A group of photojournalists have joined forces to create a cooperative supporting the coverage of stories and communities that might otherwise be overlooked in the wake of major media companies cutting back on staffing and funding.
American Reportage has launched with six founding members who are independent photojournalists “committed to doing the groundwork that leads to rich, thoughtful, and engaging content.” Their goal is to work on long-term projects where they can embed into the stories and produce more intricate storytelling.
The founders are Kathleen Flynn, Adria Malcolm, Pete Marovich, Justin Merriman, Brian Plonka and Jeff Swensen. American Reportage is a limited liability company owned by these six photographers. The cooperative is not accepting new members at startup, but anticipate adding photographers in the future.
Story topics on the site include culture, economy, immigration, politics and the environment.
Media outlets can purchase licenses for publishing stories from American Reportage. Individuals can also donate to fund storytelling grants, education outreach or the general project fund.
The photographers cooperative model can be traced back to at least 1947 with the formation of Magnum Photos. As business models and technology have changed, cooperatives have come and gone and others have adapted. Overall, the photographers in successful cooperatives feel that they achieve more by working as a small group than they can on their own.