11 November 2008

The Colorado Independent Downsizes

The Colorado Independent (formerly known as Colorado Confidential) has embarked upon a major post-election lay off, although it will still have three full time staffers and one part time reporter.

The online magazine does original reporting about Colorado politics, mostly from a left leaning perspective. I was on its staff from its inceptions in the summer of 2006 through all of 2007. It has paid reporters and editors, and has won numerous awards from the Society for Professional Journalism.

At its peak, it had more reporters covering the Colorado politics beat than any of the state's newspapers or television stations, although it had a much smaller total staff because unlike many of its news competitors, it is not a full service news organization covering every type of news story, and because it didn't need marketing or printing operations. Even with a reduced staff, the Colorado Independent will still have a staff that rivals that of the politics reports for many national news organizations in the state, and that of the state house bureau of a medium sized city newspaper.

The individual state publications don't even incur rent expenses, with reporters operating out of home offices and coffee shops, and meeting via conference calls for all but a few in person staff meetings a year. Until now, most of the reporters were part-time. So, the content to cost ratio is very high.

The Colorado Independent is funded entirely by the Washington D.C. based Center for Independent Media, which in turn is a non-profit funded by major donors and foundations dedicated to providing reporting free of corporate influences that fund commercial media outlets and strongly influence donor dependent public radio. The Center for Independent Media operates multiple sister publications in various U.S. states as well as a national desk, although the Colorado Independent was the first of its publications to come online.


Steve Balboni said...

Thanks for the insight on their operation. It looks like they still have some quality people left on staff, I hope they continue to put out solid work. I think they will.

Dave Barnes said...