A website and magazine dedicated to "positive" journalism has raised nearly £170,000 in crowdfunding.
Positive News claims that if it hits a £200,000 target on the website Crowdfunder.co.uk by 8 July it will become the world’s first crowdfunded global news media cooperative.
It is selling shares and giving each shareholder a say in how the publication is run.
The title is currently run as a not-for-profit project by editor Sean Dagan Wood (pictured) and is funded by print subscriptions and donations. The website is free to access.
Wood plans to use the money to re-launch the website and print edition, which has a quarterly print run of 30,000 copies.
In addition, Positive News plans to provide training and news services to other media organisations as part of its mission to encourage “solution-focused” journalism.
Wood also wants to expand his team, which currently consists of one staff journalist and one administrator plus a network of freelances paid from a commissioning budget of £13,000 per year.
Nearly 1,000 people have already taken part in the share offer, which opened on 8 June. There is a minimum investment of £50 and each share costs a pound.
One stakeholder has opted for the highest crowdfunding reward level, £20,000, which includes a dinner with patron Martyn Lewis (the former BBC newsreader).
Wood said: "We needed to create a more sustainable business model and we were looking for a way forward that was going to create something robust.
“In that search we recognised that our most valuable asset is our social purpose and the depth of support that we have from our audience.
“We wanted to find a model that made the most out of that, so becoming a cooperative really made sense.
“We create content that is all about the ways people and organisations are working to create a more flourishing world and a more sustainable, just and fair society, so we wanted to play a part in that.
“By becoming a co-operative we will ensure that we continue to work for the benefit of our community of readers who want to support positive and constructive journalism, and want to be informed in a way that is inspiring.”
Shareholders will not be involved in day-to-day decision making, but will have one vote each in the election of the board of directors. They also own the Positive News Charter, which dictates the ethical values of the organisation.
Wood believes this democratic structure will offer an alternative model to centralised media ownership.
He added: "It is part of our business plan that shareholders will receive part of any surplus we make in the future. Just because we are not for-profit does not mean that we won’t make a profit.”
Image copyright credit: Positive News
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