Working Through Uncertainty

  • Laura pioneered collaborative journalism in Colorado as the founder of I-News, the nonprofit investigative news organization that merged with Rocky Mountain Public Media in 2013.

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Dear reader, 

Yesterday, Susan Greene was hard at work — helping a trio of our partner newspaper editors prep for a project with the Colorado News Collaborative. She helped lead a Zoom call with a number of our now nearly 100 news outlet partners, sharing plans for an upcoming statewide reporting project. And she was in COVID-19 quarantine for the third time in six weeks.

This time was different, though.

The first two times turned out to be just a scare. This time, one of Susan’s teenage sons has tested positive for the virus and is holed up in their basement. And Susan has symptoms: fever, pounding headache, fatigue.

Yet she kept on working yesterday, quarantined at home. 

Also quarantined yesterday was Nicole Vap from our partner 9News in Denver. She and her whole family have it, but she has managed to edit a few scripts for her investigative team in between overwhelming bouts of exhaustion that send her to the couch or the bed, whichever is closer.

And yesterday, Terri House — editor and publisher of the Pagosa Sun in Pagosa Springs — was battling COVID-19 symptoms and waiting for her test results. She also attended two COLab video meetings (the one Susan helped lead, which was our weekly call with partners, and another I helped lead for partners who are raising contributions to support their work in the waning weeks of this unbelievable year), plus three more video meetings Terri told me about later.

In that conversation, it was clear how worried Terri was — and not just for herself.

“I am a high-risk person and now I am symptomatic,” she said. “My whole staff is on edge.”

We know we are not alone in working through sickness, through quarantine, through uncertainty. It is the way of the world now. In Colorado’s journalism community, we push on because the stakes are so high. The pandemic has changed the way almost everyone works, including the journalists who are covering it. For an inside look at how, watch this documentary from NBC Universal producer Marcus Harun. It’s called Essential Journalists, and it cites COLab as one silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19.

Our collaborative network really accelerated at the start of the pandemic because the need to produce “Better news for all Coloradans” was clear and urgent — and essential. We are a nonprofit, powered by journalists and supporters committed to providing the people of this state with public interest, accountability news coverage not just as a service, but as the fulfillment of the basic human right to be informed. We are all in this together.

Thank you for helping us do our jobs.

Stay safe,

Laura Frank

A version of this post originally appeared in a letter to readers on Friday, Nov. 13. Get our newsletter delivered straight to your email box by signing up here.