Hello! I’m Dave, the editor of Denverite, and I’m here to sing the same tune I’ve been singing for a while — but this time, I’m joined by a whole bunch of other voices, and there are bigger stakes.
If you’re short on time, here’s the short version: Donate to us or one of six other Colorado news organizations right now and your donation will be matched by the Colorado Media Project, dollar for dollar, until we reach $1,500 in donations each.
Local news is one hell of an industry. It’s hard to understand the economics of it, particularly when so much of the product (ours included!) is free. But here are two big, clear facts to consider: The closures of local newspapers appear to have a direct impact on the cost of government; and Colorado is home to an explosion of activity in new, rigorous approaches to journalism from both new and established organizations.
That new life needs fuel. And, no surprise here, the fuel it needs is money.
Money pays journalists’ salaries. It pays for records requests. It pays for equipment and rent and gas that takes reporters to the places where they get answers from people.
Assistant editor Ashley Dean (pictured above on a panel with journalists from the Colorado Sun and Colorado Independent) and I have had the opportunity to speak about local journalism a lot this year. Here are some good questions people have asked:
Q: What’s so special about professional journalists in an era when anybody can pull out a phone and record something?
A: We love that anybody can pull out a phone and record something, and if you see something weird, go for it! But professional journalists know when and where to ask questions about things that aren’t necessarily happening in public, or that aren’t obviously problematic but become more distressing with a little bit of digging and context. Professional journalists can provide necessary context, history and viewpoints that more completely explain a situation.
Q: Why would I pay for something that’s otherwise free?
A: Because it’s important. Somebody who became a Denverite member yesterday gave this reason for donating: “I believe that access to quality journalism is one of the most important things a community can have.” In other words, not everybody can afford to pay for news — if you can, you might be making it easier for someone else to read news that impacts them. This is part of being an engaged member of a community. I told an audience earlier this year that I truly believe that if you consider yourself an engaged member of the metro Denver community, you really ought to be supporting at least two or three local news organizations with your money.
Q: Why multiple sources?
A: We talk a lot about a news ecosystem, and we talk a lot about biodiversity in that ecosystem. Trust me, this is a fragile enterprise. The best thing for a city or a state is to have many healthy news organizations. For one thing, you want us checking each other and competing with each other to do the best job of covering stories in Denver and Colorado. For another, if one of us happens to fall — it’s been known to happen — you’re going to want as many of us as possible still up and kicking.
That’s why we’re banding together with Aspen Journalism, Chalkbeat Colorado, the Colorado Independent, the Colorado Sun, High Country News and Rocky Mountain Public Media — and the Colorado Media Project — for Colorado Giving News Day. If you donate to any of us right now, your donation will be matched, up until we’ve reached $1,500 in donations — each. That means your donation goes twice as far right now in the fight for local journalism, the free press and journalistic biodiversity.
And here’s the part where I always go off-script.
I do think you should donate to us, and any of the other six Colorado organizations on that list. And if you want to know more about them, you can click here — or if you’re already a Denverite member, you know how to get in touch with me, just ask and I can tell you a little bit about why each is deserving of a donation.
But the truth is, if you’d rather donate to someone not on the list, like Colorado Public Radio, or subscribe to someone not on the list, like the Denver Post, I’m still going to be extremely excited for you to do that. This Giving News Day thing — it’s about recognizing the importance of supporting local journalism as much as anything else.
Thanks for your time. Thanks for your support. And please, tell your friends and family. It’s really important.