Positive News’ 30-day drive to become the first global media cooperative financed by crowdfunding has enjoyed a swell of support in its first three days. Supporters have so far invested almost £70,000 towards its £200,000 target
The total was boosted following the official launch of the #OwnTheMedia campaign which took place yesterday at the London headquarters of innovation investment charity Nesta. Guests heard speeches from Positive News editor-in-chief Seán Dagan Wood, managing director of Crowdfunder, Phil Geraghty, and Dave Boyle of the Community Shares Company.
Supporters travelled from across the UK to support the launch, including readers who have subscribed to Positive News since it was founded by Shauna Crockett-Burrows in Shropshire 22 years ago. Many people who have already invested, and are set to become co-owners of Positive News if the campaign reaches its target, were also there. Representatives from several high-profile foundations and FC United of Manchester, a club owned and democratically run by its supporters since 2005, were also among the crowd.
Wood explained that cooperative ownership makes sense for Positive News in many ways: it offers a financially sustainable solution, a democratic structure in an age of increased concentration of media ownership, and also protects the organisation’s values and the integrity of its journalism.
“But most of all,” he said, “it rightfully puts Positive News in the hands of those to who it matters most: our incredibly supportive audience and journalists. Without them we are nothing, but with them at the heart of our organisation, I think we can do remarkable things.
“Despite the sufferings and difficulties the world faces – which of course we must report on – I see a strong desire from people to connect around a belief in our potential as individuals and a society. I’m really excited to not just be spreading stories of progress and possibility through our journalism, but now through our cooperative ownership structure, to be building a community around that positive impulse.”
“It rightfully puts Positive News in the hands of those to who it matters most: our incredibly supportive audience and journalists.”
With the minimum investment level set at only £50, every shareholder will have an equal vote in the new cooperative, no matter how much they invest. They will be able to vote on matters such as electing the board of directors to represent their interests.
The campaign also represents a new phase for Crowdfunder, who selected Positive News to launch its Community Shares platform on Crowdfunder.co.uk. In partnership with The Community Shares Company, they will now offer this pioneering funding mechanism to community enterprises.
Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder said: “Here at Crowdfunder we are dedicated to helping communities come together to make their great ideas a reality. Our crowdfunders have had incredible success using rewards-based crowdfunding, so we are delighted to enable communities to take the next step in funding by offering community shares.”
Boyle, who founded the Community Shares Company, spoke movingly at the launch event about how community shares can bind people together over shared passions.
The Positive News community share offer runs until 8 July 2015. To invest visit, www.OwnTheMedia.org