Culture Hustlers - Civil Registry Discussion

Hi Culture Hustlers. You have successfully submitted your application to join the Civil Registry. Over the next 10 days, members of the Civil community may reach out to you with questions regarding your editorial policy, privacy policy, and business model. Newsrooms will get an email alert every time there is a comment relating to their Civil Registry Profile. Please make sure to check this discussion forum regularly to respond to community comments.

How in the world is this a newsroom? It certainly appears interesting, but there is no content, only an invitation to sign on to the school they are running for creative people. It appears to be well-intentioned, all in all, but I do wonder if they belong on the Registry. There is no stated editorial policy, no privacy policy, no statement of conflict of interest (since they seem to be mostly about selling their school), no journalism, no stories. I love a good countercultural project as much as the next guy, but it seems out of place on Civil.

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@Reidob: Looking at their Soundcloud, it appears that they produce a podcast, which seems to sometimes be journalistic. However, it is irregular and not clearly linked from the website. I’d be interested in hearing from Lucas about how this fits into Civil, given that he has been active on the Slack, but I think it will need to do some refocusing in order to fit.

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Thanks for that. It does seem that if in their charter they point to the website as their “newsroom” that linking to the podcast would be wise, if that is their journalistic content. But I appreciate you pointing that out; I will try to take a listen.

Lucas Spivey addressed the concerns on Slack:
@Benjamin I’m quite baffled. That discussion on Discourse was from July 8, but I was welcomed to the registry long before that was posted, late April is when I was welcomed. @Reidob I’ll answer to your comment here, we publish podcasts, docu-shorts, and photo essays, as well as a travelogue of our Mobile Incubator traveling across the US and recording conversations on the art & money.

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Not sure why you are baffled. Review of newsrooms is an ongoing process. Thanks for your response, though. My point really was that, since your link on the Civil Registry points to your website, and since that website, as far as I can tell, does not link to your podcasts, I suspect this would be very confusing to anyone coming to your site via Civil.


My overall point is not for my own information, and while I appreciate your response here, the larger issue is that Civil readers would not find a newsroom that is fully compliant with the Civil Constitution, which is what they would rightfully expect.

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Hey Reibob, if you go to you’ll see links to Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes for the podcast, YouTube for our videos, as well as IG/FB. Thanks!

Yes, I see that, but if I am a new person coming to your site, all I see is a banner for the school, and everything else on that page refers to the school. No one would ever be able to guess from the landing page that there is any journalistic content at all. Why not a separate and equal mention of your podcasts? Then if they click through to that page, there you could have disclosures, editorial statement, privacy statement, etc, then you are fully Civil compliant. I have been listening to your podcasts and really enjoying them; why hide them where no one can find them on your website?


Just to clarify, the link on the Civil’s Culture Hustlers Registry page is to the main page, the title of which is “BUSINESS SCHOOL FOR CREATORS”. It sure doesn’t seem like a newsroom at first glance, and I remain unsure.

Thanks for describing the links, @lucasspivey. But I never would have guessed that those tiny images, most of which are normally used to ask the reader to share content on social media, were actually links to any news content.

I don’t think we want a world in which the link from Civil to a newsroom is a set of promotions of non-newsroom content, and the public has to wander around hoping to see news, disclosures, editorial statement, privacy statement, links back to Civil and some rationale for why the organization is a worthy newsroom.

Can you collect those things into a newsroom landing page?


Copying over some of my thoughts on Culture Hustlers from Slack:
“With Culture Hustlers, my feeling is that we should make a very specific list of our current concerns and give them a set period of time prior to challenging. If they come to comply, the problem is solved. If they don’t, the time for discussion has passed and we challenge them.”

I’d be happy to start preparing this list of specific concerns, but I’m not sure that I’m the best person to do it, given that I see some of the violations as more minor than others do.

Hey everyone thanks for the feedback. Couple things.

  1. When Culture Hustlers was voted onto the registry in April the home page was an interactive map of 36 case studies: written photo essays that explained the context of the podcasts and docu-shorts, no brainer newsroom. That has been taken down so the students and faculty can audit and peer review all 36 case studies, timestamps with take aways, really robust, as well as adding 12 more over the next 4 months. That content will be back online as we finish rewriting them. Get stoked!

  2. I have a complaint. No one from Civil told me that this discussion existed (it took someone on Slack to say so) or that we’d need to re-defend our position as a newsroom again. Does this happen routinely? We applied and were voted onto the registry in April. If I had known there was to be another discussion after the fact, I could have explained our upcoming web updates to the community ahead of time.

But more that that, if we really do need to re-explain and re-justify ourselves as a newsroom whenever we make our day to day decision in order to grow, then we will just part ways with Civil. We at Culture Hustlers (mostly one dude like many of yall) simply don’t have the time to explain our back end and overall organizational strategy on this forum. We all have bigger work to do. This re-discussion of what a newsroom is simply not why we joined Civil. If that means we have to leave Civil while we redo our front end, then we’re fine with that. We joined Civil to be a part of a conversation regarding ethics and journalism, and participate in a smarter blend of education and entertainment. If we don’t fit as we continually adapt our website then we don’t fit and we’re grateful for the time we were with you.

Final thoughts: I still don’t understand what Civil is or does, or what we as newsrooms are supposed to do with Civil. I’m down for experiments though! But please don’t let Civil degrade into a forum on what is or isn’t a newsroom. Sadly that seems to be what 90% of the conversations have been. There’s got to be a higher purpose to Civil.

Meanwhile I’m in the busiest time in our existence, I literally have 50+ video calls this week with no time to answer questions. So I’m sorry but I won’t be able to respond to this forum til at least early September. Much love.

Hey Lucas, thank you for your thoughtful response here, and for your honest feedback about Civil and your experience of the community. We’d love the opportunity to learn more from you about what works and what doesn’t for newsrooms on the registry - we definitely understand the challenge of trying to do a whole lot with very little and will reach out separately to follow up on this.

We do encourage community vetting as an ongoing process for newsrooms on the Civil Registry. It is important that the community is able to hold newsrooms accountable to the ethical standards and guidelines laid out in the Civil Constitution, even beyond the application and approval stage.

However, it is, as you say, important that newsrooms are made aware of any current discussions and given the recent shift to Discourse as the primary venue for this type of debate there are still some kinks to iron out. We hope you are willing to bear with us as we make the shift. It is possible to subscribe to updates which means you will be notified about any relevant discussions to your newsroom. We’d be happy to walk you through how to set these up.

Thanks again for your valuable feedback.



That is one of the primary purposes of Civil. The primary purpose of Civil is to curate a Token-curated Registry, which requires that we actively discuss what should be on that registry. This includes discussing what should be added to the registry, but equally what should be removed or reconsidered, which is how the discussion around your newsroom started. While you don’t generally have to explain and rejustify your day-to-day decisions, you do have to be prepared to respond to feedback. In this instance, you made a change that some felt violated the constitution, in this instance, you have to be willing to respond to the feedback and make a change to come into compliance or risk a challenge.

While I have liked engaging with you and some of the content that you produce, if you don’t believe that your newsroom will come into and remain in compliance with the constitution, then I agree that it may be time for you to part ways with Civil. However, if you think that you can resolve the concerns raised and will then remain in compliance, I wouldn’t expect that you will regularly have to respond to discussions and I would love to see you remain.


I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be asked to engage with members of the community if there are concerns–this is true of any group to which any of us belong. However, this is a reasonable group, and if you had simply stopped after the first paragraph of your response, that would have been good enough for me. All we want to know is that newsrooms are either in compliance or making an effort to get there. But it is true that you are subject to review of compliance at any time and the expectation is that you will respond in a timely fashion to such inquiries. If that is not something you can become comfortable with, then perhaps you are right and Civil is not for you. But I, for one, would be sad to see you go–I think the work you are doing is very interesting and would be a valuable part of Civil.

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I also think newsroom integrity is one of the building blocks of Civil. It’s not that I want to argue incessantly about what is and is not a newsroom, but that I think it essential that when news consumers come to Civil they can be confident that what they will encounter is a group of newsrooms that have been judged by certain standards (as found in the Constitution) and found to be in compliance. The reader should not have to wonder if this is the case. I compare it to the health department examining the practices of restaurants; when you walk into a place, you don’t want to have to wonder if it has mice droppings in the food. You can be pretty confident that you are not going to get ill in a place here in Seattle because the health department is all over doing inspections. Just so, if you come to Civil, you know you are not going to be faced with plagiarism, false news, or privacy violations; you can consume your news in peace.

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Perhaps some of your podcasts could be developed as feature articles; as arts journalism and read at the site. We’re willing to collaborate with you, Lucas! Be well. -Edward

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