Welcome to the ACJR newsletter!
Here's the scoop as of November 2020
Hello, we are the Association of Crypto Journalists and Researchers. 👋
Welcome to our newsletter, written this week by co-president Leigh Cuen and co-secretary Molly Zuckerman. We’re highlighting some of the best reporting in the space every month, along with tools and opportunities to learn how to produce such high-quality work. Today, we’re here to tell you about all of the fun we’re having — hopefully not without you, but with you!
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Who we are: We’re a group of journalists and researchers out to improve the (equal parts hilarious and dire) state of cryptocurrency coverage in mass media.
We welcome all crypto journalists and researchers in the space, as long as you’re serious about what you do (because we are very, very serious about crypto. 🙃) We’re not here for your price pumps and your social media crusades. We don’t evaluate based on traffic, or controversy. We try not to shill. We do want to showcase multimedia masterpieces that haunt you and make you think.
New writers and reporters from other beats are also welcome! Are you looking for mentorship? Whether you're new to crypto and exploring outside your field, or are old hat still eager to learn, you've come to the right place. We’ve been down that orange coin road. Toxic trolls, protocol feuds and trader slang, oh my! Join our Telegram group, because we’re here to support each other.
Join the conversation: Subscribe to this newsletter, follow us on Twitter, join our Telegram group, check out our website, send us a carrier pigeon. Tell us what podcasts, articles and films you think should be highlighted in our monthly round up of the best crypto media. Plus, we might add some of our favorite memes (if you consider yourself a meme expert, send us your faves by tagging our Twitter handle.)
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Next, we are now announcing...the very first ACJR awards are coming in 2021! Until then, ACJR is open to nominations for the best crypto media awards for investigative reports or multimedia pieces published by professional journalists.
These awards are not democratic, so don’t get too excited imagining this is some type of DAO. Instead, it’s comparable to the Online News Association’s finalist nominations. No one needs to reinvent the wheel or use a crypto gadget to join in on this fun.
We’ll announce the winners in 2021, during New York Blockchain Week. In the future, we may also host other events or opportunities, either virtually or in meat space. So stay tuned for that in 2021!
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In the meantime, this newsletter will start highlighting some of the best research reports, podcasts, films, articles or newsletters, etc. Here are some examples of such outstanding journalism in this sector:
“How bitcoin met the real world in Africa” by Alexis Akwagyiram and Tom Wilson, Reuters
You’re probably (overly) familiar with the trope of crypto “banking the unbanked” — here’s the real story of a mobile phone salesman in Nigeria who uses bitcoin.
“Belarus Nonprofit Helps Protestors With Bitcoin Grants” by Anna Baydakova, CoinDesk
This piece shows a real-world use case for Bitcoin transfers — the KGB can’t control them. This nuanced story describes bitcoin within the context of human rights and censorship resistance.
“The Hype Man of the Century” by Chris Harland-Dunaway, The Verge
An old-fashioned magazine feature story, at its best. Here’s a one-sentence sneak peak: “Justin Sun wants this to be a porn app so it can get around the Chinese censorship laws and Great Firewall.”
“Central Bank Digital Currency Report” by The Block
The Block’s comprehensive report on the state of central bank digital currencies displayed rigorous research.
“Is Yield Farming bringing new users to DeFi?” by Mohamed Fouda, Token Daily
This particular newsletter edition delivered what we consider to be an A+ overview on yield farming and this summer’s DeFi craze.
“This Is What Happened When They Tried to Fix Journalism Using Blockchain” by Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway, Bloomberg
What could be more fitting for a crypto journalism newsletter than a podcast about how blockchain and journalism collide? We stan.
“DeFi- Greatest $MEME Ever Told” by Robin Schmidt, The Defiant
This video brings art to the intrigue of the $MEME token saga. We’re both suckers for accurate content delivered with style.
Who do you think is making the best bitcoin coverage this year? We welcome prospective members to contribute suggestions via social media and check out our website.
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Next, we’ll turn to a guest column from ACJR co-president, Joon Ian Wong:
The association’s 11 founding members gathered for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and co-treasurer Michael del Castillo said something that stuck in my mind.
“We survived,” he said.
Del Castillo meant that everyone on the call had been battle-tested by an industry that often holds our profession in contempt at worst, suspicion at best. Frankly, the cryptocurrency industry isn’t fond of journalists — which means that crypto journalists operate in a pretty hostile environment. Open-source programmers refuse to clarify things. Sources say one thing to you on the record, then tweet the exact opposite when the story goes out. Hordes of readers bombard reporters if coverage isn’t sufficiently upbeat about a protocol.
What’s even more remarkable is not just that we survived this whirlwind for years, but that the sprawling ecosystem we call “crypto” continues to thrive since Satoshi Nakamoto published the bitcoin white paper 11 years ago.
Many of us have criss-crossed beats, sectors and audiences, from glossy magazine writing to the financial wires. We learned is that the principles of journalism — impartiality, sensitivity to the subject, witnessing the scene, rigor — are the same principles needed to cover cryptocurrency successfully. Crypto journalism is journalism, full stop.
Throughout the euphoric bubbles, the existential uncertainty of crashes, and the endless feuds, it’s our privilege (and our peril!) to report on the most interesting financial technology of our generation.
So we’ll keep sifting through onslaughts of hype and misinformation to find the signal buried in the noise. Reporting on cryptocurrencies impacts their development. We hear life-changing stories from readers and subjects, and these experiences keep us coming back to this ecosystem.
From Crypto Winter to DeFi Summer, we’ve survived it all. As we sit on the cusp of what looks to be another historic bull run, we hope that ACJR’s mission to recognize the top journalism and research in the field will raise reporting standards, increase the industry’s media literacy, and, ultimately, elevate the best while leaving the shilling to the rest.
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That’s it for now. We’ll leave you this meme with strong 2020 vibes. Can’t wait to update you all again in December!
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This newsletter is destined for greatness