And the boat they’ll miss if they don’t get over it.

With the price of Bitcoin hitting all-time highs in December 2020, and many saying it will 5x in 2021, there’s a whole new hype cycle for Bitcoin about to burst.

WARNING: This is a distraction!

This post is not about how Bitcoin will save journalism, because it won’t.

This is about how journalists misunderstand the value of Blockchain because we get distracted by the hype cycles of Bitcoin. Blockchain is the technology that enables distributed ledgers of truth. Bitcoin is a specific ledger of truth for a monetary instrument.

Blockchain 101


In 1961 President Eisenhower’s farewell address included a warning about the “Military Industrial Complex.” While most of us are familiar with his warning, it’s important to remember the ramp-up to this part of his speech. Eisenhower starts by praising our military. He points to its necessity in stabilizing the world and protecting the United States.

Eisnehower doesn’t seek to make the military a “boogyman.” Instead, he takes a moment to point out that the military industrial complex is wholly “new in the American experience” and something “we must guard against.” Specifically, Eisnehower says we must be vigilant that the 3.5…


Roam Research is a productivity tool that could be the main driver of your day, the glue of your collaboration or even your CMS.

An important and often overlooked layer of innovation is about taking our existing products/processes and finding tools that help us do them better and faster. I’d put Slack into this category. The most basic use-case of Slack doesn’t fundamentally change what a newsroom creates, but it does help with efficiency and improve the quality of work. We should always be upping the tools we use.

This post is about a tool “Roam Research” which has the potential to be as widely adopted by journalists as Trello or Slack. In this post I’m going to lay out three main use-cases.

  • 1…


Social media is performative — we need to be informative.

By now, it’s an old joke. Journalists on Twitter, tweeting media analysis for an audience of other journalists on Twitter.

#NotAllJournalists are guilty of this phenomenon. And it’s not all the time. But it is a real phenomenon. This is a natural result of the platforms we use as journalists to engage our audience.

The nature of Twitter, Facebook and other social media is performative.

We are performing for our audience in the hopes of going viral. We are performing for other journalists in the hopes of professional recognition. It’s all empty calories and at the expense of actually serving our audience.

Even when you’re trying to be informative…


This week, the Global Editors Network has invited board member David Cohn, senior director at Advance Digital’s Alpha Group, to tell us more about Project Text. The initiative is a collaboration between The Alpha Group, which is the incubator of one of the US’s largest media groups Advance, and San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, local news organisation. During San Francisco’s mayoral elections in June 2018, the public was able to sign up to receive text messages from a local reporter and communicate with him directly in order get the latest updates. How does this personal direct reporter-to-audience relationship work? Can it improve reporting? How does texting news differ from writing for a website? And how can you use Project Text in your newsroom?

In San Francisco around 300 people got news that London Breed would become the next Mayor of the city before the general public. That’s because they received a text message from SF politics reporter Joe Eskenazi that Mark Leno, the other mayoral candidate, was planning his concession.

Anyone could have signed up to get these text messages at ProjectText.com, which went public only a few weeks earlier. And starting now, any reporter can pitch their own text project. It’s direct reporter-to-audience content.

The Alpha Group did this experiment in partnership with the San Francisco Public Press and Joe Eskenazi to…


One usage has been politicized.

When people use the phrase “fake news” what is often implied is that the content in question can be dismissed as ideologically motivated, or mission driven. Essentially the content isn’t aiming for some kind of “objective voice,” but is intended to be activist in nature.

This usage doesn’t imply a manipulation of facts, but the creation of a narrative. Many organizations that can justifiably receive this critique wouldn’t even object to it. They don’t see a lack of objectivity as a weakness. They want to effect change in the world. …


I’m at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. One of the first panels was titled “Help define the moral imperatives that should be guiding media and platforms’ decisions” and had Jeff Jarvis, raju narisetti, Indira Lakshmi, Maria Ressa and Janine Gibson.

I was going to ask a question, but the QA ran out of time. Luckily, I have the internet and after a quick chat with Jarvis, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to type out the question here and pose it to the panel.

Part of this prologue I also want to use to note that some panelists (#NotAll) had…


A quick thought in reaction to a great CJR article.

This article is an acknowledgement that there are real problems of faith/trust inside newsrooms. In acknowledging internal problems the article also nods to the notion that the crisis of trust from the public towards journalism is just as legitimate.

I’d argue the crisis inside newsrooms and the lack of trust from readers — are both symptoms of the same problem. Two sides of the same coin.

“The roots of staff dissatisfaction arise from well-justified existential worry: Media executives and newsroom managers have, in the last few years, responded to industry…


In the 1960’s Marshall Mcluhan wrote “the medium is the message.”

Today, the platform is the message.

News is created different when it is developed with a specific platform in mind. This has been one of the key new insights/traits of the industry over the last few years. Often called “Platform Intelligence.”

The biggest platform, the one we talk about most is Facebook. It is a platform designed to build identity and manage social relationships. That is Facebook’s Dharma.

When news comports itself to work on a platform that is built for constructing social identity and not for informing the…


An overly provocative headline, playing off of Andy Warhol’s “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” but it does get to the heart of a potential future product I can imagine today. Let’s have fun with this.

If you aren’t versed in Blockchain technology, or how Ethereum has powered ICO’s (initial coin offering’s) then some of this will seem super alien. I’m just having fun here, so I’m skipping the prologue — let’s jump right into Episode IV, the personal ICO.

Let’s imagine a product five years from now that’s directed toward the consumer.

You sign up for the service…

David Cohn

Senior Director at Advance Publications innovation group. Twitter: @digidave or http://blog.digidave.org Do what I can to help. Also, I love you.

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