Starting Nov. 1, Akronites can become part owners of The Akron Devil Strip. With the help of BMD's legal team, Matthew A. Heinle, Esq. and Michael D. De Matteis, Esq., the arts and culture magazine is breaking ground as the first news co-op in the United States.
The idea is to keep the publication free to the community while also making it economically sustainable.
Since the publication began five years ago, founder Chris Horne has been the only owner. Now he’s looking to share the responsibility with the community.
The Devil Strip hopes the change will bring about more civic engagement for the community.
“You know, in journalism we talk about how important journalism is for democracy," Horne says. "But we don’t always think about how good democracy is for journalism. And so, we’re trying to inject more democracy into what it is that we actually do.”
Horne says the cooperative model gives the magazine the benefit of not having to guess what their readers are looking for, but to be told directly by a board of community members.
Local shareholders will be able to vote on the magazine’s board and help shape the future of the Devil Strip. The project is being supported with a $200,000, two-year grant from the Knight Foundation.
Ella Abbott, WKSU, November 1, 2019