20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
5
2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
6
2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

The silver bullet

“Snow had begun to fall. Snow, in September.
”

“Jehoshaphat!” muttered Elijah Baley. Outside his Berlin apartment, a Starship Technologies delivery bot had collided with the Lime scooter he’d just parked. Baley peered down onto the street: The scooter lay in the cycle lane surrounded by dead vape pens and glittering Cybertruck glass. A Google Traffic drone hovered above it, about a hundred meters from Tannhäuser Gate.


“Alexa, call me a taxi,” said Baley
.

“You’re a taxi,” replied his Amazon Echo.
 Baley instantly regretted upgrading to the Amazon Prime Comedy package. “Alexa, call me a taxi, please,” he said. “To arrive in five minutes.”

“How would you like to pay?”

“Blockchain. Libra.”


“Your Autonomous Lyft will arrive at 8:06 p.m.”


That left him with five minutes to create a revenue strategy. Five minutes to save his newspaper. Five minutes to save the world.


Where was the money going to come from? Technology companies? Sure, Facebook had increased its presence in Europe. But the News Tab revenue picture was still uncertain. Accelerator money would only get them so far. The Google News Initiative had invested heavily in nonprofits in the United States. Would that money come to Europe too? And what about Microsoft? With their new AI cloud stack, media partnerships were more likely. Where the hell were Apple and Amazon in all this? He remembered that he didn’t have a Flipboard strategy. He placed his fingers on his temples and slowly exhaled.


Baley knew he could forget about “corporate social responsibility.” Companies had a growing interest in impact investing in media, but it’d never fly with his editorial board. A shame, really — he didn’t see the difference between that and the ad revenue everyone used to be so fond of. He glanced out of the window. Snow had begun to fall. Snow, in September.


More of their competitors were taking money from foundations. There were 148,000 of them in Europe — surely one could help them weather the storm? He needed some of that long-term core funding that was so in vogue. Maybe one of those pooled funds they talked about at foundation retreats would come up trumps?


Government funding? Forget it. They talk a good game. But all the Overseas Development Aid budgets were being redirected towards anti-immigration and food security objectives. The new European Union money was well intentioned but too small to make a real difference. Media literacy grants? Soon there’d be no media left to be literate about.


Baley’s iBottle buzzed, gently. It glowed green and opened up a connection to Ring, which streamed a live video feed of the street onto its curved surface. A metallic gray Polestar Lyft waited outside, door open, with four empty seats. A silver bullet.


“Jehoshaphat!” Baley looked at the blank tablet in front of him. He picked up his stylus and wrote a single word.


COMMUNITY


Elijah Baley flipped his titanium Razr2 into his pocket and stood up. In the dying light of the street outside, another Starship Technologies robot crashed into the first. Zero hour. Time to go.

Adam Thomas is director of the European Journalism Centre.

“Jehoshaphat!” muttered Elijah Baley. Outside his Berlin apartment, a Starship Technologies delivery bot had collided with the Lime scooter he’d just parked. Baley peered down onto the street: The scooter lay in the cycle lane surrounded by dead vape pens and glittering Cybertruck glass. A Google Traffic drone hovered above it, about a hundred meters from Tannhäuser Gate.


“Alexa, call me a taxi,” said Baley
.

“You’re a taxi,” replied his Amazon Echo.
 Baley instantly regretted upgrading to the Amazon Prime Comedy package. “Alexa, call me a taxi, please,” he said. “To arrive in five minutes.”

“How would you like to pay?”

“Blockchain. Libra.”


“Your Autonomous Lyft will arrive at 8:06 p.m.”


That left him with five minutes to create a revenue strategy. Five minutes to save his newspaper. Five minutes to save the world.


Where was the money going to come from? Technology companies? Sure, Facebook had increased its presence in Europe. But the News Tab revenue picture was still uncertain. Accelerator money would only get them so far. The Google News Initiative had invested heavily in nonprofits in the United States. Would that money come to Europe too? And what about Microsoft? With their new AI cloud stack, media partnerships were more likely. Where the hell were Apple and Amazon in all this? He remembered that he didn’t have a Flipboard strategy. He placed his fingers on his temples and slowly exhaled.


Baley knew he could forget about “corporate social responsibility.” Companies had a growing interest in impact investing in media, but it’d never fly with his editorial board. A shame, really — he didn’t see the difference between that and the ad revenue everyone used to be so fond of. He glanced out of the window. Snow had begun to fall. Snow, in September.


More of their competitors were taking money from foundations. There were 148,000 of them in Europe — surely one could help them weather the storm? He needed some of that long-term core funding that was so in vogue. Maybe one of those pooled funds they talked about at foundation retreats would come up trumps?


Government funding? Forget it. They talk a good game. But all the Overseas Development Aid budgets were being redirected towards anti-immigration and food security objectives. The new European Union money was well intentioned but too small to make a real difference. Media literacy grants? Soon there’d be no media left to be literate about.


Baley’s iBottle buzzed, gently. It glowed green and opened up a connection to Ring, which streamed a live video feed of the street onto its curved surface. A metallic gray Polestar Lyft waited outside, door open, with four empty seats. A silver bullet.


“Jehoshaphat!” Baley looked at the blank tablet in front of him. He picked up his stylus and wrote a single word.


COMMUNITY


Elijah Baley flipped his titanium Razr2 into his pocket and stood up. In the dying light of the street outside, another Starship Technologies robot crashed into the first. Zero hour. Time to go.

Adam Thomas is director of the European Journalism Centre.

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