May 4, 2021 - News

First-of-its-kind investment in local news announced in Colorado

A photo of Denver Post employees holding a rally in 2016.

Denver Post employees holding a rally against continued staff reductions at the newspaper in 2016. Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Colorado Sun and the National Trust for Local News announced Monday their acquisition of Colorado Community Media, a family-owned chain of 24 suburban newspapers in and around Denver. The investment partnership is a first-of-its-kind in the country.

  • The Sun, based in Denver, was formed in 2018 after the ownership of Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund, cut a third of the Denver Post newsroom to maximize profit.

Why it matters: As coverage of communities across the U.S. shrinks, doubling down here in Colorado could serve as a long-term model for private and public partnerships revitalizing local news.

What they're saying: "We couldn't count on a benevolent billionaire galloping up on a white horse. And we were worried about a hedge fund coming in," Larry Ryckman, editor-in-chief of the Sun, told NPR.

  • "This seems an ideal way for us to ensure that these community voices can continue and thrive and operate under local ownership," he said.

Details: The acquisition is backed by the Denver-based Gates Family Foundation, the Colorado Trust and the American Journalism Project.

  • The roughly 40 staffers employed at the papers will keep their jobs, and physical copies of the papers will continue to be printed for the foreseeable future, Ryckman told reporters.

The big picture: Colorado once again finds itself at the center of local news innovation and potentially in a position of leadership at a time when the local media industry could use a lifeboat.

What to watch: "If we can get this right — and I'm confident we will — maybe this does become a model for us to be able to bring other Colorado newspapers under this banner," Ryckman said.


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