DENVER () – Colorado Sun, an online news operator in Denver, created three years ago by journalists who left the Denver Post, has partnered with a national nonprofit to buy 24 community newspapers in a unique business that seeks to preserve local journalism.
The arrangement contributes to a growing number of journalists receiving support from non-profit journalism organizations in the United States, where private equity or hedge funds purchase and consolidate older financial newspapers.
The Sun and the National Trust for Local News announced a private purchase Monday by family company Colorado Community Media, which runs pers company – some of which are more than a hundred years old – and a website and two shoppers. Colorado Community Media with 330.00 readers will be supported by the new Colorado News Conservancy, a public benefit company created by Sun and the Trust.
It is the first acquisition for Trust, a new non-profit organization set up to provide funding and technical support to local news servers at a time when community newspapers are spreading rapidly. The trust was developed within the Public Media Venture Group, a consortium of public television and radio stations.
This project is an ambitious innovation for The Sun, created in 2018 by journalists who left The Denver Post amid budget and staff reductions by New York-based hedge fund owners. The Sun has been growing steadily since then – and its editor-in-chief, Larry Ryckman, wants the new venture to take note of the nation.
“The fact is, we all know who’s the first to buy a struggling newspaper: hedge funds and the occasional billionaire.” However, waiting for a billionaire to come to the rescue on a white horse is not a very business plan. It’s not a business plan at all, “said Ryckman.
“That’s why we created The Colorado Sun.” We felt that there was a better way to produce quality journalism. It was up to us to save the day and provide the counterpart of the expectation that it is inevitable that hedge funds will win. I don’t accept that, “Ryckman said.
The new Sun-Trust pilot project is “an opportunity to keep these local newspapers in local hands – their institutional knowledge of the cities they serve, their mission to inform their citizens, their commitment to democracy,” Ryckman added.
As the newspaper deals with declining advertising and circulation revenues, many people have turned to new business models in an effort to find long-term viability.
The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah became a non-profit organization two years ago, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and Tampa Bay Times are among the newspapers owned by non-profit foundations. The organization, called Report for America, is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms, including