Blockchain Journalism Startup Civil Announces Associated Press Partnership

Civil Media Company, a journalism-focused blockchain startup funded by Ethereum cofounder Joseph Lubin’s ConsenSys has announced a groundbreaking partnership with The Associated Press (AP). Announced in a blog post on August 28, 2018, the collaboration will see newsrooms working with Civil gain access to AP news content.

Civil’s Blockchain Journalism

Civil offers a unique opportunity to news organizations like AP, allowing them to reliably establish origin and ownership of content and flexible license content to partners through its easy and enforceable ethereum smart contracts. It also allows for the tracking of usage and consumption of news content across the internet, which helps in the fight against fake news and content theft.

Civil also creates an incentive for ethical behavior when sourcing content, and it rewards high-quality content creators through its CVL token framework. All of this is important to a news giant like AP which like so many other journalism-based organizations is having to revise and revamp its business model in the face of challenging market conditions.

Like many other news organisations, AP has previously expressed an interest in looking into the potential application of blockchain technology to the present journalism business model, particularly with regard to keeping control over its expensively sourced content in the internet age and tracking news supply chains to ensure only the highest journalistic standards are met in sourcing content. Recognising this, Civil aims to plug existing loopholes using its Ethereum-based technology.

An excerpt from the partnership announcement from Civil’s website reads:

“From day one, we’ve said that we’re committed to partnering with organizations large and small that are committed to promoting ethical journalism standards. We’re not trying to reinvent those on Civil; we’re trying to reinvent the way they’re enforced. We want to build a new economy for journalism, where ensuring quality is the primary incentive for all participants.”

What’s in it for AP?

As part of the agreement, AP will deliver local and international news content to Civil, giving all AP-licensed newsrooms instant and easy access to its content through Civil’s platform. According to information made available to the media, AP will own an unspecified number of CVL tokens and fully avail itself of the opportunity presented by Civil to explore blockchain-based solutions for tracking content usage and consumption trends, securing intellectual property rights and supporting ethical journalism.

Expressing optimism about the potential synergies between AP and Civil, Senior vice president for Strategy and Enterprise Development at AP, Jim Kennedy stated:

“AP has been pushing into new digital territory for more than two decades, and Civil is opening up another new space with interesting technology to explore and a commitment to good journalism. We’re eager to help cultivate the space and demonstrate our value to a new set of digital publishers.”

Yesterday’s announcement also revealed that the list of initial participants on the platform apart from AP also includes illustrious names like the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the European Journalism Centre, the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the News Co/Lab at Arizona State University.

In June 2018, The New York Times reported that a group of journalists who left the Denver Post partnered with Civil to start up a publication called the Colorado Sun.

Featured image by Berin Catic

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