Columbia Journalism Review: The story of contemporary Colorado journalism can be told in two acts. In the first, the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post are locked in one of the late twentieth century’s wildest newspaper wars, which ended in 2009 with the Rocky’s demise. In the second, a fragmented media landscape of upstart publications is galvanized by the Denver Rebellion of 2018, when layoffs led the Post’s remaining journalists to rise up against their hedge fund owner in a protest that, by this year, had largely fizzled out.
Now the Colorado News Collaborative, known as COLab, has opened a dramatic third act in the state—one that might see its disparate news media outlets bury old rivalries and unite, in order to hold off collapse. COLab—an “independent, nonprofit, statewide journalism coalition”—brings together nearly a hundred journalists from more than sixty news organizations, a level of coordination that many of its participants might have found unthinkable just a decade ago. As a physical space and online resource hub, COLab oversees a clearinghouse for reporting to help journalists share work and ideas. The Associated Press is a member, and participants use the AP’s StoryShare tool in order to ensure more comprehensive coverage at a time of diminished resources. Participating journalists communicate via a sprawling Slack channel. Ten core COLab members, representing as many news outlets, will soon move their work into the third floor of a newly constructed public media building in Denver.
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