As the foundation of American journalism continues to crumble, entrepreneurial reporters are turning to a 250-year-old European reporting model: the co-op. News cooperatives have long thrived in Europe--in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany--and in Mexico, too. Yet, with a few exceptions they never really took root in the U.S.

That may be changing. Kickstarter users alone have sent over $10 million to “over 2,000 journalism, periodical, radio, and podcast projects,” company spokesman David Gallagher said. To try and attract more, this month the company created a devoted journalism page, which is already humming along: A drone-reporting effort was fully funded in five days. A new culture magazine that launched this month is at 150% of its goal. The question is not whether some news co-ops will succeed (they already are) but whether the co-op news model can tackle some of the most important beats, with the most intimidating cost structures.

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