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NFT...FTW? Eugene Weekly's Newest Cover Seeks Crypto-Bidders

Designed by Chelsea Lovejoy, provided by Bob Keefer
Eugene Weekly

An alternative newspaper in Eugene is unveiling its foray into NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.  It’s to help offset advertising losses while also embracing an emerging digital art form.

Broken down, an NFT is a unique, one-of-a-kind unit of digital data, which can be an image, video, or similar medium. Many have sold as exclusive editions, in the burgeoning field of techno-art collection.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Bob Keefer, arts editor for the Eugene Weekly.

Bob Keefer, arts editor for the Eugene Weekly, says their latest cover has been formatted as an NFT and put up for auction.

“I read that the New York Times put up an NFT version of a storythat they ran in the paper and it sold for half a million dollars,” Keefer told KLCC.  “And I thought well, if they could just put a story out of the paper online and collect half a million dollars well, maybe Eugene Weekly can put our cover online and auction it off, and who knows what we’d get.”  

Keefer says they’ll use the money to fund news operations at the Eugene Weekly.  Through the pandemic, he figures they’re losing $5,000 in ad revenue per issue.

“I wanted to credit our staff artist, Chelsea Lovejoy, who came up with the image and did a wonderful job of it,” added Keefer. 

“We’re using a famous image from art history by Rene Magritte, it‘s often titled in English, This Is Not a Pipe even though when you look at it, it looks very much like a picture of a pipe. And Magritte I believe was commenting on the fact that the image is not the thing.”

Keefer says there’s some concern over the environmental impact of producing NFTs, so some proceeds will support environmental coverage.

Details on bidding on the Eugene Weekly’s NFT can be found onlineand in the print edition.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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