Making Magic Together

  • Tina is an editor, reporter and coach with the Colorado News Collaborative. She has been a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Albuquerque Tribune, but spent most of her career as a reporter and columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post. Her reporting on immigration, education and urban poverty has won national recognition. Tina lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two kids. She's a native New Mexican and prefers red over green.

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As COLab’s second full year of existence comes to its end and we attempt this Colorado Gives season to convey to you the breadth of our work and the height of our ambitions, a carousel of faces appears before me:

  • Thy Vo, formerly at The Colorado Sun, now a freelancer
  • Tatiana Flowers at The Colorado Sun
  • Elizabeth Hernandez at The Denver Post
  • Jessica Gibbs at the Denver Gazette
  • Jason Gonzales, Yesenia Robles and Erica Meltzer, all at Chalkbeat Colorado
  • Saja Hindi, also at the Post
  • Moe Clark, formerly at Colorado Newsline, now a freelancer
  • Rae Ellen Bichell and Matt Volz at Kaiser Health News
  • Rossana Longo at KGNU
  • John Herrick at The Boulder Reporting Lab

My colleagues, Laura Frank, Susan Greene, Silvia Solis, John Ferrugia and Alison Cooper no doubt have their own cerebral carousels. 

The reporters and editors revolving through my mind are all at different stages in their careers (though I would call most early-career, such is the privilege of someone who has been at this for more than three decades). I have worked with each of them as part of COLab’s mission to bring reporters and editors together for journalism projects no one newsroom could tackle alone. I worked with them as part of our mission to pass on knowledge and expertise, to coach, to mentor, to support by listening, to teach by doing. 

I have to tell you that this part of  “strengthening local journalism” in our mission, oh, it’s the best. I see them, working on behalf of you as readers, watchers and listeners of news, working to inform Colorado, and I see how much they care about the public good. How they want to get it right. How they want to be smarter thinkers and better writers. They shine. Our job here is to capture and share that shine among newsrooms and for the communities they serve. It is to help fuel it. 

We tend here to talk about ecosystems and networks and hubs and engagement and leveraging. They are the shorthand of the business part of our business, but the doing of our business is where the magic lies. And to bring together reporters and editors to do great journalism, to ensure that that journalism not only informs the communities they cover, but also is informed by the communities they cover, to think smarter about how to raise or save money through innovative business and tech development so that their newsrooms thrive, well, that’s the alchemy we will be working more deliberately toward in 2023.

That’s what I am asking you to support. I’m asking you to be a part of the collaborative magic. I get, because I hear it, that COLab — what we do, why and how — can seem abstract.

It is not.

It is as concrete as the reporters and editors I listed above. It is as concrete as the COLab-led stories this year exposing gaping holes in the state’s mental health safety net and the stories that have examined equity among Black and Latino Coloradans. It is as concrete as COLab’s work bringing Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Coloradans together with journalists to shape the understanding that stronger local news means more inclusive local news. It is as concrete as COLab’s hustle to help keep Sentinel Colorado alive, serving Aurora and under new ownership.

COLab exists to serve our local newsrooms and the communities they serve. We exist to find ways, traditional and nontraditional, to provide vital information in communities without newsrooms, communities vulnerable to misinformation, communities too often left out of daily coverage. We exist, finally, because the status quo is just not good enough.

To our current supporters, our deep gratitude. To those who support their local newsrooms, our equal sincere thanks. To those still wondering, join us. We’re going to make more magic in 2023. 

This post was sent as a letter to our email subscribers on Monday, December 5, 2022. Join our email list to learn more about COLab and the work we are doing.