Org Spotlight on Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation

NAMLE recently asked Jeff Brown, Founder, and CEO of Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporationto tell us more about the Fourth Estate and its mission and vision. Officially launching in 2016, Brown’s vision was a response to what he explains to be a “very clear” need for new models of monetization and ownership than the “woefully inadequate” purely for-profit and/or purely non-profit models. Their mission, vision and other pertinent information are available at https://www.fourthestate.co/about-us/.

When and why did your organization launch? 

We officially launched in 2016.  The concept of the Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation started as a crazy idea during “Journalism That Matters – Create or Die” in Detroit in 2010.    It became very clear to me during that event that new models or monetization and ownership were/are needed and that a purely for-profit and/or purely non-profit approaches are woefully inadequate.

What does your organization do and what are your main goals?

Our public benefit mission is to contribute to a healthy society by fostering, supporting and incubating a sustainable and vibrant free press.  

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

The Fourth Estate PBC is organized as a multi-stakeholder new generation social cooperative, members of the Fourth Estate are individuals and organizations and representing news and journalism producers as well as consumers of news.

We are also a Public Benefit Corporation.  This means that we operate with a laser focus on our mission,  In fact, we’re bound by our corporate charter and our governing documents that our Public Benefit Mission comes first and that profit motives are co-equal.  We want to use all the tools in the toolbox to achieve our mission and vision and that may include access to the markets at a later time.

What are recent projects or new resources that your org would like to share with other NAMLE members? Below is a brief list of some of our projects; 

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

The connections are ubiquitous.  We see the promotion of a media literate population, news-literate particularly as one of our core issues.

Why is media literacy important to you?

Media literacy and public interest journalism must be promoted and fostered simultaneously. Without news literate citizens all the best journalism in the world would be useless.

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