World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Blockchain and the Future of News (Executive Summary)

Blockchain and the Future of News (Executive Summary)


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By Stephen Fozard, Project Director, Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI):

The blockchain concept dates from 2008, and the first attempts to apply it to publishing took place in the middle of the following decade.

Since that time, many startups have developed blockchain-based applications for publishing. Many of them are idealistic efforts that promise something like a return to the early days of the World Wide Web, before large publishing companies and platforms took over.

Now, the startups typically say, not only can every user publish their own content, but thanks to these blockchain-driven applications, they can protect, control, and derive and exchange value from that content – independently of major publishers and platforms.

In the face of such bold claims, GAMI took it upon itself to try to understand this highly technical topic and find out what it could realistically mean for media companies and media professionals in the next couple of years.

In October 2016, Helene Juhola, who was then director of the Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland (and a member of the GAMI board), told us that researchers at Arcada University were preparing a report on blockchain technology and its implications for news media.

The first version of the report was published in Finnish in March 2017. In June of that year, at WAN-IFRA's World News Media Congress in Durban, South Africa, Dr. Mats Nylund, one of the three co-authors (the other two are Petri Honkanen and Magnus Westerlund), presented the report.

Discussions followed as to how to develop the initiative for an international audience through the WAN-IFRA and GAMI network. It was decided to collaborate and publish an updated report on blockchain and media in English. The executive summary will be followed later this month by a condensed, edited, and updated version of the original report.

The aim of the report is to answer the question, "Why should I as a news publisher care about blockchain?"

Case studies

The executive summary includes two case studies:

  • Civil, a platform for independent “newsrooms” that are accountable not to foreign owners, governments or advertisers, but purely to their readers. We interviewed Vivian Schiller, CEO of Civil Foundation, for the report.
  • Publiq, which is proposing an open, neutral blockchain system where the community itself monitors credibility. We interviewed Gagik Yeghiazarian, Publiq’s CEO and co-founder.

Additional case studies and other content will be published in the full report.

Petri Honkanen, Dr. Mats Nylund, and Magnus Westerlund
Cooperating Institutes:
Arcada University


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2018-10-01 14:30

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