Three seasoned political reporters will join the ranks of journalism-on-the-blockchain startup Sludge, where they will investigate the money that flows through the tributaries of power in politics.
Coming from publications including Politico and the International Business Times, the hirings seem a significant development in the story of what will be the future of media.
Josefa Velasquez comes to Sludge after working at Politico and the New York Law Journal. She’ll be covering statehouse lobbying in Albany. Jay Cassano is a veteran of the International Business Times and Fast Company. He’ll be covering secrecy in government actions and technology policy. Alex Kotch also comes from the IBT, as well as The Young Turks. He’ll be writing about tax policy, lobbying money and campaign finance.
“I knew about the work of Josefa, Alex and Jay even before we were introduced about joining Sludge,” Sludge cofounder David Moore told Technical.ly Friday morning in a Gchat. “Josefa’s Albany coverage was circulated in good-government reform circles, and Jay and Alex’s investigative unit at the International Business Times recently broke that major story on the Senate tax bill.”
Sludge is one of five newsrooms that will appear on the Civil platform, the Brooklyn startup that aims to be a publisher for newsrooms based on the blockchain. Other publications include Popula, a culture magazine headed by the writer Maria Bustillos, a cannabis industry publication and an opinion magazine led by former Gawker editor Tom Scocca.
The idea behind Civil is that each publication will have its own community of readers, who will pay for subscriptions to the newsrooms of their choice via Civil’s token, CVL, or just in regular money. Civil raised $2.5 million in capital in October, of which $1 million will be used to get its newsrooms off the ground.