The Colorado Springs Independent and its sister publications will adopt nonprofit funding models in late October. The change comes as longtime editor John Weiss retires.
According to an article on Indy’s website, the free publication began in 1993 as an alternative to The Gazette and to counter a long-dead state amendment restricting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Weiss’ Colorado Publishing House also operates the Colorado Springs Business Journal; the Southeast Express; and the Pikes Peak newsletter.
Weiss told Indy he thought it was essential that Colorado Springs have two newspapers.
“I’m confident that this model — where we’ll supplement our income with community support — makes perfect sense, and I’m confident we have the team in place to succeed,” Weiss told the newspaper. “The time has come for me because after three decades I am ready for new challenges.
One big change readers are likely to notice is the lack of support for candidates or ballot initiatives — a result of the publication’s move to nonprofit status.
“I really, really want to emphasize that the mission hasn’t changed,” Amy Gillentine, publisher, editor and CEO, told Indy reporter Pam Zubeck. This includes “standing up for marginalized people. We won’t stop shining the light where it needs to be directed.
The newspaper will operate under the direction of a board of directors and a Colorado Springs-based group called Citizen-Powered Media.
According to Zubeck’s reporting, Gillentine and other decision makers chose the nonprofit funding model after seeing the success of other publications, such as the Colorado Sun and the Times-Recorder.
“We are confident that we are heading in the right direction and that we see a trend that more community newspapers will follow,” she said. “I think it’s okay [lead to] a more robust reporting and newsgathering operation.
Gillentine said the focus would be more on digital news. A weekly print edition will still be available, however.