YES! Magazine Launches COMMONOMICS, New Investigative Series
Laura Flanders Joins YES! Magazine As Local Economies Reporting Fellow, Reporting on Trends in America’s Hardest-Hit Communities
Bainbridge Island, Washington - - YES! Magazine, a pioneer in solutions journalism, and winner of the 2013 Utne Media Award for General Excellence has launched a 10-month investigative series called Commonomics, featuring nationally renowned broadcaster Laura Flanders of GRITtv. The new coverage is made possible with generous support from the New York-based Surdna Foundation.
In her newest piece for the series, “Why Bill de Blasio is the Commonomics Mayor,” Flanders points to de Blasio’s successful grassroots campaign and landslide victory as evidence of the surprisingly broad support for tackling economic inequity. In another piece, “A Year After Sandy, A Co-op Alliance Could Bring Jobs Back to the Rockaways,” Flanders uncovers the significant, yet little-known, role that worker-owned cooperatives are playing in post-hurricane economic recovery.
When it comes to economic reporting in the United States, we're accustomed to hearing about the highs and lows of Wall Street, the employment rate, the housing market, and the ritual budget squabbles in Congress. What we're not used to hearing about is what communities are doing at a local level to build their own economic power and stability.
Commonomics will fill the gap, featuring community-based solutions like the worker-owned cooperatives in Cleveland and South Bronx, the public banking model in North Dakota, or the steadfast efforts of Appalachians transitioning out of the coal economy, which go widely under-reported. These innovative grassroots initiatives are signs of an emerging new economic model, in which human rights and respect for the Earth's limited natural resources, are given as much consideration as the bottom line.
Laura Flanders, YES! Magazine’s Local Economies Reporting Fellow, is the lead reporter for the Commonomics series. Flanders, a widely respected author, journalist, and broadcaster, has been at the cutting edge of New Economy coverage. She was one of the first to cover the remarkable story of Chicago window factory workers who went from being laid off en masse, to occupying the factory, and eventually buying it as a worker-owned cooperative that successfully launched last July as New Era Windows. Via her online channel, GRITtv, Flanders has produced probing, in-depth interviews with leading thinkers in the field as well as on-the-ground reports, including a five-part series on worker and consumer co-ops in the New York area.
“I consider Laura to be a key figure in the movement for a new economy,” says political economist Gar Alperovitz, “and this fellowship allows her to focus on exactly the kinds of stories that need covering at this critical historical moment.”
In her introduction to the Commonomics series, Laura Flanders writes: “In Commonomics, we’re talking with people and groups who rarely have a voice in the debate over our economy, and yet have some of the most innovative ideas.”
YES! Magazine and GRITtv have collaborated in past years on election coverage and on coverage of grassroots efforts to build local economies, secure rights for workers, and strengthen our democracy.
“Commonomics will build on YES! Magazine’s 17 years of covering the movement for strong, local economies,” says YES! Magazine executive editor and co-founder Sarah van Gelder. “Whether we’re looking at the climate change crisis or the growing rate of income inequality, the most promising solutions are often found at the local level. We’re especially excited about the stories Laura will be uncovering on the powerful ideas and the practical actions that can transform our stumbling economy.”
YES! Magazine's Commonomics coverage adds to what has been a banner year for the nonprofit media organization, including winning the Utne Media Award for General Excellence, widely regarded as one of the top awards in independent magazine and online journalism. Additional high notes for YES! in the past year were increased visibility for the media organization's pioneering role in the development of solutions journalism. Sarah van Gelder was asked to speak on solutions journalism for the Bellevue TEDx event (“Is There Inspiration in Your Media Diet?”), she led a popular panel on solutions journalism at the National Conference for Media Reform in Denver (“Making Change: Journalism That Solves Problems”), and she wrote the forward for Project Censored's annual compendium of underreported stories.
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