New Internationalist offers community shares to fund its Covid-19 recovery

The co-op aims to increase resilience by welcoming more subscriber numbers

UK-based New Internationalist magazine is inviting supporters and readers all around the world to invest in its £350,000 community share offer to help it recover after the pandemic.

A multi-stakeholder co-operative with worker and investor members, the New Internationalist says Covid-19 has left it in a precarious position after it hit newsstand sales and ad revenue. The co-op wants to attract more subscribers to future-proof the business – to make it more resilient and better”.

Co-editor Amy Hall said: “Stories like ours are needed more than ever. We’ve managed to keep publishing throughout the pandemic, but now we need a boost from our supporters to make it through.

“Recent world events have shown how desperately we need solution-focused, deeply researched journalism like ours that puts integrity and facts above bigotry and sensationalism – and the millions of readers we have online and in print show us that there’s a demand for it. So that makes us more determined. We’ve got some exciting ideas for how to get back on track, and now is the time to invest in that plan.”

The co-operative has launched a Save our Stories share offer, which will run until 1 June 2021. Initially a worker co-op, the New Internationalist converted the trust which owned the magazine from a company to a co-operative society in 2017 to enable supporters of the magazine to become members. The move was backed by a share offer, which saw 3,600 people from 42 countries invest and became co-owners of New Internationalist.

Ms Hall added: “Three billionaire families control over two thirds of UK national newspaper circulation. New Internationalist is owned by thousands of our readers – that’s our strength. Now we’re inviting more people to join the reader-owner family.”

The share offer is open to everyone over the age of 16, with a minimum investment of £50 and a maximum of £100,000. Investors will have one vote, no matter how much they invest and, as member owners they will also be eligible to join the co-operative’s common council or stand for its board. Existing co-owners can also top up their current investment.

The share capital will be used to strengthen the New Internationalist’s campaigning journalism, reinvent the way it sells and distribute the magazines. This co-op will also explore how to take better care of its customers managing subscriptions in house, instead of using an external company. The New Internationalist runs an online Ethical Shop, which it plans to expand, responding to increasing demand for online shopping that treads lightly on the planet.

The magazine hopes to increase subscription numbers to the amount it needs to be self-sustaining.

“New Internationalist is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in helping to bring the millions of new, positive, assertive voices, all calling for a just world, together,” said Lawrence Sistka, a co-owner of New Internationalist and common council member. “We need to pull together to protect media like this. That’s why I became a co-owner of New Internationalist.”

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