This article is stored on a blockchain for safekeeping and transparency.
A blockchain is a new type of technology used to store text on thousands of computers at the same time, thereby creating a permanent archive. Storing articles, in this case on the Ethereum blockchain, costs a little bit of money, but we consider that money well worth it if it protects our investigations.
In journalism, examples of long-closed websites and lost archives are well known, like DNAinfo and Gawker. We don’t want any current or future owner of Global Ground Media to be able to take down our research into important issues that often took weeks or months to put together. Our stories are here to stay.
Under repressive regimes, it is even more critical to get information out there, for example in some of the Asian countries we cover. You might have heard about the #MeToo movement in China. Experiences of sexual harassment shared on social media and messaging apps kept getting deleted by censors. Where did these uploaders turn to in the end to make their voices heard? Blockchain!
The activists made a transaction in cryptocurrency and added their grievances in the meta details stored on the blockchain registry. The Chinese government cannot delete this information. Word got out about misconduct by some university professors leading to their dismissal.
Thirdly, it’s best practice in journalism never to delete previously reported stories, even if we make a mistake and later must rectify an article. Even though we do everything in our power to prevent an error slipping into our coverage, if it does happen we’ll amend and update the story. The original version will always be visible on the blockchain. We think it’s good to be transparent about how we conduct journalism – and that includes mistakes.
Do you want to know more about how or why we store articles on the blockchain? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org