Category Archives: Blockchain in Journalism: Promise and Practice

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IBM, Columbia University Support Startups with New Blockchain Courses

IBM’s almost frenetic blockchain charge continues with the multinational giant’s announcement of plans to combine with Columbia University to provide two accelerator programs for blockchain-based firms.

The Ivy League research university’s Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is an eight-week program designed for pre-seed formulating companies with affiliations with either Columbia or any other New York universities. IBM’s press release explained the usefulness of the new program for other participating universities should they choose to sign up:

The goal of these programs is to help network founders develop their ideas into sustainable and scalable companies offering blockchain solutions. For those already further along in their journey, the programs are designed to help them achieve scale and build successful business networks.”

IBM added that the accelerators would “will offer entrepreneurs and blockchain network founders around the world access to the expertise and resources they need to establish blockchain networks”.

The two programs are each to target ten startups and will involve mentorship using technical, academic and business mentors from IBM and Columbia, plus enrolling student will have access to IBM’s agile design workshops as well as use IBM’s Cloud technology. Students will be offered extra support through connection to researchers from Columbia as well as other students.

The second of the two programs, the IBM Blockchain Accelerator, another eight-week course, is designed for companies at a more advanced stage of growth, taking place in New York and San Francisco. Of the two accelerators, Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator Executive Director Satish Rao said:

“Early- and late-stage teams will undoubtedly benefit from IBM’s technology resources, expertise and established network coupled with Columbia’s ground-breaking research and talent in blockchain and data transparency, all while benefiting from rapidly growing NYC blockchain communities.”

As IBM continues to demonstrate its determination to use blockchain research and development in a number of sectors and play an active role in pushing the technology into mainstream use, Columbia itself has been no slouch in expressing its opinions on DLT. In a recent edition of the university’s Columbia Journalism Review, a report on the events of its most recent panel discussion entitled ‘Blockchain in Journalism: Promise and Practice’ outlined its findings in how blockchain could impact journalism.

The panel found that key resistance to blockchain adoption was a general lack of knowledge. The panel felt that the stigma of cryptocurrency was still there to be overcome, including public fears of volatility and its past connections with criminal activity. They also felt that the dearth of available information to the public regarding blockchain’s workings and its numerous potential applications across all sectors was still a barrier to adoption.

 

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Columbia University Examines Future of DLT in Journalism

New York’s prestigious Columbia University has been examining blockchain and its impact on the world of journalism.

In the most recent edition of the University’s Columbia Journalism Review, a report on the events of its most recent panel discussion entitled ‘Blockchain in Journalism: Promise and Practice’ outlined its findings.

The panel was held at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, part of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Tow Center explores the ways in which technology is changing journalism, its practice and its consumption – particularly as consumers of news seek ways to judge the reliability, standards and credibility of information.

The 19 October panel included important players in both blockchain and journalism including Civil Foundation CEO Vivian Schiller and ZigZag podcast’s Manoush Zomorodi. Also attending were Columbia researcher Eran Tromer, Forbes head of Product & Tech Salah Zalatimo, New York Times researcher Nellie Bowles Po.et CEO Jarrod Dicker.

The panel agreed that central to blockchain’s success in the field of journalism were three areas offering the greatest challenge, with the greatest being to differentiate between cryptocurrency and DLT. The former still offered resistance in the eyes of the general public due to a general lack of knowledge. The stigma of crypto is still there to be overcome, including public fears of volatility and its past connections with criminal activity.

In the same way as cryptocurrency, blockchain suffers from the same dearth of available information to the public regarding its workings and numerous applications across sectors including journalism, despite already making impact in that area. However, flawed designs were identified by the panel, such as “Nieman Lab’s John Keefe calculating that it takes 44 steps to purchase CVL, the token that powers Civil”.

The panelists felt these factors were enough to cast a degree of muted optimism over journalism’s future unless they were addressed as the industry moved forward with further blockchain solutions.

Civil recently announced that it was casting its eye on the Asian news market and, as a result, the company has raised USD 1 million to create 100 media projects there over the next three years. In order to facilitate its ambitious plans in Asia, the company has teamed with Splice, a Singapore-based media startup, which will manage the new fund.

 

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