Colorado Media Project announced 25 new grants on Wednesday totaling $957,150 that will support Colorado newsrooms, journalists and media entrepreneurs in launching new projects and strengthening existing efforts to serve communities across the state.
These awards also kick off Colorado Media Project’s second three-year commitment as a community-informed, multi-funder coalition dedicated to supporting innovations that make the state’s local media ecosystem more sustainable, collaborative, inclusive and accountable to the public it serves. Collectively, CMP funders have pledged at least $3.35 million over the next three years (2022-24) to support local communities’ civic news and information needs.
Community News Network grantees were selected from a competitive pool of 30 applicants representing small nonprofit and/or locally-owned civic newsrooms that serve Colorado residents who — because of language, race or ethnicity, and/or geography — are not adequately served by other news outlets in the state.
In making the awards, CMP prioritized news outlets that have a clear track record of service to communities of color and/or rural communities, demonstrate fiscal sustainability, and have a robust plan to use grant funds to expand or sustain their impact. Finally, we tried to balance our grantee cohort in terms of geographies and racial/ethnic communities served.
These four newsrooms and two collaborations will receive a total of $680,000 in CMP grants over three years (2022-2024) and participate in cohort learning opportunities, knowledge sharing, and evaluation made possible through generous support from The Colorado Trust:
Denver Urban Spectrum
$135,000 over three years to support digital innovation, business development, and national affiliations for this respected monthly magazine serving Coloradans of color, with a focus on Black communities.
El Comercio de Colorado
$135,000 over three years to support Spanish-language coverage of a newly created congressional district in Northern Colorado, and a social media manager to strengthen digital distribution of this bi-weekly newspaper serving Latino Coloradans on the Front Range.
$80,000 over three years to support local reporting and production of this monthly newspaper, which is a vital resource for Spanish speakers in Grand Junction and surrounding cities on the Western Slope.
KSJD News/Community Radio and KSUT Tribal/Four Corners Radio
$135,000 over three years to support "Voices from the Edge of the Colorado Plateau," a multi-year collaborative project led by these two public media outlets, with a new full-time Indigenous affairs reporter position and community engagement efforts to expand both stations’ efforts to amplify diverse voices and perspectives in rural Southwestern Colorado.
Rocky Mountain Community Radio
$120,000 over three years to support a new managing editor or reporter position to expand thematic story collaboration, partnerships and distribution for this network of 19 mostly rural or mountain community radio stations, who collectively reach more than 415,000 unique listeners per week.
$75,000 over three years to strengthen hyperlocal reporting and increase production for this community newspaper serving residents of Southeast Colorado Springs, in the city’s lowest-income ZIP codes, through support for diverse staff and local contributors.
Collectively, these 19 projects were awarded a total of $277,150 to address one or more of these three priorities identified by community members and journalists of color through News Voices: Colorado, a collaborative project led by Free Press, Colorado News Collaborative and Colorado Media Project in 2021:
Support internal efforts to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in Colorado newsrooms;
Strengthen connections and build trust between Colorado newsrooms and the diverse communities they serve; and/or
Support more diverse and inclusive civic news leadership, entrepreneurship, ownership and narratives.
Grantees will receive cohort support and share lessons learned at a Reporting on Inequities conference in Fall 2022.
2022 is the first year of CMP’s three-year Advancing Equity in Local News grant program. Two more rounds of funding will be made available for new or continuing work, with applications opening in Fall 2022 and Fall 2023.
Internal DEI capacity-building for Colorado newsrooms
Total Awarded: $113,950
Colorado News Collaborative
$25,000 toward development and administration of a baseline survey of COLab partner newsrooms' DEI indicators and readiness, in partnership with the national News Leaders Association, and toward follow-up including a public report and training for newsrooms.
Open Media Foundation
$25,000 toward a dedicated project manager to enhance Open Media's Career Engine human resources service and add recruitment and retention expertise to Colorado newsrooms.
Mile High Asian Media
$17,000 toward DEI training for staff, and to increase translation of information from Asian Avenue Magazine, Rocky Mountain Chinese Weekly and other sources into other Asian languages.
The Denver VOICE
$11,950 toward an internal analysis of coverage gaps; stipends for contributors to cover identified gaps; a survey of contributors to identify perspectives; and an organizational style guide focused on equity, sourcing and framing for this newspaper serving Denver’s unhoused residents.
Public News Service
$10,000 toward externally-led DEI training for Colorado News Connection staff of this Boulder-based, woman-owned wire service with nationwide reach.
Rocky Mountain Public Media
$10,000 toward internally-led DEI training for the Rocky Mountain Public Media local news reporting and production team.
The Denver Newspaper Guild
$10,000 toward externally-led DEI training for local journalists and news leaders at The Denver Post.
KOTO Community Radio (Telluride)
$5,000 toward DEI training for staff and funding for Spanish-language hosts, reporters and partners
Strengthening connections and building trust between
Colorado newsrooms and the diverse communities they serve
Total Awarded: $128,200
Colorado News Collaborative
$25,000 to explore solutions for meeting information needs of Spanish speakers in the Roaring Fork Valley, through a community engagement initiative involving nonprofit groups and eight local newsrooms that serve the region: KPVW/La Tricolor 107.1, KDNK Community Radio, Aspen Public Radio, The Sopris Sun, Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, The Aspen Times, Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
Colorado State University - Pueblo
$25,000 to support first-year implementation of Community Story Bureaus, including development of a DEI Advisory Board, recruitment of a DEI Student Leader, and development of plan for leveraging University faculty and resources to support students and citizen journalists in covering issues germane to Pueblo residents.
KGNU Community Radio (Boulder)
$25,000 to provide paid internships to support emerging storytellers and journalists of diverse backgrounds from the various journalism and communications schools across the Colorado Front Range.
$15,000 to support networking events and dialogues between Colorado's mainstream newsroom media and African immigrants with expertise in diverse subject matters, in partnership with the Pan-African Business Association and the Urban Tikkun Centre.
Colorado Community Media
$15,000 to support a historical look at the Golden Transcript's coverage of the Black Panther party, and its impact on the local community.
Fresh Water News
$10,000 to support a series of listening sessions, in partnership with local community groups and local news organizations, to surface water information needs and concerns among low-income residents and communities of color.
Sentinel Colorado (Aurora)
$7,200 to develop a community advisory committee to set conversation topics and expand outreach and participation for monthly virtual town-hall meetings.
Supporting more diverse and inclusive civic news
entrepreneurship, leadership, ownership and narratives
Total Awarded: $35,000
$15,000 to support the "Reportero del Mes" student engagement program on Rodolfo Cardenas’ Spanish-language morning news show on 1180 AM.
KETO Multicultural Community Radio (Aurora)
$15,000 to support technical stabilization and business development for KETO-FM, Colorado's first and only immigrant and refugee community radio station.
$5,000 to support business exploration and plan development for a web-based platform to aggregate community-generated content, hyperlocal news, and nonpartisan health content in Spanish for rural Coloradans.
Colorado Media Project started in Spring 2018 as a community-led response to the decline in local news across the state, and has since produced a wide body of media ecosystem research, helped launch the nonprofit Colorado News Collaborative and numerous other initiatives, catalyzed millions of dollars in new philanthropic support for the sector (including public media and newspaper acquisitions), and provides support for individual newsrooms through the annual #newsCOneeds matching challenge and the Informed Communities fund.
In January 2022, CMP named a new Executive Committee of representatives from foundations that have made significant commitments to the Colorado media ecosystem through CMP: The Colorado Health Foundation (Jaclyn Lensen), The Colorado Trust (Johanna Ulloa), Democracy Fund (Teresa Gorman), Gates Family Foundation (Melissa Davis) and Rose Community Foundation (Sarah Kurz). Colorado funders interested in joining the CMP Funder Table, which will include a series of learning opportunities throughout 2022, should email Melissa Davis at email@example.com.
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