Jarvis Cocker, Emma Thompson and A L Kennedy have all backed a crowdfunding campaign to help publishing company New Internationalist become a community-owned co-operative.
Book and magazine publisher New Internationlist was founded 44 years ago and positions itself as a "pioneer of progressive publishing and ethical journalism". In response to the "majorly" disruptive current political climate in which "fake news and misinformation are spreading", New Internationalist intends to create a new way to finance and run not-for-profit media while putting “readers at its core”.
Supporters are invited to ‘Buy Into a Better Story’, by purchasing "community shares" during a crowdfunding campaign which ends on 6th April. As co-owners, investors become “stewards of New Internationalist’s mission into the future”.
Currently 1,037 supporters have raised £293,827 of the £500,000 target.
The shares offer will create a “secure and democratic” structure for the organisation, “bucking the global trend of media concentration in the hands of fewer owners”, sales and marketing manager Dan Raymond-Barker said.
He told The Bookseller: “We want people who really believe in our organisation and believe we're doing really good work, we want them to actually be a part of the organisation. It's in challenging times that people need to be brought together… and books and journalism become the things that really matter. With our new model of community shares it will create a more democratic media in which ordinary people will be investing in what we produce and get to really engage with the product. This will help us respond to the major challenges in the current political climate."
He continued: “[In the age of] Trump and Brexit the way media portrays news on both sides can be divisive, so with this we want to show that media can be good, honest, direct and sincere, and we hope the New Internationalist will get bigger with more support.”
The pledge page says: “Inequality is rising, our climate is changing and nationalist leaders are gaining ground. To handle what's coming we need knowledge - not click bait. But fake news and media monopolies are spreading misinformation. And all the while, the challenges of the information age are making it harder than ever for independent media like us to survive. For the past 44 years, we have published stories that make sense of the complex and beautiful world we live in and offer bold, bright ideas for how to change things. This is journalism that has the power to bring people together. As we print our 500th edition, we are opening up the very core of our organisation by inviting YOU to join us as co-owners. The funds we raise will help us to get our stories out to more people than ever before."
High profile supporters of the campaign include Emma Thompson, A L Kennedy, Jarvis Cocker, and George Monbiot.
Thompson said: “I really hope that thousands and thousands of people make a stand and choose to support the New Internationalist, and keep this unique, uniquely independent voice alive and kicking".
Kennedy said: “New Internationalist promotes the values that keep us all safe and the information that keeps us all aware. I wish it well”.
While Cocker added: “More than ever we need bold publishers like New Internationalist, who dare to break with the political consensus and shake things up.”
More information can be found here.