In its July 31 issue, the Delta County Independent ran a story from The Colorado Sun on Olathe Sweet Corn. Titled “Sweet corn put Olathe on the map, but seeds of economic revival didn’t take,” the in-depth piece was written by Grand Junction-based reporter Nancy Lofholm, a former Grand Junction-based reporter for The Denver Post, with photos by freelancer William Woody of Montrose.

Lofholm and Woody are among many contributing writers and photographers with The Sun, a “journalist-owned, award-winning news outlet based in Denver” that strives to cover issues of importance and interest throughout the state.

The Colorado Sun was founded in 2018 by editors and journalists laid off from The Denver Post after the nearly 125-year-old paper was purchased by the hedge fund, Alden Global Capital. The paper launched online last Sept. 10. Founded under the state Public Benefit Corporation Act, The Sun is a for-profit corporation dedicated to putting community ahead of profit and producing high-quality, in-depth journalism that is accessible to all of Colorado.

The Montrose Daily Press and Delta County Independent are among The Sun’s many editorial partners. Both papers have the option of publishing Sun stories in print products, and both websites have a feed from The Colorado Sun that shares the latest stories posted to coloradosun.com.

Last Thursday, the news outlet hosted a one-year anniversary celebration at Wynkoop Brewing Company in downtown Denver. The top floor was packed with Sun staff, journalists, politicians, donor-supporters and volunteers. A batch of Wynkoop’s special Sun Mexican Lager, made specially for the occasion, quickly sold out.

“It’s great to see so many friends and colleagues, supporters and fans of quality independent journalism,” said Sun editor Larry Ryckman in welcoming the 250-plus attendees.

Since its inception, said Ryckman, The Sun has set the agenda at the State House, and highlighted people and issues important to the people of Colorado. It has published more than 1,600 news articles by Sun staff and a network of correspondents. To date, The Sun has 6,000 paying members and 40,000 newsletter subscribers across Colorado, and the Sun’s website has had more than 6 million page views from 2.5 million plus unique visitors.

In just the first year, Sun stories garnered 16 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional Top of the Rockies competition and two awards in the 14-state Best of the West competition. (A full report on The Sun’s first-year accomplishments in its first year can be found at coloradosun.com/annualreport.)

The event also marked the debut of The Colorado Sun magazine. The glossy cover inaugural magazine includes select stories from the past year, among them a piece by Lofholm on millennial entrepreneurs flocking to Grand Junction.

“We couldn’t have done this without our readers and supporters,” said Ryckman.

Equally important to the work it produces, “The Sun has also partnered with newspapers and news organizations across the state so they have an opportunity to share our work with their readers and listeners, too,” wrote Ryckman in the magazine’s message from the editor. “Collaboration has replaced cutthroat competition as we’ve sought to revive and nurture the depth and breadth of reporting that once blanketed the state.”

Ryckman said the Sun will introduce a new project on Sunday, Sept. 15, involving numerous media sources — newspapers, radio, television — from across the state. “This type of project has never been done before in Colorado,” said Ryckman. There was a time when media worried about its competitors and giving away too much, he said. “Those days are gone. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not about competition. It’s about collaboration and working together.”

Tamie Meck is senior writer for the Delta County Independent, and a supporting member of The Colorado Sun. tmeck@deltacountyindependent.com; on Twitter @TamieMeck

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