Colorado has the second-fastest growing economy in the nation, and our population is expected to increase by more than 40 percent by 2040. Yet the depth and breadth of local news — original daily reporting, deep coverage of important issues, and investigative journalism — has declined dramatically in recent years, as the advertising-supported revenue model for commercial media has cratered. At least 500 newspaper journalists were at work in Denver a decade ago; today, that number has shrunk to less than 70. Across the state, some communities have become “news deserts”, with little to no coverage of public institutions, community news, culture, and events.
What have Coloradans lost with this shrinking of local news gathering capacity? What effect is the journalism crisis having on our communities and institutions? What does Colorado need from its local news? As new digital news organizations emerge to fill the gaps, what challenges are they facing? And most importantly — what can we do to help ensure that more Coloradans have access to the news information we need to participate in civil society?
In 2018, the Colorado Media Project gathered concerned journalists, business and civic leaders, academics, students, philanthropists and other citizens to gain insight — and released research and findings to help chart a path forward.