Where Does Blockchain Fit in the Future of Journalism?

Written by Rony Roy

Blockchain is used for many things: it is the baseline for cryptocurrency, it is used for voting purposes, recording supply chains, and so on. As blockchain becomes more commercialized, there is a greater exploration of the various sectors of life that it can be applied to. One of these is journalism, particularly as it moves into the digital space.

On paper, it might not be obvious how blockchain can be used to benefit the practice of journalism but it does so in many ways, mainly record-keeping and fact-checking.

The Evolving Nature of Journalism

For the last decade or so, sales of print publications have been declining as there is much more focus on new media such as websites, blogs, and social media. This means that more news than ever before is being reported and consumed in a faster manner. 

With that has come a whole new set of challenges, particularly the spread of fake news, financial incentives due to the decline of print, and the proper cataloging of information as it happens. With conspiracy theories running rampant these days, the rise of deep fakes, and record low levels of trust in the media, journalism as a profession is under more scrutiny than ever before, with its future survival hanging in the balance. 

Journalists in more restricted parts of the world have also faced many obstacles in doing their jobs such as censorship, a lack of financial and imprisonment. The internet has had the double effect of giving the world, and journalists, more access to content and an audience than ever before but also presenting challenges on how to effectively manage this responsibility. 

The last few years, in particular, have shown how important both authenticity and record-keeping are to journalism and it is suggested that blockchain could provide a solution to both issues. 

How Blockchain Addresses Issues

In terms of combating fake news and record-keeping issues, blockchain offers a solution simply because it offers irrefutable record keeping. If a transaction or piece of content is recorded across a blockchain, it cannot be removed or changed. This means that stories can be reported in real-time and once they are, they cannot be deleted. 

For journalists who work in newsrooms, a potential website crash or the closure of the publication will not mean the removal of important reporting. All over the world, historians and archeologists have been forced to piece together accounts of the past due to lost or destroyed records from various points in time. With blockchain, the next generation can have a wealth of information about current times at their disposal which can help prevent misinterpretation and re-writing of history.

Blockchain has also been used by people in oppressive government to record atrocities taking place and criticisms of said government because content recorded on blockchains cannot be deleted or changed, making them permanent timestamps in history. Fact-checking as a business is now bigger than ever and the use of blockchain means that this can be done more efficiently and with fewer errors.

In terms of financial incentives, journalists often have to be employed by traditional newsrooms or publications in order to make a living, and the financial interests of such organizations can be at odds with journalistic integrity. With blockchain, both smaller, independent newsrooms and independent journalists can earn a living through crypto donations and regular patronage. 

This way, journalists can continue to work unhindered and without the financial constraints of being bankrolled by mainstream institutions. This method is likely to become more popular as print sales are declining and thus, there are fewer spaces for journalists in newsrooms. 

Blockchain has a great deal to offer the world of journalism moving forward and most of this can be boiled down to authenticity. With blockchain, consumers can be more trusting of the facts they are given, journalists can immortalize their work and create independent sources of income.

This post is published for Cryptowriter in association with Voice.

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