About us

Our mission

The Community Info Coop is an independent not-for-profit organization based in New Jersey dedicated to the democratization of journalism and media.

We equip people with the tools and information they need to design and sustain local news and information ecosystems that strengthen local democracy and increase civic engagement.

We do this work because we believe that news and information is a public good. We believe media can empower and heal people instead of scare and profit from them.

Our vision

The Community Info Coop envisions a resurgence in local, independent media led by communities publicly financing and democratically designing their own local news and information projects.

Our organization

 
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INFO DISTRICTS PROJECT

Our flagship effort is the Info Districts Project. Info districts are special districts that fund participatory media and civic communications projects to meet local news and information needs. Modeled after other kinds of special districts – like business improvement or library districts – info districts are established democratically, funded by a local tax, and governed by a public board.

 
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PUBLIC FUNDING INNOVATION

Our Public Funding Innovation program examines public spending on local news and information to identify opportunities to leverage existing spending to meet local news needs. We also provide support through this program to public funding experiments.

 
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PARTICIPATORY MEDIA AND GOVERNANCE

Our Participatory Media and Governance program supports research and experiments in community governance and participation in media. We work independently in addition to providing support to media, government, and community organizations to design, launch, and manage participatory media and governance projects.

 

Our values

The Community Information Cooperative exists to make public service journalism more democratic and sustainable. 

We believe journalism is a public service. We believe local news and information is the lifeblood of our communities and should be treated as such. 

We believe institutions should be more democratic. We believe communities should be able to shape their institutions through participation.

We believe democratizing journalism will create more democratic institutions.

Our commitments

COOPERATION

The Community Info Coop is committed to cooperative governance. We seek to establish a multi-stakeholder governance structure to oversee our work by 2024 and will strive to act in accordance with cooperative principles until we do so. This is in order to model the democratic institutional behavior we advocate and ensure our work remains responsive to the needs of our communities.

JUSTICE AND EQUITY

The Community Info Coop aims to work in alignment with the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition principles and City Bureau community engagement guidelines.

INDEPENDENCE

The Community Info Coop is committed to independence and subscribes to the standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:

 

We retain full authority over editorial content and strategic decisions to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between editorial and programmatic decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization may consider donations to support the development of particular programs or areas of coverage, but our organization maintains control of those programs or coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content or program decisions, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with industry standards.

 
 

TRANSPARENCY

The Community Info Coop is fiscally sponsored by the Media Mobilizing Project, a movement media nonprofit based in Philadelphia. The Community Info Coop was launched thanks to the generosity of 63 backers on Kickstarter. It receives operating support from the Reynolds Journalism Institute and pro bono legal support from Pro Bono Partnership.

We are committed to transparency and subscribe to the standards of donor transparency adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:

 

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.

Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services, or opinions.

We accept gifts and grants from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. Our news judgments and strategic decisions are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review, or edit content or program decisions.

We will make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a not-for-profit organization, we will avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources, and we will not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.