[This post has been updated.] New Internationalist, the 44-year-old UK magazine -- which manages its North American operation out of Ottawa -- has decided to "do something big" by selling community shares in the magazine and making its readers co-owners in a cooperative society. This comes as the magazine celebrates publishing its 500th issue. It has a worldwide circulation of 37,000 of which 5,000 are in North America.
As the magazine says, it has never had a benefactor and, in the face of shrinking revenues, it made sense to turn to readers to finance change. The goal is to turn the magazine around by selling shares and raising £500,000 ($635,000).
The share offer is substantively different from a typical crowdfunding drive – which says ‘fund
us to continue doing what we do’.
"In this case, we are saying ‘invest in us, to help transform our organization’."
"With that sum, we will relaunch the magazine, hugely increase our digital output and grow our book publishing and Ethical Shop social enterprise," says co-editor Hazel Healy. "Anything less will only be a sticking plaster [translation: band-aid]."
Anyone over 16, from anywhere in the world, can invest in the £1 shares with a minimum of £50 and a maximum is £100,000.
[Update: As of the updating of this post (March 9), the campaign has raised
£61,200 from some 173 investors, about 12% of its goal. 32% of its £500,000 goal or about £162,587 from more than 619 investors; if successful, says NI, it will result in setting up the largest such media organization globally.]