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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Growing Pains in the Digital News Co-op World

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rise of an emerging business model: the digital news co-op. Now, eight months later, taking a second look, we have seen two important developments. First, newly launched news co-ops are gathering steam in Baltimore and West Virginia. At the same time, the nation’s first such co-op, in Akron, Ohio, has stopped publishing.

The good news: Bloc by Block News maryland, in Baltimore, fresh from shaping its business plan as part of the Start.coop accelerator program, began publishing a weekly newsletter in April that presents headlines, summaries, and links to stories selected from many area news organizations. It started with only 60 subscribers—mostly personal contacts of founder Kevon Paynter. But a short 31 weeks later, the list is approaching 2,000 people, and the venture has launched a website where fresh curated material can be posted daily.

Nor is the Baltimore publication a unique case. Black by God | The West Virginian (BBG), led by founder Crystal Good and aiming to serve Black residents throughout the state, is close behind with a weekly newsletter, and it has just distributed its second quarterly print publication. BBG has applied to be part of the next Start.coop class, as has The Pittsburgh Independent, led by Brian Conway, who is assembling co-founders.

Read the rest at Nonprofit Quarterly

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