The new journalism nonprofit known as The Markup, focused on investigating technology companies, is expected to begin publication next year.
The project has already received a $20 million donation from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
The publication is launching at a time where consumers and lawmakers are more concerned about user privacy in the digital space.
The recent Facebook- Cambridge Analytica data scandal has ignited a fiery debate about internet privacy and has influenced the passing of privacy legislation to better protect users.
The Markup was created by Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson, two investigative journalists and former writers at ProPublica, along with Sue Gardner, the former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. The publication will be looking into tech giants like Google and Facebook and how these platforms are impacting society.
“In a healthy society, there’s an ongoing conversation about what’s in the public interest—a debate that includes legislators, regulators, the institutions of civil society, the private sector, and the general public,” said Gardner in a press release. “We aren’t having that debate right now about new technologies because the level of understanding of their effects is too low.”
Besides the lofty donation from Newmark, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation donated $2 million and the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation also contributed funding to the venture.
The project started with an investment from the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative.
“I’m proud to back The Markup and support people whose work I’ve followed and admired for a long time,” said Newmark. “As a news consumer, I look for journalism that I can trust, and by producing data-driven, rigorously fact-checked reporting on the effects of technology on society, The Markup is helping to fill a largely unmet need.”
But will the publication really reframe from any bias considering where it’s getting its funding from?
“In a world of Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony, political bias on social media, and legislators’ ham-handed attempts to protect citizens online, many people are at a loss for where turn for real tech news,” writes Fortune. “Angwin and Larson have a proven track record of making the opaque world of tech legible to non-experts. At ProPublica they reported on Facebook’s discriminatory advertising, and cybersecurity holes at Mar-A-Lago.”
The Markup plans to launch in early 2019 and is currently building a team of 24 journalists now for it’s New York office.
“I’m excited to build a team with deep expertise that can really scale up and advance the work Jeff and I began at ProPublica,” said Angwin. “We see The Markup as a new kind of news organization, staffed with journalists who know how to investigate the uses of new technologies and make their effects understandable to non-experts.”
Author’s note: Time will only tell if this publication will be influenced by its liberal donors or if it will cover news objectively.
Editor’s note: It always makes me nervous when idealists try to do news. Is this just another undercover liberal support group with a lot of money behind them?