The Future of Daily News is Independent News
Michael O’Sullivan has found a unique way of confronting the crisis in daily news journalism: he’s created Bywire News to promote quality independent news reporting. Here he explains the thinking behind the project which places the interests of readers at its heart.
Trust in politicians and political campaigns is diminishing. Fake news may soon inform more people than real news. Social media already does. Opinion is becoming fact. News is unable to deliver a profitable business model. Journalists are forced to become freelancers with little business protection. Social media organisations are broken, selling users’ privacy and refusing to remunerate creators.
The real dangers, however, seem to stem from the hyper personalisation of our content or news feeds. News cannot be customised by our political or personal preferences; this very notion is antithetical to facts. Shared facts become shared truth. A shared truth is an identity. Without an identity, there can be no principles and morals become flexible at best.
Readership is also collapsing. Ownership is more concentrated than ever following a series of corporate takeovers. Daily News stories are spun by ‘official sources’ and priorities blurred by advertising paymasters. Simultaneously, advertising revenues are disappearing thanks to a collapse of both print and digital revenue, accelerated by ad-blockers and social media data capture, which is now far more effective than ‘blanket’ advertising in traditional media. These problems are experienced deeply by those report for independent news media.
This crisis in profitability is killing good journalism, destroying critical reporting and, in the process, creating vast swathes of unregulated comment and opinion that increasingly polarises public discourse.
Having worked in politics for many years, in particular on political campaigning, I have seen first-hand how news is generated, manipulated and regurgitated through opinionated news outlets masquerading as honest, owned by those with vested interests. Churnalism, as coined by Nick Davies, means that important stories are left unchallenged and unverified. News wires like AP and Reuters dominate news coverage and account for more than 70 per cent of all stories consumed each day. Journalists are forced to use these wires as the demands on story production are too unrealistic, with some needing to produce 10 stories a day or more.
There is an opportunity to rebuild the news media publishing sector in a profitable but, most importantly, ethical way. Bywire News was created to for this purpose: to create an ethical and financial revolution, returning trust, truth and transparency to content production. We are building the ‘blockchain for news’.
By making use of the blockchain, decentralisation and centring the value of integrity and quality on the reader, the Bywire Blockchain News Network can limit human manipulation and define a technologically irrefutable set of standards that will hopefully usher in a new era of truth, trust and transparency, powered and protected by innovative blockchain and cryptographic technology.
Over the coming weeks and months, Bywire will publish my detailed white paper and road map to Journalism 3.0, the Bywire Blockchain News Network. Developing a self-sustaining, ethical, democratic, decentralised framework for news.
Some might say that Bywire News is a very modern version of the original Daily News newspaper, which was a national daily newspaper in the UK. It was originally launched back in 1846 by a Mr Charles Dickens, who was also its editor. Dickens later handed the editorial role to his friend John Forster. The paper boosted some well-known writers including H.G Wells and George Bernard Shaw.
Taken over in 1901 by Quaker chocolate entrepreneur George Cadbury, the paper adopted his political stance and stood against the Boer War.
Later after several iterations the paper eventually merged and become The Westminster Gazette and then finally the News Chronicle. The final editor was Tom Clarke in or around 1926.