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.

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Simon Allison

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Paul Cheung

Sam Guzik

Kristen Muller

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John Davidow

Gabe Schneider

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Mary Walter-Brown

Matt Karolian

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Don Day

Joanne McNeil

Raney Aronson-Rath

Mario García

David Cohn

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Alice Antheaume

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Whitney Phillips

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Tony Baranowski

Joy Mayer

Candace Amos

Amara Aguilar

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Cherian George

Eric Nuzum

Ariel Zirulnick

Matthew Pressman

Gonzalo del Peon

Brian Moritz

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David Skok

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Shannon McGregor & Carolyn Schmitt

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Joni Deutsch

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Laxmi Parthasarathy

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