Keeping Co-operative News on course in the age of digital media

A message from the new Co-op Press chair Barbara Rainford

I am truly honoured and excited to be elected the new chair of Co-op Press. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking retiring chair, Elaine Dean, for her admirable leadership of the board over the past six years – and particularly for guiding us through the challenges of the last year. Thanks also to David Paterson for his continued support as vice-chair. 

Barbara Rainford

The editorial team, led by Rebecca, is doing an excellent job of keeping the co-op movement up to date with co-operative progress – not just in the UK but in Europe and globally. As technology advances, the world grows smaller with new co-ops like Coop Exchange emerging that will allow anyone in the world to invest in co-ops – supported by Ben Reid and Dame Pauline Green, two very familiar and exceptional co-operators.

When Rebecca first joined Co-op Press, she designed the new logo and the new magazine format which have been very favourably accepted across the movement, by everyone – big societies and worker co-ops alike.

As international editor, and with her excellent knowledge of several languages, Anca’s diverse experience and excellent research skills continue to keep us up to date on the co-op movement worldwide. Miles’ journalistic skills help source a range of fascinating stories  – and between them the team bring in-depth coverage of co-operative events.

Co-op News has seen many changes since its first publication in 1871 – the first edition was a black and white newspaper, printed in-house, a far cry from the full colour magazine format we are all so familiar with now. As we go further into the digital age there will be more changes; many people prefer to catch up with the news on phones, tablets and laptops, and current news can be shared easily and rapidly in this format. This can allow us to reserve more specific articles – and a precis of news items – for the printed copy.

The Co-op Press board has just completed a strategic plan looking ahead for the next five years; this includes retaining the printed copy for those subscribers who wish to read it in this format – but also better use of digital technologies that will allow us to widen our international co-operative audience.

This year we will be liaising with Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative College and the Heritage Trust on the New Force project – working together in true co-operative fashion to reduce overheads and share resources.

While the Co-operative College celebrates 100 years this year, Co-op News will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2021, and the board and editorial team are looking forward to planning how to mark this special occasion and share it with members.

In the meantime, Co-op News will continue to be the voice of the co-op movement – celebrating achievements, championing co-operative issues, reliving historical milestones, and interviewing outstanding speakers – the last edition saw us catch up with Ted Howard, Claire McCarthy and Andy Burnham – and covering co-operative events globally as well as in the UK.

I am looking forward to the challenges of the next year and sharing our co-operative success stories with you all.