WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
Big Money has made a mess of our democracy, and one of the primary ways it does this (besides buying elections) is to own news organizations that look after its interests. Sure, the dogs of the public interest get thrown the occasional bone, but mostly they’re on a short leash.
Well, maybe we can own some journalists of our own, and get those hungry watchdogs of democracy out of the kennel and out on the streets, knocking over trash cans and barking up a storm.
The goal of Newsfunders …
… is to inspire and organize communities that want to wield some collective economic power over mass media in a time of rampant civic corruption and cynicism.
The good news is …
… independent, nonprofit news outlets are springing up everywhere, launched by indie journalists who can’t stand the corporate shill any more — or who have been laid off or shut out by the system. They need us … and we need them.
The concept …
- Recruit large numbers of small donors giving $20 each
- Select a different local news nonprofit each quarter and shower it with pennies from heaven, and then,
- Challenge the reporters and editors to live up to the resulting public-interest mandate. No delivery — no renewal of donations.
This is a very low-impact, low-overhead, low-complexity process with no third-party entities taking fees.
Yet successful communicating it and inspiring participation remains an issue.
Let’s take it step by step and see what happens.
- “The New Media Monopoly,” by Ben Bagdikian, former dean of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism