Four years ago, we launched The Colorado Sun with anxiety, determination and a fierce commitment to a mission of serving our state.
It’s nerve-wracking to start any new business, whether it’s a restaurant or a website that serves up fresh news. But we pushed through and promised you, our readers, that we would work hard to produce the quality news coverage that you need and deserve. We’ve learned a lot along the way.
This week, we celebrate our fourth anniversary and look back with gratitude and wonder at the support we’ve received from so many Coloradans. We now have more than 17,000 paying members and more than 200,000 subscribers to our various newsletters. About a million people go to our website every month for the deeply reported, nonpartisan and informative stories that have become our hallmark.
We believe we have helped to bring about change and made our state a better place. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to convene conversations and become a go-to source for so many. We’ve been honored by our peers in Colorado and around the West for our excellent work.
We’re proud of all of that, but The Colorado Sun is so much more than just the stories on our site. Our very survival over the past four years is a testament to Coloradans’ hunger for more than out-of-state newspaper owners are willing to provide. While hedge funds have continued slashing newsroom staffs from coast to coast, shrinking coverage and raising subscription prices, The Sun has more than doubled the size of our staff, expanded our coverage and kept our site free to read for all. In return, we’ve asked readers to support our public benefit corporation, if you can afford to help.
There’s more that sets The Sun apart. We are locally owned by Colorado journalists who have decades of experience covering this great state of ours. We pay competitive wages, provide health insurance and try to provide a supportive workplace where our staff can do important work and grow professionally.
Like you, we have weathered economic uncertainty, some big elections, a pandemic and all of the curveballs that life can throw at us.
We created The Sun because we care about our state. A healthy democracy depends on a vibrant, free press to keep people informed, to challenge those in powerful places, to highlight the extraordinary neighbors in our state and to strengthen our community connections.
We proudly wear these values on our sleeves, we’re transparent about our commitment to ethics and we are thrilled to lend a hand to journalists elsewhere around the country who are also creating news outlets to serve their communities. We share our stories with dozens of newspapers and news organizations around the state and have collaborated with other Colorado journalists to produce meaningful coverage.
Once again this year, The Sun has submitted itself to an independent, no-holds-barred audit by the University of Colorado Boulder to address the question: Are we providing a public benefit? You can read the full report here, but I’m pleased to share a few excerpts:
- “… the Sun is exemplary for news outlets in Colorado and the rest of the country. The Sun’s coverage over the past year has included a wide range of concerns relevant to Coloradans.”
- “The content produced by journalists at the Sun in the past year has been consequential in keeping Coloradans informed of issues relevant to them, no matter where they are located in the state.”
- “Over the past year, the Colorado Sun has helped stabilize legacy newspapers across the state while providing additive and necessary coverage to the state’s media ecosystem, such as water reporting.”
Sun reporter John Ingold has drafted our annual report to readers with our own take on how we’ve done over the past year. Please feel free to reach out with thoughts on what you like, anything you don’t like or something we might do better. Our Sun community depends on us helping each other, and we always appreciate your input and suggestions.
Thanks for an amazing four years, Colorado. We’ve accomplished so much, and we still have important work to do. Let’s do it together.
Larry Ryckman is Editor and co-founder of The Colorado Sun.