We admit the market won’t save us

“Journalism leaders called for Lee to fend off the vulture hedge fund in order to help preserve a democratic press. Lee told Alden they’d just need a higher return to sell us out.”

Two hundred years from now, there will be no hunger, poverty, or homelessness. Everyone will have access to the healthcare and education they need to live their best lives. Communities will be deeply connected. Mass incarceration will be a thing of the past. The environment will be cherished and white supremacy extinct.

What will local news look like then? And how are we building toward that future today?

One thing we know is we won’t reach utopia on the back of commercial media.

There will be no solution to the local news crisis or its deleterious effects on democratic institutions without the creation of an alternative public system to meet the news and information needs of working people.

With few exceptions, commercial news media is a financial instrument of the ultra-wealthy, leveraged for their profit or power at the expense of journalists and consumers alike.

When Alden Global Capital made a bid to buy Lee Enterprises, owner of 90 American dailies, Lee’s board of directors took a stand against the hedge fund known for pillaging newsrooms and exacerbating social problems in the communities it operates. After the board voted unanimously to oppose the purchase, board chairman Mary Junck elaborated on the decision. “The Alden proposal grossly undervalues Lee and fails to recognize the strength of our business today,” Junck said.

Journalism leaders called for Lee to fend off the vulture hedge fund in order to help preserve a democratic press. Lee told Alden they’d just need a higher return to sell us out.

Those same journalism leaders call on us to trust establishment media to respond to the crises their profiteering has wrought, and to subsidize them with our tax dollars to boot.

Profit is the raison d’être of commercial media. We cannot bet our bottom dollar on institutions and people that have consistently undermined the public good for their investors’ benefit. We must build an alternative system that treats access to local news and information as a right, a critical component of a democratic society and a sustainable economy, a keystone of a functional community.

In 2022, we’ll admit the market won’t save us. That it will take local, state, and federal investments in new public alternatives to inspire a resurgence in local news and civic participation.

The heyday of journalism is ahead of us. In 2022, we lay the foundation for that future.

Simon Galperin is founding director of the Community Info Coop.

Two hundred years from now, there will be no hunger, poverty, or homelessness. Everyone will have access to the healthcare and education they need to live their best lives. Communities will be deeply connected. Mass incarceration will be a thing of the past. The environment will be cherished and white supremacy extinct.

What will local news look like then? And how are we building toward that future today?

One thing we know is we won’t reach utopia on the back of commercial media.

There will be no solution to the local news crisis or its deleterious effects on democratic institutions without the creation of an alternative public system to meet the news and information needs of working people.

With few exceptions, commercial news media is a financial instrument of the ultra-wealthy, leveraged for their profit or power at the expense of journalists and consumers alike.

When Alden Global Capital made a bid to buy Lee Enterprises, owner of 90 American dailies, Lee’s board of directors took a stand against the hedge fund known for pillaging newsrooms and exacerbating social problems in the communities it operates. After the board voted unanimously to oppose the purchase, board chairman Mary Junck elaborated on the decision. “The Alden proposal grossly undervalues Lee and fails to recognize the strength of our business today,” Junck said.

Journalism leaders called for Lee to fend off the vulture hedge fund in order to help preserve a democratic press. Lee told Alden they’d just need a higher return to sell us out.

Those same journalism leaders call on us to trust establishment media to respond to the crises their profiteering has wrought, and to subsidize them with our tax dollars to boot.

Profit is the raison d’être of commercial media. We cannot bet our bottom dollar on institutions and people that have consistently undermined the public good for their investors’ benefit. We must build an alternative system that treats access to local news and information as a right, a critical component of a democratic society and a sustainable economy, a keystone of a functional community.

In 2022, we’ll admit the market won’t save us. That it will take local, state, and federal investments in new public alternatives to inspire a resurgence in local news and civic participation.

The heyday of journalism is ahead of us. In 2022, we lay the foundation for that future.

Simon Galperin is founding director of the Community Info Coop.

Christoph Mergerson

Millie Tran

Anita Varma

Tamar Charney

Matt DeRienzo

David Cohn

Richard Tofel

An Xiao Mina

Gabe Schneider

Victor Pickard

A.J. Bauer

Tom Trewinnard

Wilson Liévano

Chase Davis

Jonas Kaiser

Moreno Cruz Osório

Gonzalo del Peon

Sarah Marshall

Kristen Muller

Christina Shih

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Cherian George

Nikki Usher

Raney Aronson-Rath

Joanne McNeil

Ariel Zirulnick

Gordon Crovitz

Kerri Hoffman

Whitney Phillips

Stefanie Murray

Mario García

Paul Cheung

Don Day

Rachel Glickhouse

Stephen Fowler

Andrew Freedman

Sam Guzik

Juleyka Lantigua

Kathleen Searles & Rebekah Trumble

Zizi Papacharissi

Candace Amos

Joni Deutsch

Alice Antheaume

Chicas Poderosas

Doris Truong

Shalabh Upadhyay

Jody Brannon

Amara Aguilar

Eric Nuzum

Anika Anand

Sarah Stonbely

Melody Kramer

Kendra Pierre-Louis

Janelle Salanga

Laxmi Parthasarathy

Julia Angwin

Natalia Viana

Tony Baranowski

Michael W. Wagner

Simon Galperin

Mandy Jenkins

S. Mitra Kalita

Mary Walter-Brown

Matt Karolian

James Green

Anthony Nadler

Mike Rispoli

Joe Amditis

Brian Moritz

Meena Thiruvengadam

David Skok

j. Siguru Wahutu

Izabella Kaminska

Simon Allison

John Davidow

Jessica Clark

Jim Friedlich

Daniel Eilemberg

Jesse Holcomb

Burt Herman

Francesco Zaffarano

Ståle Grut

Catalina Albeanu

Matthew Pressman

Cindy Royal

Larry Ryckman

Joshua P. Darr

Robert Hernandez

Julia Munslow

Jennifer Coogan

Parker Molloy

Kristen Jeffers

Jennifer Brandel

Errin Haines

Joy Mayer

Megan McCarthy

Shannon McGregor & Carolyn Schmitt

Amy Schmitz Weiss

Cristina Tardáguila

Jesenia De Moya Correa