This started as a video, thread and post.
Two communities I follow that don’t overlap much: (1) Those who are following the battle between YouTuber Coffeezilla and big-time influencer Logan Paul, and (2) those who focus on journalistic process and integrity.
I’m here to tell you these conversations are one and the same.
It’s a mistake to think journalism only comes from news organizations. Remember: Journalism is a strategy, not an industry.
And CoffeeZilla is a prominent example of those lines blurring. He built a reputation by investigating crypto fraudsters with document pulling and first-source interviewing. You know, stuff that we think of as journalism. Then he turned his sights to one of the biggest influencers in the world: Logan Paul, alleging that his online NFT game CryptoZoo is purely a scam.
This is still playing itself out, and it’s certainly possible Coffeezilla didn’t operate entirely in good faith. But it already represents a major change that has been taking place in recent years. Journalism-like skill, what you might call Journalism Thinking, is showing up in lots of places far beyond news organizations, and those ethics and expectations are still shifting.
One big change? In the 20th century, the one doing the journalism almost always had the bigger audience. Now that the creation of journalism and the distribution of it are two totally separate things, audience might doesn’t necessarily mean right.
Now a guy like Coffeezilla, with a pretty big following, can investigate a guy like Logan Paul, with a massive following. Many of us haven’t yet developed trust with either of these brands, so it’s trickier for us to make call. News orgs (like any brand) represent a shorthand as to whether or not you trust their process and integrity.
Yet for something like a Youtuber alleging an influencer’s NFT game is a scam, there isn’t yet a clear set of standards or a professional body to give a ruling on how well, or how poorly, that investigation has played out. This is all happening in the court of online opinion.