Insights: Colorado Politics’ success depends on your view of our integrity
Author: Joey Bunch - June 4, 2017 - Updated: January 23, 2018
I need to be straight with you about something. Are you sitting down? I can wait.
I’m losing my hair. It’s the thing I’m the most insecure about, at least right now. Going bald is not the worst thing that ever happened to me, but it’s something I wish hipsters younger than me wouldn’t think about when they meet me. I’ve thought about putting my hand on my head, but then I’d be a bald guy palming the top of his head. That’s not better.
There’s a good reason I’m telling you this. Thursday Colorado Politics, seven months old, announced we’re merging as the senior partner with The Colorado Statesman, a 118-year-old institution of Capitol covefefe. Because Clarity Media owns us both, we’re a first cousin to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The Statesman is our new blood brother.
In the quote I contributed to the announcement, I quipped I wasn’t losing my hair, “at all.” That was an alternative fact. In my daily alternative life, my wispy brown locks still lilt in the breezes of the hot Southern nights of my youth. In reality, the strands on the crown of my head are as thin as the Mobile, Ala., tattoo I had lasered off in Colorado.
That good reason I mentioned before is this: You should expect us to give you the news, no combovers included.
The credibility of Colorado Politics depends on your faith in us, and you should know where we stand, if for no other reason so you can gloat when you think we’ve fallen. Look, some days we’ll do our jobs better than others, and some days we’ll embarrass ourselves worse than I dare imagine, but our guiding light is fairness, followed closely by accuracy and honesty in words and intent.
I should point out our team is made up of seasoned, jaded veterans — the most seasoned, most jaded and most veteran in Colorado. We know when our values are being measured in fairness and when they’re being measured for manipulation. Fairness isn’t measured in making your candidate look good.
The secret of our success so far has been in our tenacity and understanding our audience. We write for the most politically engaged readers across the state, not just down the street. Lobbyists and legislators told us during the last session that we’ve become their first click in the morning, and they check back regularly. They have to, because we sometimes post 15 stories or more a day. With the additional resources of The Statesman, and with new staff and contributors coming aboard, that’s going to increase.
If you want to know what policymakers are reading and you want to get your message to them, Colorado Politics is your best avenue for that. And you can bet our readers vote. They’re too smart not to.
Sure, other reporters smirk and tell us we cover “turns of the screw,” incremental negotiations and updates from committees, to which I respond with a sincere, “Thank you.” The people we write for want to be the first to know when something’s screwed. We’ll continue to do that. We won’t save up notes and wait for other reporters do the sorting and lifting. Some call that sophisticated. I call that lazy. It’s really just editorial philosophy. Less is not more. It’s less. Our readers deserve more. Odds say we’ll fail, but it won’t be for lack of effort
Others are pulling back their coverage practically to their front doors, but we’re expanding to the small towns and distant corners of Colorado.
We’re working on a lot of exciting things, including a weekly statewide political magazine.
In print for subscribers we will tackle big-picture issues. We’ll tackle the future of Colorado water, for example, and tell you things you don’t know from both sides equally. We’ll do in-depth, sometimes aggressive, sometimes witty profiles. I’m going to visit Rep. Jim Wilson in Salida in a couple of weeks. He’s a rare breed of advocate for public education, a country wisdom phrase-turner and a skilled hunter with a rifle or a bow. In college, they called him Slick. In the schools where he taught, coached and led, they called him sir, the administrator with a heart as big as Kansas. In the Capitol they call him a Republican.
We’ll profile lots of legislators, lobbyists and behind-the-scenes characters, as well as break the big stories and inform you daily about loose screws. Politics in Colorado is a small town and we’re that small town’s newspaper.
By the end of this year, we hope to have formed partnerships with small-town papers that have no Capitol or political coverage. They can rely on ours. Their readers will better understand their government and politicians, if they listen to us.
But they need to trust us. That’s where we stand or fall.
Yours truly, a balding man.