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About Co-operatives

The Fourth Estate is a multi-stakeholder cooperative organization. Our member shareholders are those who support our mission and/or use our products and services.



It’s a different way of doing business. A co-operative is a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise that meets the common economic, social and cultural needs of its members.

Members can be any group of people – customers, employees or residents – or organizations.

There are different co-operatives in different industries around the world. In spite of these differences, there exists a common co-operative identity that the International Co-operative Alliance has summarized in seven principles shared by co-operatives globally.   From these Fourth Estate has drafted our interpretation:

  • Voluntary and Open Membership - Membership in the Fourth Estate is open to all entities and persons able to benefit and use our services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

  • Democratic Member Control - Our equity-holding members contribute to and democratically control the organization.

  • Member Economic Participation - The economic benefits of the Fourth Estate’s operations are used to further our mission or are returned to the members, reinvested, and/or used to expand or provide services.

  • Autonomy and Independence - We are guided first by our mission and controlled by our equity-members.  As a matter of policy, funding sources exercise no control over the Fourth Estate’s editorial decisions.

  • Education, Training and Information - We serve all stakeholders of the journalism ecosystem from news creators to those that consume the news by providing the information and services needed to effectively and efficiently fulfill our mission.

  • Co-operative and Collegial - We serve our members and society most effectively by working cooperatively at the local, national, regional and international levels.
  • Concern for Community - We seek to equip individuals and communities with the news and information they need to make informed decisions.


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