What is it?
Taiwan in 2011, News &
Market (上下游) prides itself as the first independent
team in Asia devoted
exclusively to reporting issues around agriculture, food and the environment. The central tasks of News & Market can be
summarized on three dimensions.
First, it is a news website providing timely reporting on various agriculture, food, and environmental topics. Its team recruits professional journalists to conduct special reporting, but also expands its scope by crowdsourcing its content, inviting netizens to upload stories to the website.
Second, News & Market is a social enterprise that plays an advocacy role in Taiwan. It strives to obtain more local food options for consumers while revitalizing farming communities in the countryside.
Third, the team promotes environmental-friendly products, seeing the transformative potentials of consumer mobilization in market economies.
How does it work?
News & Market is special. It is a news website and a social-enterprise co-operative at the same time. Every year, News & Market receives considerable support from ordinary people who are "co-op owners". This frees the news flow from subsidies from other commercial entities and ensures that their news reports represent the diverse interests of stakeholders online and offline.
In order to conduct investigative reporting, News
& Market recruits full-time journalists and part-time volunteers, including
some members of media organizations. The thriving online platform welcomes those interested to create accounts
and contribute stories on related topics. Readers can then evaluate reports on the website.
If authors get enough recognition from readers, they are rewarded with environmentally friendly gifts for their efforts. This in turn helps farmers promote their products. The reporters, writers, readers and farmers are therefore embedded in a benevolent circle encouraging better reporting and better agricultural practices.
Why does it succeed?
Due to rapid urbanization and globalization, food and environmental risks have grown in Taiwan, as elsewhere, over the past decade. More people are aware of the importance of environmental protection and food safety. News & Market responds to this trend by advocating new lifestyles, protecting consumer rights, and promoting social justice.
Relying on its new but sustainable business model, News & Market has more autonomy to express their independent opinions without fearing the intervention of political and commercial power.
The continuous engagement of volunteers and authors is another important factor that makes News & Market famous – in Taiwan and abroad, as people abroad try to emulate its original model.
Why did we select it?
News & Market is both a traditional news website and a platform for user-generated content. It combines the advantage of professional journalism with the power of crowdsourcing. Its innovative operational model includes successful elements of news reporting, social enterprise, and crowd funding. Independence from established commercial interests ensures the team’s impartiality.
News & Market sees consumers as change agents
Whereas some alternative media organizations are pessimistic about the intrusion of consumer culture, News & Market sees consumers as change agents. Although rejecting commercial advertisements, the team believes in the ability of people to choose and buy what is best for themselves, for society, and for our planet.
In sum, we showcased News & Market for its journalistic innovations as well as the social and environmental responsibility it inspires.