A new news organization that’s committed to Haverhill’s vitality and devoted to bringing its people the reliable news and information we need to make our best life and citizenship decisions. It will present a full and timely news report to read on the Web, free of charge to all – and, distinctively, it will also invite people to 1) help the editors in ways that strengthen news coverage and 2) use easy website tools to find other readers who share interest in an issue and work together for constructive community change.
Yes, and that won’t change. Haverhill Matters is a cooperative that will be owned by hundreds of local people who care enough about our community to pay annual co-op membership fees to ensure the robust news coverage that’s crucial to civic health. These members will own the source of our community news the way depositors own credit unions or shoppers own food co-ops. It will be governed on a one-member/one-vote basis, with the members electing the board that hires the executive director and editor.
About the Co-op and Membership
A cooperative is a business owned by members and governed on a one-member/one-vote basis. Co-ops are a growing slice of the U.S. economy and the most trustworthy of business forms: The goal is not investor gain but rather quality, low-cost service that meets their members’ needs. Member/owners and the people being served are one in the same, so there’s no potential for conflict of interest. Once launched, co-ops tend to be quite stable. Haverhill Matters is unusual as a groundbreaking community news co-op; reader-owned co-op newspapers have long published in Europe and Mexico.
Members receive many benefits not available to readers:
- A rare opportunity to own a chunk, albeit small, of a vital community institution.
- A voice and sense of belonging, in that only members can post comments, offer feedback to the editor, and use online tools in the Haverhill Matters website to work with others through to advance an issue that matters to them, thus making a community contribution.
- A sense of control, in that each member gets a vote in electing the co-op’s board, which hires its general manager and editor.
- A share of the co-op’s year-end surplus, if any. Payments are expected to be modest; in some years there will be none. Service, not profit, is the main goal.
- Discounts from trustworthy and cooperating businesses.