“When are you getting an app?”

From almost the first minute that we announced The Colorado Sun in 2018, that was the question we heard more than almost any other.

And being The Sun’s chief technology officer, I had to come up with a standard answer pretty quickly: “We’ll get an app when it makes sense for us to get one.”

The reasons why an app presented a risk for a young upstart newsroom like ours were all practical:

  • Apps can be expensive to build.
  • Apps can be expensive — and time-consuming — to maintain.
  • Designing an app that lives up to The Sun’s standards can be — you guessed it — expensive.

For the past five years, every time we’ve considered pursuing an app, we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to devote enough of our two most limited resources — time and money — to the project, electing instead to invest in the reporters, photographers, producers and editors who do all the journalism that has made The Sun what it is.

But thanks to an evolution in the way mobile apps are designed, developed and kept up-to-date, it finally made sense for us to take the plunge.

After months of work by our product team, The Colorado Sun app is officially live in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Why should I download The Colorado Sun app?

It’s a pretty compelling question. Why now, in 2023, should someone download another app to their phone? Let’s look at the list:

  1. It’s fast.
  2. It’s free.
  3. It looks great.
  4. It keeps you in the loop.
  5. It’s the best way to enjoy your Sun membership.

Now those first three points are just par for the course for The Colorado Sun. We don’t want to produce anything for our readers that we aren’t excited to use ourselves, whether that’s an app, our website, our newsletters or even our Instagram stories.

But No. 4 there is something new. By granting The Sun a spot on your homescreen and allowing notifications, for the first time in our history, our journalists can send you a friendly little reminder of the most compelling or interesting or breaking news that we’ve reported. No need to dig up one of our emails or remind yourself to scan our homepage. We’ll bring a story or two a day right to your pocket.

And for our beloved members (whose financial support makes up the vast majority of The Sun’s funding) it really is the best way to experience The Colorado Sun. The app makes it easy to log in — and stay logged in — so you can have the nicest mobile reading experience in the state without ever seeing another membership ad. (By the way, if you’d like to become one of those beloved members, just take your pick of our membership levels over at coloradosun.com/join and join the party!)

There’s also a slightly more serious addition to this list:

  1. Social media is on a downward spiral.

It pains me to write that as someone who has experienced a lot of great things on social media in the past decade and a half, but there’s no denying that Twitter, Facebook and many other online gathering places are being hollowed out, hamstrung and pumped full of misinformation by powerful forces.

So rather than simply give up, diversify your scrolling options by getting an app that’s full of ethically reported, verified news written by real Colorado journalists — and one that won’t ever track you, hoard your data or otherwise violate your privacy. And because we don’t have a paywall for our news, you can stay up-to-date on all things Colorado for free without having to deal with trolls.

Let us know how we’re doing!

Even though we’re pretty proud of this app, we always want to improve it. Once you’ve given it a spin, let us know your suggestions for improving it using the form below:

Eric Lubbers is one of the co-founders of The Colorado Sun, focused on making technology work hand-in-hand with journalism. He was born and raised in Yuma, Colorado, and since starting his career with the Rocky Mountain News/YourHub in 2005...