The Hawaii Independent began as a small for-profit corporation five years ago. But earlier this year the news venture morphed into a co-op, offering both subscriptions and ownership benefits. “In the past two years,” Publisher Ikaika Hussey tells MediaShift, “one of our newspapers bought the other one and then it was bought by a Canadian company. So there was the feeling of a loss of a local institution. We need an institution that’s going to be here for the long haul. And I think the only way to do that is still the community-owned, truly community-owned institution — not just one that’s owned by a person of large wealth. It has to be rooted in the community.” The Hawaii Independent turned a profit last year, and Hussey plans on sending all member-owners a check at the end of 2012.