Can coops save the local press?

What are we going to do about the dire plight of local newspapers?   As I mention today in a piece posted in The Guardian’s social enterprise site my own union the National Union of Journalists has been talking of savage cuts in both the number of local newspaper offices and the number of journalists working in them.  The local press is now a ‘war zone’, according to one NUJ official.

You can argue that strong local newspapers with professional journalists who know their patch and know how to find out what’s going on are a necessary part of every thriving community  – as essential, say, as the much-loved pub or the local shop.  So, just as communities are increasingly looking to cooperative options as ways to come together to save their pubs and shops, should they also be exploring cooperative options for local media?

As you’ll see if you click through to my piece, Dave Boyle has been doing some interesting work in this area as part of a Co-ops UK and Carnegie UK project.  Dave’s report Good News is well worth a look.

Incidentally, when researching the piece I was intrigued to see a passing mention in Good News of a fascinating if short-lived 1930s venture in Bristol.  The Bristol Evening Post was launched in 1932 after a public share issue, to provide an independent alternative to the established Bristol newspaper owned by Lord Rothermere. (There’s a small post about it on Wikipedia.)  So perhaps there really are no new ideas under the sun…


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