After nearly a decade of attempting to raise money and spark interest in the idea of a cooperatively owned community news site, a group of volunteers in Haverhill, Mass., announced this month that they were shutting down.
The site, which would have been known as Haverhill Matters, was to be a pilot for the Banyan Project, the work of veteran journalist Tom Stites, who hoped to seed co-ops in news deserts across the country.
I reached out to Stites with the idea of having a conversation that would mark the end of a long journey — except it might not be over yet. News co-ops remain an interesting idea that could help fill some of the gaps created by the failures of legacy media.
Here’s a lightly edited version of our interview over email.