Starting a News Co-op

Starting a community news co-op is an exercise in community organizing and requires significant volunteer energy and leadership commitment. Co-ops are businesses without investors, so organizers need to sign up a large number of the founding members whose modest initial payments add up to provide the money needed for the launch.  And they’ll need to raise some other money in the community as well.

A committee of community leaders is organizing the pilot co-op on the Banyan model in Haverhill, Massachusetts. To see their organizing plan, see the Haverhill Matters page. And please feel free to contact Banyan’s founder by email.

Co-ops take many forms, but all are governed democratically on a one-member/one-vote basis; typically, co-op members vote to elect directors, who then hire the management. The Banyan model is a consumer cooperative, whose governing members are end users. News co-ops are governed by the votes of readers; widely known types of consumer co-op are food co-ops, which are governed by the votes of shoppers, and credit unions, which are governed by the votes of their depositors. By law they are oriented toward service rather than profit. The International Co-operative Alliance has established these seven Co-op Principles.

One crucial step in forming a co-op is a formal feasibility study on a form expected by lending institutions that make loans to co-ops. Usually these are done by consultants, and the first money raised covers their fees.

If you’re interested in exploring ways to start a news co-op and affiliate with Banyan, or otherwise getting involved, contact us.

kickstartbanyan

Help launch Banyan to support our efforts to strengthen democracy. Please make a secure donation today.

signup

Sign up for our email newsletter.

getinvolved

Tell us how you can help a community news cooperative.

search

Loading

whoweare

The Banyan Project is a nonprofit organization founded from the thinking of 30 senior journalists, academics, Web developers, sociologists and researchers, business and financial strategists, and advocates for strengthening democracy brought together by Tom Stites. Members of this Board of Advisors are listed below; click on names to see bios.

Stites shaped Banyan's model as a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He is now helping a committee of community leaders who are organizing Haverhill Matters, the nation's first community Web news co-op in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Read more about Banyan Project.