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.

Anthony Nadler

Stefanie Murray

Simon Allison

Jody Brannon

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Kerri Hoffman

S. Mitra Kalita

j. Siguru Wahutu

Francesco Zaffarano

Cherian George

Matt Karolian

Burt Herman

Jonas Kaiser

Chase Davis

Julia Munslow

Alice Antheaume

Jennifer Coogan

Anita Varma

Sarah Marshall

Gordon Crovitz

Nikki Usher

Andrew Freedman

Daniel Eilemberg

Stephen Fowler

Jennifer Brandel

Mandy Jenkins

Tony Baranowski

James Green

Matt DeRienzo

Meena Thiruvengadam

Julia Angwin

Shalabh Upadhyay

Millie Tran

Mary Walter-Brown

Tom Trewinnard

Ariel Zirulnick

Izabella Kaminska

Simon Galperin

Sam Guzik

Errin Haines

Jim Friedlich

Anika Anand

David Cohn

Natalia Viana

Jesenia De Moya Correa

Chicas Poderosas

Candace Amos

Mike Rispoli

Don Day

Joanne McNeil

Shannon McGregor & Carolyn Schmitt

Cindy Royal

Kristen Jeffers

Amara Aguilar

Joy Mayer

Tamar Charney

Joe Amditis

Ståle Grut

Parker Molloy

Matthew Pressman

Juleyka Lantigua

Wilson Liévano

Cristina Tardáguila

Joshua P. Darr

David Skok

Rachel Glickhouse

Victor Pickard

Jessica Clark

Catalina Albeanu

Eric Nuzum

John Davidow

Jesse Holcomb

Doris Truong

Amy Schmitz Weiss

Brian Moritz

Megan McCarthy

Kendra Pierre-Louis

Laxmi Parthasarathy

Raney Aronson-Rath

Robert Hernandez

Paul Cheung

Richard Tofel

Janelle Salanga

An Xiao Mina

Christoph Mergerson

Mario García

Kristen Muller

Joni Deutsch

Kathleen Searles & Rebekah Trumble

Gonzalo del Peon

Whitney Phillips

Zizi Papacharissi

Gabe Schneider

Sarah Stonbely

Larry Ryckman

Melody Kramer

Moreno Cruz Osório

Michael W. Wagner

A.J. Bauer

Christina Shih