Hello everyone, this is Olivia Henry! This is the fifth newsletter I'm sending out to people interested in conversations about community and worker ownership of newsrooms. I promise to keep it short and focused on links.
Colorado journalists visited the Green Bay Packers' annual shareholder meeting last week to learn about public ownership in action. Here's an excerpt from the Green Bay Press Gazette article covering the visit:
Leaders of The Sentinel, a weekly publication in Aurora, Colorado with twice-daily email newsletters, have been investigating whether the Packers' model, based on public ownership of the team, could provide financial viability to the news organization.
This week, Dave Perry, editor of The Sentinel, and Laura Frank, executive director of Colorado News Collaborative, attended the Packers annual shareholders' meeting at Lambeau Field so they could see up close what drove 539,062 shareholders, many from them outside of Wisconsin, to invest in the Packers.
Frank believes the Sentinel has the seeds of the kind of public following the Packers enjoy.
“Right now, the Sentinel receives more money from donations from the community than even subscriptions from the community,” Frank said. “… which I think is a fantastic piece of evidence about how much the community supports this. Which is why we think a Packers-type model will work.”
The New York Times profiled journalist-owned news site Hell Gate. The article details the journalists' financial worries — they decided to launch a paywall in late July — but it also captures their obvious joy:
After years of bouncing from job to job, questioning why they were still hanging on in the field, Hell Gate has returned their agency to their work and reminded them why they do what they do.
And, they said, it’s just been good to write about New York City in the way that they want to.
The Banyan Project's Tom Stites shared that he is stepping back from the project. Founded in 2008, Banyan was the first to promote reader-owned news cooperatives as a tool to address compounding crises of democracy and journalism. Stites has mentored numerous people exploring shared ownership models for journalism. In an email to collaborators, Stites wrote:
I am not killing Banyan, nor am I fully retiring. I plan to be available to share the learnings from Banyan’s dozen-plus years of experience with you and anyone else who wants to pursue creation of a reader-owned news co-op. I will no longer seek funding, but I’ll assist in any way I can if others are doing the seeking. And if a project gets far enough along I’d consider a formal consulting role.
The website will remain up indefinitely so that interested people can find it and learn the basics about our model. Over the next few weeks I’ll be making some tweaks and adding some material, including the full version of the most recent business plan, so people can borrow from it in pursuit of their own approaches.