Hello everyone, this is Olivia Henry! This is the third 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.
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The Brick House — a publishing cooperative with nine member publications — received a grant last month to expand its work on digital media access and control. Founder Maria Bustillos has written about how corporate publishers are seeking an “end to the private ownership of books” online. Rather than public libraries buying and owning copies of books that they lend out, Bustillos says mega-publishers want to make books merely rentable like Netflix titles. Bustillos and The Brick House are interested in libraries protecting access to creators' work; last year the cooperative sold a digital copy of its quarterly anthology to The Internet Archive's Open Library. The question of who owns and controls media online is so important and it's inspiring that an independent publishing cooperative is leading the way.
The N.J. Community Media Collective was organized by the Community Info Coop, Free Press, and the New Jersey Local News Lab to create a cooperative association of local media organizations serving the news and information needs of underserved communities in New Jersey. Its founding members include the Bloomfield Info Project, the Newark News and Story Collaborative, Stories of Atlantic City, and the Trenton Journal.
Through consensus, the membership has determined key areas to consider investing the seed grant given to us by the New Jersey Local News Lab. They include marketing, fundraising, organizing a statewide editorial project, and ecosystem development. Here's an outline of our process.
Check out news service Range Media, which is part of the emerging Spokane Workers Cooperative. Co-founder and journalist Luke Baumgarten say the cooperative works like a holding company that acquires community businesses and helps convert them to worker ownership. Employees of the businesses all become owners of the umbrella holding company. Baumgarten says the goal is to “bring sustainability within the broader family of businesses: a mission-aligned pool of sibling businesses that could support each other through advertising and other partnerships.” On the news side, Baumgarten says Range is moving from Substack to open-source platform Ghost this week and plans to launch a more robust news site alongside the existing newsletter and podcast.
Have you considered pitching a session for the Collaborative Journalism Summit this May? The deadline for pitches is Feb. 28.
The Institute for Nonprofit News is also soliciting ideas for its INN Days 2022 conference. Are you interested in sharing session ideas around community ownership models — shared services associations, worker self-directed nonprofits, etc.? The proposal deadline is Feb. 25.