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 founding members; their 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.
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 reader/members; widely known types of consumer co-ops 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 investment return. The International Co-operative Alliance has established these seven Co-op Principles.
If you’re interested in exploring ways to start a news co-op and affiliate with Banyan, or otherwise getting involved, contact us.