Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

“In 2021, more newsrooms will make privacy promises to their readers in a bid to avoid regulation and engender reader trust.”

The media industry realizes that some of the systems we’ve all come to rely on aren’t a win-win situation after all.

For much of the last decade, newsrooms have increasingly turned to infrastructure controlled by tech companies to distribute their work. But those Big Tech companies are under scrutiny by regulators and the public — especially their business model of extracting data from users (and the bad incentives that creates for online interaction).

Additionally, the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in 2018 and the recently approved California Consumer Privacy Act have broad implications for privacy rights on the web and the media industry at large.

None of this is a recipe for trust, which the media industry needs to foster now more than ever.

When The Markup launched earlier this year, we made a public commitment to collect as little personal information about our readers as possible and to never monetize the data we do collect. We also built tools like Blacklight to reveal the invisible infrastructure of data extraction online — what is taken from you every time you visit a website. Building custom tools like Blacklight is core to our “journalism-as-a-service” approach of bringing tech expertise to tech reporting and helping to lift civic understanding of critical data privacy issues.

In 2021, more newsrooms will make privacy promises to their readers in a bid to avoid regulation and engender reader trust. This will force tricky conversations within legacy outlets operating within ad-supported frameworks and will accelerate the growth of nonprofit newsrooms and outlets relying on membership models, which can more easily live up to privacy promises.

In the end, readers win.

Nabiha Syed is president of The Markup.

The media industry realizes that some of the systems we’ve all come to rely on aren’t a win-win situation after all.

For much of the last decade, newsrooms have increasingly turned to infrastructure controlled by tech companies to distribute their work. But those Big Tech companies are under scrutiny by regulators and the public — especially their business model of extracting data from users (and the bad incentives that creates for online interaction).

Additionally, the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in 2018 and the recently approved California Consumer Privacy Act have broad implications for privacy rights on the web and the media industry at large.

None of this is a recipe for trust, which the media industry needs to foster now more than ever.

When The Markup launched earlier this year, we made a public commitment to collect as little personal information about our readers as possible and to never monetize the data we do collect. We also built tools like Blacklight to reveal the invisible infrastructure of data extraction online — what is taken from you every time you visit a website. Building custom tools like Blacklight is core to our “journalism-as-a-service” approach of bringing tech expertise to tech reporting and helping to lift civic understanding of critical data privacy issues.

In 2021, more newsrooms will make privacy promises to their readers in a bid to avoid regulation and engender reader trust. This will force tricky conversations within legacy outlets operating within ad-supported frameworks and will accelerate the growth of nonprofit newsrooms and outlets relying on membership models, which can more easily live up to privacy promises.

In the end, readers win.

Nabiha Syed is president of The Markup.

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