Colorado Public Radio (CPR) announced today it will acquire local news site Denverite from its parent company, Spirited Media, in a move that will strengthen local journalism and reach new audiences with in-depth news on Denver’s growth and development, arts and culture, government and politics, and events.
Denverite will continue to publish under its own brand, and its entire editorial staff will be retained through the deal. Meanwhile, the partnership will continue to expand and diversify CPR’s growing newsroom, strengthen its digital capacities, and eventually offer deeper coverage of arts and culture in Denver.
Multi-year support from the Gates Family Foundation and Bonfils-Stanton Foundation was organized through the Colorado Media Project, a community-based initiative that works with a wide variety of news organizations across the state to explore business models, develop collaborations, and increase public engagement and funding for local journalism. An additional gift to CPR from the Ellenoff Family Fund rounds out the deal, which supports CPR’s costs to transition and operate Denverite as part of the CPR network. Denverite will be funded out of CPR’s annual operating budget after three years.
Both Gates’ president, Tom Gougeon, and I are members of the Colorado Media Project’s community-based executive committee – so we’re especially delighted that two other local foundations who are deeply committed to helping local journalism thrive in Colorado have joined together to strengthen the capacity of both Denverite and CPR to do what they do best.
It’s a good outcome for the whole community – and the local news ecosystem. Local news is a public good, and we see this as a chance to bring a unique, homegrown newsroom into mission-aligned local ownership, while also increasing CPR’s digital and reporting capacities – enabling both newsrooms to engage more Coloradans with high-quality local journalism.
“The Colorado Media Project is dedicated to the sustainability of local news organizations to serve all Coloradans,” said CMP acting director Nancy Watzman. “We’re looking forward to working with CPR and Denverite through this transition and beyond. CMP’s support for local news does not stop with this deal: we’re working with a whole range of Colorado news organizations to help strengthen local news in our state. When community comes together, just wait to see what we can do.”
Don’t miss this Q&A with Denverite’s Editor, Dave Burdick, and CPR’s Executive Editor, Kevin Dale, which unpacks what this change means for both organizations, their loyal listeners and readers, and Colorado’s local news ecosystem.
Gates has been a supporter of CPR since 2003, and partnered with the Piton Foundation in 2011 to help CPR launch it’s education desk at a time when coverage of the issue was declining statewide. Through the support we’ve pooled with Bonfils-Stanton Foundation through the CMP, Denverite will enhance its coverage of Metro Denver’s vibrant arts and culture scene – while continuing to publish under its own brand and cover a wide variety of Denver news and politics.
“The expanded arts coverage is especially exciting,” said Gary Steuer, President and CEO of Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, which works to advance the arts and inspire creative leadership in Denver. ”We are very pleased to support this effort that will help fill the gap in local arts and culture journalism.”
We’re also excited that this deal spotlights both the leadership and community commitment of CPR’s board of trustees and President and CEO Stewart Vanderwilt, and the creativity and innovation of Denverite founder Burdick and his team of journalists.
“Denverite has become an important source of original journalism, serving a growing community need for news in Colorado’s largest city,” Vanderwilt said. “We’re thrilled to have Denverite join the CPR family, where it will get the enhanced reach and infrastructure of the CPR network, while still retaining the unique voice and focus its audience knows and loves.”
As a result of the acquisition, all of Denverite’s editorial staff will be retained, and Burdick will become Digital Managing Editor for CPR News. In this role, Burdick will manage CPR’s digital news content and continue to provide oversight of Denverite.
“Being a member-supported organization has been really central to our identity, and has propelled us forward in terms of our reporting, our relationships with the community, the way we approach our jobs,” Burdick told the Colorado Media Project. “Now we are becoming part of the biggest and best member-supported news organization in the state. That’s incredibly exciting to me.”
“Denverite provides extensive coverage of what’s happening in the city, giving CPR News even more opportunity to focus on stories with statewide interest,” said Executive Editor Kevin Dale. “The resulting impact of more local and statewide coverage across all platforms will benefit the entire state, particularly at a time when local news needs as much support as possible.”