorado Sun itself was previously a victim of the changing requirements of its readership and its management and finally separated from the Denver Post, due to layoffs and unwanted editorial input by its owner.

Larry Ryckman, the editor of the Sun, and former senior editor for news at the Denver Post, sees blockchain as offering much-needed accountability and transparency. Also, others in support of such changes within the press industry see the structure of blockchain as being beneficial as it could stem the tide of doctored news stories and “fake news”. Essentially, as stories would now be verified and protected from manipulation, these factors would add a much-needed transparency to where news comes from and who writes it.

The Sun’s cooperation with Civil Media Co is one shared by other newspapers, 12 in all. The Civil platform has pledged grants of USD 1 million to the projects which are now collectively hiring 100 full-time journalists working on their decentralized model.

The Denver Post‘s previous owner, hedge fund management company Aden Global Capital, made editorial changes that were eventually too much for new Sun editor Ryckman:

“We are no longer working for some evil hedge fund. We are working for ourselves, for each other… We’ve all lived under corporate journalism, we have all worked for hedge funds and we have seen what that looks like. It’s a world where profits drive decisions.”

Under the new model, newsrooms will receive compensation directly from readers who can give publications money using traditional credit card vendors and cryptocurrencies, writes the Herald. The Sun itself will rely on subscribers, donors and investors for its income.

Civil’s token, CVL, will release this year as part of the company’s decentralized model to support journalism.

 

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