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Could blockchain save journalism? : An explorative study of blockchain’s potential to make journalism a more sustainable business
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1993-5696
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3017-3813
2019 (English)In: Blockchain and Web 3.0: Social, Economic, and Technological Challenges / [ed] Massimo Ragnedda & Giuseppe Destefanis, Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2019, 1, p. 97-113Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Ever since the Bitcoin phenomenon gained momentum in recent years, much has been written about blockchain applications and prospects in the FinTech industry, business and healthcare. Yet, very little if any scholarly work has been done to study how the peer-to-peer, decentralized and highly disruptive blockchain technology may impact or be used by news media and journalists. This article is an effort to contribute to the body of scholarship on journalism as well as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) by exploring blockchain’s potential applications and challenges when dealing with journalism's most fundamental pillars such as fact checking, data gathering and analysis.

The study explores two case studies demonstrating distinct uses of permissionless blockchains. The first revolves around blockchains as a source of information that could be used by data journalists to extract valuable insights regarding payment transactions and network formation as illustrated by the investigative reporting done on the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack.

The second case study is around the use of the technology as a basis for revolutionizing journalism as an industry by leveraging the technology’s core characteristics, namely decentralisation, immutability and transparency. The latter case study will look into two ongoing journalistic projects namely the Distributed News Network and Civil, which promise allowing the creation and management of content without centralized control or even a centralized newsroom in ways that could effectively limit the spread of fake news and propaganda.

The paper analyses the objectives, methods and limitations of the case studies and uses interviews and content analysis of empirical data obtained from primary sources. By reflecting on Rogers’ theory of the diffusion of innovation, the study assesses the impact of blockchains in comparison to other earlier technologies such as the diffusion of the Internet.

It is hoped that the conclusions drawn from this study could help inform journalists and media about the potential uses and limitations of blockchain technology in journalism as well as initiate a scholarly curiosity with a futuristic outlook to understanding the role of cutting edge and disruptive technologies on society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2019, 1. p. 97-113
Series
Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society ; 41
Keywords [en]
blockchain, journalism, disinformation, Ethereum, media, bitcoin, data journalism, fake news, distributed ledger technologies
National Category
Media Studies
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Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38804DOI: 10.4324/9780429029530ISBN: 9780367139841 (print)ISBN: 9780429029530 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38804DiVA, id: diva2:1346762
Available from: 2019-08-29 Created: 2019-08-29 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved

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