Can a Media Coop Fight Corporate Media?

It’s not a great time to be a journalist. Mass firings of editorial departments, the ever growing conglomeration of media so that fewer and fewer companies own public discussion, and of course the frickin’ freelance gold standard is still $1/word!! But, I’m not bitter.

Actually, I am kind of excited. There was an interesting presentation by a couple left-leaning independent journalists from the Dominion Newspaper at the University of Waterloo tonight.

The two guys (beards, black sweaters, and worn jeans…yep, they were hippy/artsy/viva la revolution types) were very genuine about their hopes for the Dominion. And, I have to admit that there is a definite need for some real investigative journalism that runs counter to the mainstream media.

However, their business plan seems flawed. I mean, their five year plan actually states as one of their goals “pay journalists”. I’m not sure how long they will last without paying their writers.

They also have a very anti-corporate advertising policy. In essence, no money from any company that employees more than 20 people unless they put democracy and social justice ahead of profits. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they plan to produce thousands of copies of their monthly newspaper and give them out for free or on a donation based system.

I’m just not sure how well it will work.

On the other hand, they were very honest that they don’t want to be just another small market for lefties to rant about how governments and corporations are destroying the world, the developing world, sea corals and sex.

Another thing I thought had some promise was that they have some great journalists working with them already, and their sustainer/subscriber system where you pay $20/month to get the paper could really catch on. And, the way that they are starting nationwide city-specific media coops could also take off.

One thing is for sure, if these guys can figure out some startup kinks they could really become something cool. I will definitely be watching them in the future, and if I get a better feeling in the future then I would love to write for them.

Just so long as I don’t have to grow facial hair….that could take forever with my baby faced good looks.

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