The Role Of Blockchain In Enhancing Media And Journalism Integrity

The digital era has brought journalists a great deal of fresh possibilities as well as new troubles. With universal access to the internet, attitudes to news have altered and the overall flow within the journalism industry has changed completely. With more effective channels to spread news, such as newspapers’ websites and social media, has come massive competition for readers’ attention and dependence on sponsors.

Blockchain is gradually conquering the media industry, promising to improve credibility and transparency of workflow. It is expected that the global blockchain market in media and entertainment will be worth $1 billion by 2023.

Can blockchain help journalists make their work more efficient and coherent, reduce their dependence on advertisements, and still attract an audience? You will find the answers in this article as well as learning about key applications of blockchain in journalism, and discovering some real solutions leveraging the technology.

What are the major difficulties faced by journalism?

Globalization and the need to cover an immense amount of news while competing with hundreds of publishers and media outlets creates great tension in the field of journalism. Reporters struggle with hardships such as the flow of fake news, the need to satisfy the interests of advertisers, media consolidation, censorship and the suppression of freedom of speech. Let’s take a closer look at these difficulties.

  • Fake news — either by mistake or intentionally, journalists often spread fake information that can result in reputational disaster for the parties mentioned. The numbers speak volumes — 86% of internet users admit being fooled by fake news. The necessity to cover the news right then and there even worsens the situation, leaving little time for reporters to gather truthful evidence and do thorough research on the matter. This leads to frequent mistakes, misinformation and, consequently, lack of trust from the audience.
  • Focus on profit margins — to continue functioning publishers have to satisfy the advertisers and promote their products and services even if they are of low quality and value. Also, information that is unfavorable for sponsoring companies can intentionally be omitted or changed.
  • Media consolidation — unable to survive in this highly competitive environment, independent news providers are being swallowed up by huge media conglomerates. In 1983 the USA had 50 dominant media corporations whereas nowadays the number has shrunk to 5: AT&T, Comcast, Disney, News Corp and ViacomCBS. This leads to less pluralism in news topics, an increase in biased reporting, and less local news.
  • Censorship — many countries do not allow journalists to cover certain topics and punish them by shutting down publishing companies, withdrawing press credentials, and even imprisonment. According to the survey of the Committee to Protect Journalists, 293 reporters were jailed and at least 24 journalists killed in 2021. Such conditions make it extremely dangerous to publish anything that may be viewed as provocative.

How blockchain solves the problems of journalism: key use cases

Using blockchain in journalism to fight fake news

Blockchain brings solutions to some of the biggest challenges faced by journalism. Here is an overview of the benefits that can ensue when journalism collaborates with blockchain technology.

Crypto payments for authors

Incentives from readers and followers can enhance journalists’ motivation to investigate and write better. With cryptocurrencies readers can send money straight to the authors, skipping intermediaries. This can not only boost the quality of the content but is also a great option to support independent outlets and those covering controversial topics.

If authors are supported directly by their audience, they are much less dependent on money from advertisers. Consequently, media outlets can choose what promotional campaigns to say yes to and which ones to reject.

Incentives for reader input

Good journalists always need trustworthy sources of information and a good deal of human evidence. That is why it is so important to have engaged readers who willingly share what they know. And incentives in the form of crypto coins or tokens are a great option to stimulate reader involvement. It can work not only for informers, but also as a means of motivation to leave a comment or share an article.