The Media Consortium Sunsets to Form New Organization

Centering diverse communities, the new organization will transform independent news.

After a dozen years, the Media Consortium will be sunsetting  so that a new, stronger organization can rise in its place.

The Media Consortium was founded in 2006 to create a collaborative network of self-sustaining independent progressive journalism outlets. That mission is accomplished.

The independent news sector is among the healthiest in the news business. In its lifetime, the Media Consortium has increased its number of outlets by 400 percent. The strength of the news sector has been magnified by the collaborative culture the Media Consortium has built. From 2014 to 2017, the Media Consortium has run over 45 funded collaborative projects, with members forming their own partnerships every day.

The greatest challenge facing the independent news sector now is to respond to the rise of local news deserts and the inequitable creation and distribution of news by diverse communities. Starting after Ferguson in 2015, the Media Consortium applied a racial equity lens to consider how best to create equitable local/national partnerships. That work led the Consortium to its decision to radically transform itself in order to transform the independent media sector.

“A racial equity lens made clear that the Media Consortium as currently organized—a network of national outlets—could not create equitable local-national partnerships,” said Executive Director Jo Ellen Kaiser, “Local news outlets in such a nationally-based network would inherently not have the same power as the national members.”

The new organization will be a network of local, regional and national news outlets dedicated to building a racially equitable independent media ecosystem. Members will center the voices of culturally-specific communities, promote local/national partnerships, and work collaboratively to grow impact.

Current Media Consortium members and stakeholders are applauding the move:

  • “This is a smart and bold move that has my total support”—Laura Flanders
  • “Lays out a rationale course of action focused on the needs of the membership rather than organizational self-preservation”—Bill Densmore

Media Consortium activities will continue as normal until December 31, 2017. Planning for the new organization is scheduled to begin at a network meeting in June 2018, with an anticipated launch in 2019. For more information, please contact Jo Ellen Green Kaiser.