Can NFTs save journalism?

Can NFTs save journalism?

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The Associated Press is collaborating with Xooa to set up an NFT marketplace to sell the work of the news organisation’s photojournalists. The proceeds from the sale will fund AP’s journalistic endeavours. 

Slated to launch on January 31, the marketplace will allow collectors to buy, sell, and trade the news agency’s official award-winning photojournalism as NFTs. 

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The platform will offer buyers the opportunity to own Pulitzer Prize-winning photos of significant historical moments. The initial collection will include photography by current and former AP journalists and a few digitally enhanced renderings of their work.

NFTs in Journalism  

Major media outlets like The New York Times and Quartz have previously sold their articles as NFTs. For example, Kevin Roose’s article for The New York Times, titled “Buy This Column on the Blockchain,” was sold at a 24-hour auction for $5,63,000. He wrote: “Why can’t a journalist join the NFT party too?” 
Earlier, Fortune Magazine had sold digital versions of their 2021 magazine cover titled “Crypto vs Wall Street.” The money from the sales went to four organisations that support a free press and public service journalism: Reporters Without Borders, The GroundTruth Project, The Institute for Nonprofit News, and The Committee to Protect Journalists received $1,65,000 each.

Who buys NFTs?

People buying NFTs at exorbitant prices are called cryptocurrency whales— a term used for individuals and institutions in possession of large amounts of Bitcoin or Ethereum (likely because they invested in cryptocurrencies before Bitcoin’s price rose by more than 600 percent). A lot of NFT sales happen in the light of its rising value as futuristic assets in web3.0.

What will AP’s marketplace look like? 

  • The NFTs are minted on the environmentally friendly (and Indian founded) blockchain Polygon
  • The platform accepts credit cards, debit cards, and Ethereum and will support crypto wallet MetaMask.
  • Each NFT or collection of NFTs will be released at a specific time, date, and price through drops.
  • Limited-edition NFTs will be released biweekly as “Pulitzer Drops,” and will feature Pulitzer-prize winning images. To protect the status of these drops, they will be made more scarce and difficult to obtain—with access to them being given only to the platform’s most active collectors. 
  • There will be a 10% fee for every resold collectible, which AP will share with Xooa. 
  • All purchased NFTs can be viewed under the section, “My NFTs.”

According to Jarrod Dicker of The Washington Post, NFTs could be a solution to bringing “an ownership element back to media.” He said content creators having greater control over their assets at the start of an idea could eventually give them more control over how their work is “used, licensed and distributed as well as a means to be able to collect revenue.” 

Community-based funding through NFTs could allow journalism to become more decentralised, said the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia, Emily Bell.

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Srishti Mukherjee
Drowned in reading sci-fi, fantasy, and classics in equal measure; Srishti carries her bond with literature head-on into the world of science and tech, learning and writing about the fascinating possibilities in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Making hyperrealistic paintings of her dog Pickle and going through succession memes are her ideas of fun.

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