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Inside The Markup

The Markup is Joining Forces with CalMatters

California will be an incredible testbed to ground our work

We have big news about the next phase of The Markup: We’re joining forces with CalMatters to supercharge the impact of our work, and on a playing field where our journalism has been incredibly powerful: local. 

We’ll bet that you’ve heard the sob story around local news many times: news deserts, collapsing papers, apathetic denizens tuning out. But what we’ve seen is the opposite. City by city, across the country, people are hungry for reliable news that helps them make sense of the world–about tech, but also about education, housing, you name it. We’ve seen it firsthand as we’ve focused on the journalistic ‘last mile’—not only producing reliable, independent journalism, but making sure that people receive it and can act on it.

As a result, more than 5,000 readers helped us verify whether their internet providers were telling the government the truth about what internet they offered, readers and researchers like Alex Rosenblat used our privacy inspector tool, Blacklight, to conduct over 13 million scans combined and wrote about it, and since June 2022, nearly every month, a new proposed class action lawsuit is filed against companies for sharing protected information without consent. People across the country are ready and willing to join in and challenge technology to serve the public good. 

We have seen extraordinary examples of this engagement in California in particular, as a result of our localized reporting on how Los Angeles measures the “vulnerability” of unhoused people and how Angelenos were victims of digital discrimination. It makes sense: One out of eight people in the U.S. lives in California, national issues, whether it’s housing, homelessness, or climate, are widely seen and represented in California, and the California legislature has been a leader in privacy legislation. In so many ways–and certainly in tech!–California is a testbed for the nation. 

Which brings us to CalMatters. We’ve long admired their work, and we noticed when they started to beef up their approach to covering tech. They hired Khari Johnson from WIRED, whom we love, they launched Digital Democracy, and of course, they sit in the shadow of Silicon Valley. It all made sense. 

This doesn’t mean that The Markup will only bring its forces to bear in California. Hardly! This is the first time we’ve seen a national and local organization join forces like this, and we’re excited to seize a unique opportunity. We’ll continue innovating and providing the rest of the industry with methodologies, story recipes, and training—to help them do this kind of amazing work no matter where they are in the world. 

We’ll also have a permanent local partner in CalMatters, which will be an incredible testbed to ground our work, have continuous impact, and allow our journalism to build real, long standing relationships with communities. It also means we will keep innovating, with the full force of CalMatters and The Markup combined, to ensure our journalism both serves readers and truly reaches them.

What does this mean for you, dear reader? Right now, nothing! The Markup, as a publication, isn’t going anywhere. And if you love our data-driven, community-centered work, we’ll only do more of it. In the coming months, you can expect to see new faces bringing you fantastic journalism as the CalMatters and Markup teams become one. You’ll also see more national tech coverage with grounding in California, alongside California coverage that will have national and global lessons and resonance. You’ll keep seeing new tools and guides to help get you the information you need to make important decisions around technology. And if you need a reminder of all the amazing work we’ve done in our first four years, check out our latest impact report. 

Whether you’ve been reading us since 2020 or last week, thank you for being with us on this journey—and here’s to the next phase of The Markup! 

Nabiha & Sisi

We don't only investigate technology. We instigate change.

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