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After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

“The journalism ecosystem has been devastated by capitalism, but not destroyed. And the next ecosystem has already begun to emerge.”

Things are going to get worse before they get better.

Consolidation, mergers, and layoffs will continue to decimate existing local news organizations as stockholders demand ever increasing financial returns. This will leave even more communities without critical civic information.

On the other hand, local TV news is projected to see increases in revenue over the next decade but that doesn’t mean much. Once the hedge funds are done with the newspapers, they’ll come for the broadcasters. Profit seeking never ends. It finds new resources and markets to exhaust.

In the case of local newspapers and TV stations, artificial intelligence will help capitalists wring every cent out of the news industry, putting more and more journalists out of work.

But there is opportunity in this devastation.

In ecological terms, we are in what is called secondary succession. When ecosystems are disturbed by fire, flood, or overfarming, the plant species that replace what was lost grow from what remains under the new conditions. The journalism ecosystem has been devastated by capitalism, but not destroyed. And the next ecosystem has already begun to emerge.

Community information organizations operating under collectivist principles are taking root. Where previously news organizations produced communities to sell their attention, these new organizations are cultivating communities to meet needs. As capitalism consumes us, these new journalism-community organization hybrids are leveraging a collective process to meet collective needs and build the next ecosystem.

They are our future. Cultivate them.

Simon Galperin is the customer success lead at GroundSource and the director of the Community Information Cooperative.

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