I discovered The Markup earlier today. They’re a thoughtful, ethical journalism non-profit, reporting on “how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society.”
Not only does The Markup promise not to expose you to third-party trackers, it also tries to collect as little personal information as possible and commits to never monetising the data they do collect. Points from me.
They seem like a good evolution for news organisations – the advertising driven model seems to drive outlets to low-effort, rapidly produced reporting that’s more focused on being seen (and therefore deriving profit) than providing good journalism. Or, if organisations aren’t willing to go the advertising, hyper-breathless sensationalism route, they seem to get driven towards bankruptcy. Look at the Guardian’s wobbles a few years ago. They’ve switched it up from advertising and now people are paying directly.
I was particularly interested in reading in their first newsletter that they dropped cheaper newsletter software for a more expensive software after they realised the cheaper software wouldn’t let them remove all tracking at first. Less frequent newsletters as a result, but it seems that they’re willing to go to considerable lengths to ensure the work they produce meets their values, and that’s something I really admire.
I’ve subscribed to the newsletter and if their reporting is good, too, I think I’ll try and support them financially – that is, after all, how good news gets made. If it continues to be as good as their recent story on an insurance company making a ‘sucker’s list’ using an algorithm determining the likelihood people would or wouldn’t cancel after a price hike, then they’ll definitely get some denaro out of me.
Their website is really nice too.