Culture

Good news sells: Positive News to be owned by its readers

First ever global media cooperative financed through crowdfunding

#Ownthemedia Publication focused on reporting positive stories is to become a cooperative owned by its audience and journalists as it launches a £200,000 ‘community share offer’. The campaign has already reached nearly a quarter of its target within the first 24 hours. Positive News today announced plans to become the first global media cooperative financed through crowdfunding. Having pioneered positive reporting for 22 years, the organisation is now pioneering a new way to finance and run a media business - one that places readers and journalists at its heart. The publication is inviting its supporters to buy ‘community shares’ during a 30-day crowdfunding campaign. By converting into a cooperative and issuing community shares, the Positive News team aims to raise at least £200,000 to grow the organisation. With the minimum investment level set at only £50, every shareholder will have an equal vote in the new cooperative, no matter how much they invest. They can vote on matters such as electing the board of directors to represent their interests. Positive_News_The share offer is billed primarily as a ‘social investment’, leveraging the support of a passionate and loyal readership. It creates a secure and democratic structure for the organisation, offering an alternative blueprint at a time of increased concentration of media ownership. The campaign is running on Crowdfunder.co.uk, the UK’s largest crowdfunding platform. Positive News editor-in-chief, Seán Dagan Wood, said: “We’re seeing a growing public demand for our journalism. It’s essential to report problems and hold power to account, but we should also shine a light on positive stories and investigate solutions. This creates a fuller picture and empowers society to better respond to the challenges it faces. “There is also increasing interest in our work from other media who are intrigued by evidence of how positive and constructive journalism is engaging audiences. “At the same time, like many news organisations, we need to innovate to become sustainable. For us, cooperative ownership is the perfect way forward. It gives us a way to raise investment and scale up while protecting our not-for-profit ethos and journalistic values. “Our audience has always been incredibly passionate about what we do, so I can think of no one better to be our proprietors.” Dave Boyle, director of The Community Shares Company, who has advised some of the UK’s highest profile community share offers, said: “Throughout the last 10 years, media organisations have gone on an arduous search for new revenue to replace falling ad sales. Positive News’ solution is far simpler and much closer to home. What if the people to whom your magazine or paper matters become its owners? That solves several problems in one fell swoop. “We’ve seen time and time again that when people are given ownership, they take responsibility, and that’s what’s needed. “It’s also an elegant way to bring some accountability to media production in the post-Leveson landscape, beyond the narrow confines of newsroom culture or proprietorial diktat.”

#Ownthemedia

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