On the landing page of its website, Civil describes itself as "a diverse marketplace for local, international, investigative and policy journalism." On the "about page", it calls itself "the decentralized marketplace for sustainable journalism." Both of these sound good, but to get a better understanding of Civil, we need to take a look at its white paper. Here, we learn that:
Civil makes it possible for Forbes to gain a better understanding of blockchain technology and how publishing on the blockchain "can increase trust with audiences". Also, it "allows Forbes to assess emerging opportunities that can potentially unlock new forms of audience engagement and drive additional revenue streams."
Salah Zalatimo, Senior Vice President of Product & Technology at Forbes said:
“We are relentlessly focused on rapid experimentation and implementation so that we can determine what’s in the best interest of our audience and what is next for our industry. Forbes and Civil believe passionately in the mission of journalism, and together we can provide audiences with a level of unprecedented transparency around our content. We’ll also be able to expand the reach of our writers and identify new revenue channels over time.”
Matthew Iles, the CEO of The Civil Media Company had this to say:
“Civil’s mission is to power sustainable journalism throughout the world, and Forbes’ commitment to regularly publish content on our platform is a major milestone for our approach. We look forward to working with Forbes as we connect with a broader audience interested in new, more direct ways to discover, share and support ethical journalism.”
Under the agreement with Civil, Forbes will start publishing metadata from "select articles" (initially, this is expected to be crypto-related content) to the Etherum blockchain via Civil in Q1 2019. If things go well, Forbes may decide to publish metadata for all of its articles at some later date in 2019. The press release says that publishing such metadata "will indelibly establish the author’s identity and credibility, as well as the expert nature of participating sources".
An article that has had its metadata published to the blockchain will have a Civil "badge" next to it on Forbes.com to indicate "that the content has been inscribed into the blockchain and is published in accordance with Civil’s journalistic values, as detailed in the Civil Constitution." Another benefit is that the "act of publishing Forbes metadata on Civil also serves as the starting point for potential licensing and syndication technologies in the future."
Axios, which got the scoop on this story, explains why this partnership is important:
"Many publishers are skeptical of introducing blockchain technology into their supply chains, because it’s new and it’s difficult to understand. Forbes is sending a message to the industry that they think blockchain for journalism is the future."
According to Axios, Forbes has its own content management system (CMS) called "Bertie." This will need to get integrated with Civil's software.
On 28 August 2018, Techcrunch reported that Civil, the blockchain startup "that wants to save the journalism industry by leveraging the blockchain and cryptoeconomics" had partnered with the 172-year-old Associated Press "to help the wire service stop bad actors from stealing its content."
The Civil CEO told Techcrunch:
“We have a problem now of not even just dealing with literal fake news, but dealing with the social aspects of people not really knowing what to trust anymore because people are throwing around allegations. We think [Civil] is going to create far better signals for consumers to really know if a news organization is trusting and credible, despite whatever powerful people might be saying.”
Featured Image Courtesy of The Civil Media Company