Last October I took note when The Devil Strip, a cooperatively owned magazine in Akron, Ohio, shut down and laid off its staff. It sounded like the end of the line, but three board members launched a $75,000 GoFundMe effort. Now that has fallen short as well. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the $22,000 that was raised will be refunded.
Update: Laura Hazard Owen has more — a lot more — at Nieman Lab. Pretty ugly stuff.
The Devil Strip, a pioneering cooperatively owned magazine in Akron, Ohio, has closed its doors. More of an arts and culture outlet than a news organization, the operation has nevertheless stood as a successful example of an independent project owned by its employees and the community.
WKYC reports that the end came over the weekend — staff members were told on Friday that the money had run out, and on Monday they received layoff notices. The station adds:
Founded in 2014, The Devil Strip was a community-owned magazine that focused on music, arts, news, and culture in Akron. For as little as a dollar a month, readers had the opportunity to become members of the co-op. An investment of $330 allowed you to become a co-owner.
More from The Devil Strip’s Twitter account:
In March 2020, I spent a week in Northern California reporting on The Mendocino Voice, a for-profit news site that was converting to cooperative ownership. At that time the founders, publisher Kate Maxwell and editor Adrian Fernandez Baumann, told me that The Devil Strip was one of the projects they had studied.
I hope The Devil Strip might be able to reorganize and come back, though the tweet makes it sound like they’ve hit the end of the road. Founder Chris Horne has not tweeted about it except for a cryptic reference to a “sabbatical.” I’m sure he’ll have more to say soon.