CryptoCoinsNews has been doing some great reporting in the last several months. Recently, we reached out to that site’s editor, Caleb Chen, to get his thoughts on some of the bigger-picture details of reporting on cryptocurrencies.
He had some fascinating things to say.
Cointelegraph: What do you think the media’s role is within the cryptocurrency community?
Caleb Chen: Whether we like it or not, both the mainstream media and the cryptocurrency-specific media often serve as an entry point for Bitcoin newbies. Since mainstream media often butchers basic facts and concepts about Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, I believe it is the basic duty of cryptocurrency media to present the news with more relevance and accuracy.
The media should report on genuine developments within the community and keep an open ear to feedback. The cryptocurrency community has varied demographics, and writing to the interests of one group may draw the ire of another group.
All media sources should strive to accurately represent the cryptocurrency community; at this nascent stage in Bitcoin's development, media's role is largely education. Everyone, from the mainstream media to the cryptocurrency-specific media, is still actively learning how best to fill this role.
CT: Obviously, publications such as ours have in-built biases; we wouldn’t write about cryptocurrencies if we weren’t interested in them. Where do you draw the line between advocacy and objective reporting?
CC: Readers should realize that every author has in-built biases that inevitably find their way on paper: This is true of every publication known to man.
I am a proud digital currency advocate; however, that doesn't override basic journalistic integrity. As with authors who write about foreign exchange or US fiscal policy, having involvement and monetary interest in the US dollar is not viewed as tainting objective reporting.
As a matter of fact, experience and expertise in the subject matter is often a boon for objective reporting. At CryptoCoinsNews, we require all authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest to ensure that inappropriate advocacy (e.g., for a Bitcoin service) is discarded in preference for objective work.
Cryptocurrency publications need to mind the fine line between Bitcoin advocacy and "objective reporting" on Bitcoin. Full disclosure of potential conflicts of interests is a must for all reporters, Bitcoin-related or not; furthermore, I also believe that critical reading is a must for all.
CT: Innovation in the space we cover seems to happen faster than anywhere else I can think of. What are the challenges of trying to stay constantly informed in an industry that innovates so rapidly? This goes for covering stories as well as finding reporters and sources with the necessary expertise to even cover a topic.
CC: The Bitcoin world isn't just moving at breakneck speed; it is also a truly international community that never sleeps. These two characteristics of our industry have undoubtedly aided in the continued momentum behind digital currencies.
Staying on top of our space requires a unique type of dedication and commitment only found in true Bitcoin enthusiasts. Writers need to keep up to speed on the latest developments on their own time. This is the reason that mainstream media opts for a more "blurry snapshot" style of reporting on Bitcoin, since they aren't following the space as thoroughly.
It is exceedingly difficult to find individuals who have the necessary expertise to understand all the core economic, networking, and computing concepts behind Bitcoin. It is even harder to find ones with spare time and a knack for writing. Neither necessary technical expertise nor writing prowess guarantee the journalistic mindset needed for objective reporting. Despite these obstacles, the Bitcoin news industry is thriving, and we all know that Bitcoin innovation will only continue.
CT: What’s been the most rewarding part of covering cryptocurrencies for you?
CC: By far, my greatest reward has been joining the cryptocurrency community. Every new face that I meet at a Bitcoin meetup or conference is a living, talking reminder that the cryptocurrency revolution is a real thing that it is ongoing. We all have front-row seats to witness the spread of a world-changing technology, and I wouldn't miss it for anything.
CT: One last question on a different topic: Are you doing the MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia? How has that been?
CC: Yes, I am currently pursuing my MSc in Digital Currency at Cyprus's University of Nicosia through their distance learning program. I will be taking far-ranging courses from “International Currency Markets” to “Digital Currency Information Systems and Resources” to “Principles of Disruptive Innovation”; needless to say, I'm very excited.
I am grateful that UNic is providing the class in an online format, otherwise I wouldn't be able to attend; however, schooling away from school grounds is a new one for me, but I am adapting well. I pay for my digital currency education with bitcoins … that sentence wouldn't have even made sense to me just years ago.
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