Working Together to Do Better

  • 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,

I want to introduce you to Alfonzo Porter. He is the thoughtful and talented editor of Denver Urban Spectrum, which serves the city’s Black community. But he is much more than a journalist. He is a son who lost his mother to COVID-19 in April. He is a college professor who is trying to help his students navigate a learning environment no one has seen before. And he is someone who cares deeply about those around him.

This was clear last Tuesday, when Alfonzo was one of about 30 journalists who joined our Colorado News Collaborative virtual workshop on how to cover sensitive issues of mental health. Susan Greene and Tina Griego led the training. It was in preparation for a special collaborative project they are reporting called “On Edge.” It’s a multi-part statewide series on how 2020’s confluence of crises — from a deadly virus to fire, drought and social unrest — has affected Coloradans’ mental health and how we are coping. The series will appear in news outlets statewide over the next two months.

Partnerships like these and workshops like last week’s are among the services COLab provides to news partners in our quest toward “Better news for all Coloradans.” And we can announce this week that we just topped more than 100 news outlets statewide as partners. You can see them all on our new (and still developing) website. We offer these services because we believe, as Alfonzo and the rest of the COLab partners do, that all Coloradans deserve trustworthy and thoughtful news coverage. We are working together to do better.

At the end of the workshop, Alfonzo shared with the group that sometimes, his journalism students at Metropolitan State University confide in him about their mental health challenges, often leaving him feeling “lost” about how to help them. The workshop, he said, made a difference.

“This kind of guidance is extremely helpful, not just as a journalist, but as we interface with people every day,” he said to Susan and Tina. “I just want to say thanks.”

So, too, did Rossana Longo, a bilingual reporter at community radio station KGNU in Boulder. “Sometimes I feel like I’m alone, but listening to you, I don’t feel so alone,” she said at the end of the online workshop.

I wanted to share these stories with you because so often, it’s easy to forget that the people who bring you the news are themselves parents, siblings, sons and daughters, with real lives and real challenges.

And just as every Coloradan deserves trustworthy and thoughtful news coverage, every Colorado journalist deserves support in making that happen. That is why the Colorado News Collaborative exists. Those of you who support COLab are supporting journalists across our state as they work to bring Coloradans the in-depth news they deserve.

Today is Giving Tuesday nationwide. Consider making it “Giving News Day.”

One great way to give is to schedule a gift at our Colorado Gives Day page (just click “donate” at the top right). Every donation to COLab this month, up to $50,000, will be doubled, thanks to our generous supporters. And if you want to go even further and become one of the challenge grant providers, please reply to this email and let me know.

Together, we can all do better.

Keep taking care of each other, and many thanks for your support of us and the entire Colorado News Collaborative.

Laura Frank

A version of this post originally appeared in a letter to readers on Friday, Dec. 1. Get our newsletter delivered straight to your email box by signing up here.