Spring is a time of transition, and this year that is proving particularly true for The Sopris Sun.
Since I took the helm January 2016, we’ve replaced most of our staff and all of our board. Terri Ritchie and Barbara Dills were the last holdouts and it’s strange to imagine going forward without them, but we fully intend to survive and thrive.
Last week, we were privileged to receive seven first-place and six second-place awards in the Colorado Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
While it was somewhat bittersweet that some of the recipients had moved on, I’m as proud of their work as when I submitted it to the contest.
Our current team was well represented, as well. For the second year in a row, we were voted Best Website thanks to our wonderful partnership with Footsteps Marketing.
The value of community involvement is further underscored by Jimmy D’Annibale’s first place Sports Column Writing finish. A whole crew contributed to our drought coverage, while Megan also had two individual second place stories and I was gratified to receive a first place award of my own.
That’s not half bad for a little nonprofit focused on one small town that’s not even the county seat. Our trip to the press convention further underscored how unusual we are on both counts — which is easy to forget in a valley blessed with so many daily, weekly and monthly newspapers. Between our staff and board we have a healthy mix of energy and experience to help us innovate while continuing to do what we do well.
Our birthday party was the perfect opportunity to look back and reflect on all the talented and dedicated folks who have contributed to The Sun’s success. The benefit concert in August will be our first foray into more upscale events.
Our page size change last fall brought us in line with our counterparts, and today we’re debuting better quality paper stock to make us stand out. Did you notice that the photos and ads are brighter and the whole product has a bit more heft?
Thanks to continued support by our donors, we’re able to try going back to the brightness that characterized the first issues of The Sun, before financial realities forced us to newsprint. We’ve also tried to trim our distribution numbers a bit to offset the increased cost and volume, and hope the whole enterprise will prove more sustainable both economically and environmentally.
Either way, we hope to continue to hear from our readers about how we’re doing and what we could be doing differently. We’re planning a visioning retreat in the next few weeks, and honest feedback is often a more useful metric than web views, ad sales or return rates.
We share these awards with all of Carbondale. We’re your newspaper, and your support allows us to support you. Let’s just keep shining brighter.