People across the country are scrambling to develop sustainable models to fund local journalism.
In the Bay Area, Berkleyside has taken a capitalistic approach to its fundraising through a Direct Public Offering. Businesses can use a Direct Public Offering, or DPO, to raise capital by offering the public a chance to buy a share of the company. The DPO allowed California residents to purchase preferred stock with a minimum investment of $1,000. This was the first time a local news organization had used this financing strategy, following the path of companies like Ben & Jerry’s. Berkeleyside launched the DPO in 2016 and spent two years raising capital. Over those two years, the outlet reached out to potential investors by creating a website dedicated to explaining the DPO process, running marketing campaigns, holding house parties, and mentioning the DPO in the stories it published.
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