Holy high plains, CPR is buying Denverite!

Denverite’s getting a signal boost and new partners in journalism.
5 min. read
Denverite’s second birthday party. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado Public Radio today announced its intention to buy Denverite. Financial details are not being made public, but Denverite will be under CPR management by the end of the week.

"It's a deal that will enable Denverite to keep reporting the news of Denver with new, local ownership," said Denverite founding editor Dave Burdick. "We've been a member-supported news organization for a little over a year now, and CPR's going to help Denverite learn to get better at that so this awesome newsroom can keep reporting on how the city really works, how Denver and its surroundings are changing, how that directly impacts Denverites, and how to live, work and play here."

We're the latest big addition to the rapidly growing CPR news operation, which also recently announced it would hire a reporter in Washington, D.C. and an investigative team here in Colorado. The growth is helping CPR cover the state more completely, News Director Rachel Estabrook said.

"We're able to go more in-depth on stories from parts of the state that we have been trying to cover from afar for the most part, and that's really, really exciting, I think," she said. "I'm excited about the D.C. reporter for the same reason. No one's been able really to keep a close watch on Colorado's representatives in Washington, and that's going to change. It's hard for one person to cover an entire business beat or an entire energy beat or an entire education beat -- to do those things at the same time cover the daily news.

"I feel like the ethos of Denverite and CPR are so similar, and it's a commitment to an audience and being part of a community that I'm really excited for."

Welton Street, March 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denverite will still be very Denverite-y.

Denverite as current users experience it won't change. Our free newsletter will go out each morning as usual, with stories written by the same reporters, published on the same website with photos by the same Kevin. The office will remain in Denver's Golden Triangle, four blocks from the Denver City and County Building. (So yes, you'll still see David Sachs at every City Council meeting -- or on Twitter, tweeting about every City Council meeting.)

"To me, the best thing about this is we expect that Denverite will continue to do what it does best," CPR Executive Editor Kevin Dale said, "which is to cover the stories that matter to people in Denver in a way that people can relate to, and we can focus on statewide stories and where it makes sense to collaborate, we'll do that.

Here's what is changing: I'm taking over the day-to-day operations of the newsroom as Dave heads down to Centennial to take on a new role at CPR as digital managing editor -- which includes overseeing Denverite.

Additionally, as part of the CPR deal, Denverite will be looking to expand its arts coverage through a project we've wanted to launch for a while. Specifics are under wraps for now, but exciting things are on the horizon as we approach our third birthday.

First Friday on Santa Fe Drive, Aug. 3, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denverite was founded in 2016 by Kevin Ryan, founder of Business Insider; Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal; and Jim Friedlich, a former Wall Street Journal executive. It began publishing a newsletter in early June of that year, with a full website launch following two weeks later.

It's now a time of change for Spirited Media, which has owned Denverite since 2017 along with Billy Penn in Philadelphia and The Incline in Pittsburgh.

"The local news business is a hard one these days, and we're not immune to those challenges, so when it became clear that our best path was to sell our sites, I was more than happy that CPR was interested," said Spirited Media CEO Jim Brady. "I was honored and proud that they too saw the value of what it is we built. I could not be happier about this and we could not have left Denverite in better hands."

In February 2018, Denverite and its sibling sites launched a membership program and in the year since has seen membership grow, providing increasing financial support for its journalism and demonstrating that people care about local news enough to pay for it.

"Included in that launch-day wave of Denverite members were a bunch of people in the CPR newsroom," Burdick said. "We already loved them, but it was such a cool and immediate show of support that I bought a box of donuts at Lamar's and drove them down as a thank-you."

Denverite will continue to be member-supported, and while being owned by CPR means more stability, we've still got to work toward building up membership to cover our journalists' salaries. If you're excited about Denverite teaming up with CPR, the best way to show it is by setting up a recurring membership donation right here.

Denverite's Colfax Week party at the Sie Film Center, Oct. 13, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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