There are twelve newsrooms currently publishing on Civil, including Popula. As part of its efforts to found a cryptoeconomy for journalism, Civil provided seed funding to a diverse group of promising new publications in order to get some of us journalists and editors to come along and kick the tires on the new network.
Martin Pratt of EcoWURD is helping bring an innovative journalism project to Philadelphia. Led by Sara Lomax-Reese, President of WURD Radio, Pennsylvania’s only African American owned talk radio station, ecoWURD is focused on the connections between environmental and socioeconomic justice.
“I never saw myself as an environmentalist,” he told me. “I cared about the climate, and I cared about water, but I never saw myself as an activist; I just wanted to make sure that I was doing right by the earth. Then an opportunity came: I was approached by our managing editor, who said to me “Hey, I have a project you’d be perfect for.” And he told me how Philadelphia—especially its lower-income communities—was being ravaged by the environmental blight on the city.
Civil enables ecoWURD to experiment with novel ways to address these challenges, Martin says.
“It’s a combination of journalism, activism, and solutions-based community work, hands-on involvement. I’m very happy to be on this platform and to be funded through Civil. We can lay down a template for other cities. And eventually be funded, with luck, through the cryptocurrency, as well as recording what we’re doing permanently, on the blockchain.”
A recent piece on Solarize Philly is an example of ecoWURD’s commitment to joining information with solutions. “It’s a program for installing solar panels, and helping homeowners get the tax credits they need to solarize their homes. There is a working collaboration between govenrment and eco-friendly companies,” Martin says; ecoWURD is reporting on programs for training ex-cons and other unskilled workers in becoming skilled in the emerging industry of solar installation.
“I see this as the East Coast version of what’s happening in Oakland, or like Van Jones and Majora Carter’s work back in the day,” he says.
“We have to support stories about how bad things are, but there’s also a lot of good that’s happening. I’m here for all that. The counterbalance of not being all just like, ‘Woe is me, oh look at dirty Philadelphia.’ But at the same time, looking at the people who are working in Philadelphia to make change possible.”
Within weeks, newsrooms on Civil will start exploring how cryptoeconomics can benefit journalism. Many us will be committing our archives to the Ethereum blockchain, where they can’t be altered or erased. Readers will be able to tip writers and publications we like in even very small amounts of CVL tokens (you can’t do that with regular dollars, because it would cost us more to process the transaction than it would to accept a tip of say, a quarter, or fifty cents.) With the Civil token sale ending in just eleven days, it is a good time to come in and see if you’d like to join us in a bit of tire-kicking.