Introducing Current by Sidewire:
Building the Business Model for the Era of Fake News
In two years of chatting, debating, and questioning, Sidewire has gathered some brilliant people.
We have built the best platform for troll-free, noise-free conversation on the internet and, with selectivity and patience, credentialed a community of almost 1,000 experts. They’re journalists, policy makers, industry leaders. They’ve run for President of the United States and written best-sellers. They’ve won Olympic Medals and built ice cream empires from a farm in Vermont.
They are, in short, some of the most accomplished, most informed experts out there, and they come to Sidewire as individuals, not organizations.
From the start, we believed that personality was required for content to be successful. That’s why you’ll only find individuals in our community. As platforms expanded their reach into digital media, publishers have responded by drafting and coaching a new kind of civic celebrity. Names like Maggie Haberman, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Andrew Kaczynski now mean something outside the context of their mastheads, and publishers are stronger for it.
And this — this individuation of content — isn’t going away. The age of Fake News signals that personality now determines not only whether content will be successful but also whether it will even be believed. Dave Rubin, Tomi Lahren, Louise Mensch, Hasan Piker, Michael Moore, and others reap digital attention because skepticism of institutions is at an all time high. Whether we like it or not, people have come to trust people.
Many of the loudest voices have developed ways to monetize that trust. Today, Sidewire is announcing the alternative for the smartest voices.
Current by Sidewire
Current by Sidewire is a platform where individual experts can share their insights to an audience of subscribers — subscribers devoted enough to pay for exclusive content. Each expert posts their thoughts, tips, analyses, or insider points of view, and their subscribers are the only visitors able to access that content. They’ll also be the only commenters or questioners. In this way, experts can have intimate interaction with their most serious fans without digging through social media nonsense and, more importantly, get compensated for the person-to-person trust they’ve earned.
Who’s on Board
James Kirchick — James is a journalist and foreign correspondent currently based in Washington. He is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for The Daily Beast, and is a columnist for Tablet. His first book, The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age is published by Yale University Press. He is at work on his second book, a history of gay Washington, D.C., for Henry Holt.
Ben Piven — Ben is a Brooklyn-based journalist, editor, and academic. He is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has bylines in Al Jazeera America, PBS Worldfocus, and Haaretz. In 2007, he studied the caste system as a Fulbright scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India. He holds an Master’s Degree from the Columbia School School of Journalism and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Michelle McSweeney—Michelle is a Research Scholar at the Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University. She is a linguist and digital communication specialist who’s been featured in Tell Me Something I Don’t Know and FSTW. Her recent work includes a interactive infographic of languages on the New York City subways, a visualization of the role of texts in romantic relationships, and a corpus of 44,597 texts by bilingual young adults.
Cristina Maza—Cristina is a journalist based in Cambodia. Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Phnom Penh Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and was also a contributing editor for United Explanations, a multi-lingual online publication that covers international affairs. She is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European studies.
Renee Lewis—Renee is a multimedia journalist covering climate change and environmental justice. She has traveled throughout the Middle East, the Marshall Islands, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. to frontline communities impacted by climate change and met activists, tribal leaders and scientists trying to solve the crisis of global warming. Previously, she wrote for AJ America and Al Jazeera English in Qatar.
We’re so excited to be launching Current. By offering a source of revenue commensurate with their experience and insight, Current gives the world’s foremost commentators, leaders, and thinkers a chance to fight back against the propagation of drivel like fake news. It’s just another way we’re working to clear the internet of noise.