Be the change.
The phrase has probably gotten more mileage lately than it has in a long time, scrawled in graffiti, plastered on bumpers, written on signs hoisted above throngs of (insert favorite affinity group here) marching for cause — enough mileage that their power has begun to diminish. And yet, we can’t stop thinking about them as we reflect on the past 16 weeks of progress at The Sun.
As individuals, we had choices as local journalism disintegrated around us. Collectively, we settled on one: Rather than wait for a hero, we struck out to become our own. We elected to break trail toward a new publication both supported by and beholden to readers who had not been well-served.
We moved with discipline, focused on a handful of subjects that we knew would resonate statewide. And, importantly, we worked hard to create a community that we hope gives our readers a sense of agency. That the publication they support returns the favor by publishing stories that reflect their everyday lives or helps them to better understand the world swirling around them.
It’s a simple idea — using direct support from people with a vested interest in the future of the state to create an independent, agenda-free, sustainable publication that will have impact from the floor of the statehouse to your local parent/teacher meeting to your neighborhood’s zoning laws — and it’s proving itself with every new day.
It has been an all-out sprint to this new year, but, man, are we exhilarated by the work. And we couldn’t have done it without you.
What we’ve done
In 16 weeks, we’ve published nearly 600 stories, from updates on wild horses and an obituary for a pair of old trees to first-class election coverage, tales of survival, a first-person tale from inside a flat-Earth conference and community reckonings with a rash of teen suicides.
John Ingold included many of our best stories in his year-end wrap-up of long-form Colorado journalism, and we selected some headlines you can quickly browse here to catch up.
Where we’re headed
For all we’ve been able to do in our first 16 weeks, it still has been just 16 weeks. We’re only getting started. All along, our goal has been to grow into an outlet that the state deserves and at a pace that can be sustained for the long haul. We’ll soon be announcing our staff’s next addition — an education reporter — and are planning for a big 2019.
How you can help
Become a member
Your support is the most critical part of our plan. There is no future for The Sun without your membership support. If you are already a member, we seriously can’t thank you enough.
But for all the success we’ve experienced in our first 16 weeks, we have a long road ahead to sustainability. So if you’ve been on the fence about a membership, there is no better time than now to join, either as a general supporter or as a subscriber to our premium newsletters.
We purposely set our lowest membership level at $5 per month because we do not want to exclude readers of any income level from participating in our community. But the $5 memberships can’t do it alone, which is why we have $20, $30 and $100 monthly memberships available for those who can afford to give more support.
We don’t have the thud of a newspaper hitting your driveway every morning, but we do have ways that you can sit back and let our work come to you. There are the usual suspects (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), but we have three email newsletters that we think are the best ways to stay in touch without having to give your data to the big social networks.
- The Daily Sun-Up: This is the never-fail, always-at-6 a.m. email that drops every new headline right in your inbox.
- The Sunriser: If you want a more guided walk through the day’s news, context for why a story is worth your time and a roundup of other good journalism from around the state, sign up for The Sunriser.
- The Unaffiliated: This is The Sun’s premium politics newsletter — full of news, analysis and bits from our reporters’ notebooks that you can’t find anywhere else. Targeted for insiders and the curious alike, it is available only to members at our Politics Plus level and above. (Get your membership here.)
Share our stories, recruit your people
One of the biggest hurdles we face is pretty straightforward: We need more of Colorado to know who we are to make this work. We’re working on it from our end — and the work we’ve published helps get our name out there — but you are our best marketing tool right now.
Share the stories you read on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, email them to your friends, or even just say our name if you find yourself talking about one of our stories. Nothing so far in our careers prepared us to be the kind of marketers we need to be, so your enthusiasm helps amplify our enthusiasm to grow our community.
Thank you again for all your support of The Sun and local news. Thank you for being part of the change.
More from The Colorado Sun
- Most money spent in the child welfare system comes after kids are in foster care. What if that’s backwards?
- “You would think it’s the opposite”: The average age of fatal avalanche victims is on the rise
- The 2020 battle to control Colorado’s state Senate is shaping up to be a big money election
- Gov. Polis pitches preschool expansion, insists Colorado can afford it
- LGBT activists say new bills — including one in Colorado — target transgender youth