​Sweden's Pirate Party leader launches news service to counter 'obsolete' old media

Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge (Reuters/Bob Strong)
The leader of Sweden's Pirate Party has launched a news service to compete with “old media.” Stories will consist of just three sentences, and will be published as sharable images that appeal to the “net generation.” Staff writers will be paid in bitcoin.

“Today, I’m launching a news service in an entirely new format, designed to outcompete oldmedia (sic),” Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge wrote on his website.

He goes on to recall the day that he decided to “outcompete” old media.

“It was on April 8, 2014, that the European Court of Justice declared mass surveillance in the form of data retention unconstitutional, impermissible, null, and void. Oldmedia (sic) didn’t mention the ruling at all,” he wrote, stating that old media no longer reports on relevant topics.

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According to the Pirate Party leader, old media is“complaining”that the net generation – those born between 1982 and 1991 – isn't buying their“printouts of yesterday's internet.”

Old media has also accused the internet generation of being disinterested in civil society, Falkvinge says.

But that simply isn't the case, the Pirate Party leader argues. In fact, he says there has “never been a generation more interested in the society we live in.”

Instead, Falkvinge insists the problem is with old media – because it isn't addressing the problems of the generation.

“This effectively makes [old media] obsolete,” he wrote on his site.

But Falkvinge believes he can challenge old media's concept by launching Falconwing News (FWN), a service focused on civil issues relevant to the internet generation. To do this, he's looking to hire 682 people immediately, who will work as writers and “country managers.” There will be 21 writers for each of the 28 countries in the EU, plus Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway, and one country manager for each.

The job of the writer appears to be anything but difficult – they'll be expected to write a three-sentence story once a week. Country managers will edit those stories for “further edge.”

Falkvinge wrote that those working for the news service will “be paid well, using bitcoin.” That money will come from advertisers, though the ads will simply be a watermark on the image, according to the Military Technologies website.

The Pirate Party leader believes the project is extremely important, as old media institutions have become “mouthpieces for regimes plagued by corruption and nepotism.”

“They happily accept a poisoned newswell and declare it to be truth – from campaigns against Iraq to recent campaigns against Snowden. That’s not just dishonest, that’s sickening and destructive,” he wrote.

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He also accuses old media of transitioning from news to entertainment by their own accord.

“Old news services voluntarily surrendered their roles as watchdogs of the government, firing investigative reporters and shedding investigative capability in a multi-decade process under the label 'cost-cutting,' thereby reducing the value they provided from 'reporting' to 'entertainment' – while still presenting as reporting, for the sake of their own dignity," Falconwing News' Wikipedia page states.

Stressing the benefits of his news service, Falkvinge said it will bypass a large number of restrictions and limitations, since it is based on sharable images. The site will also be immune to ad blocking software, and the stories will not need “clickbait” headlines.

“There won’t be anything to click on. We’re going to be providing quality reporting and have no incentive whatsoever to post clickbait, because we’re not posting links in the first place,” Falkvinge wrote.

According to Falkvinge's website, Falconwing News is launching in Europe, with the intention to go global.