With the consolidation of corporate news and Elon Musk’s Twitter “enshittification” speed-run, it can be hard to find reliable, independent media. But a new app promises to change that by allowing users to “OptOut” of corporate-dominated journalism and instead support 180 different news publications, podcasts, videos and other content that isn’t pushing a profit-driven agenda.
“If there’s a publication that specializes in, let’s say, energy and climate reporting,” like Semafor, “and they’re sponsored by Chevron, that’s disqualifying for us,” co-founder and investigative journalist Alex Kotch explained in an interview. “Politico’s energy podcast has some good stuff, but they’re also sponsored by big oil and gas, and that’s just not trustworthy. American’s trust in the media is at an all-time low. We can’t risk having people not trust the news that we’re pushing out. And frankly, we don’t have faith in news that has financial conflicts of interest.”
Instead, OptOut aggregates content from local and regional publishers across the country, as well as national outlets, climate and other issue-specific publications, like Grist, HEATED and The Nation. The small team is also producing original content, with weekly newsletters covering NewYork, LGBTQ+ issues and climate change. “The hope is that when people are reading, they have a healthier, more diverse diet of news on a daily basis,” Kotch told Nieman Labs. (OptOut: Nieman Lab; Enshittification: Financial Times)