This is a difficult column to write because, well, it’s a difficult time. For everyone. Even as public discourse is shifting to how to responsibly reopen our economies, futures remain uncertain, and nobody is facing exactly the same predicaments in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. As the days get longer, we at The Sopris Sun start brainstorming yet again about our summer fundraising drive. We had big plans, this year, too — a wine tasting event co-sponsored by some of our business community’s most prominent members.
Like so many plans, however, we had to cancel ours. Those same businesses have had to shift their models to adapt to our strange new times. Strangely enough, our nonprofit status offers some familiarity: We still, as always, count on the support of our readers and, as in summers’ past, we still need to graciously ask for that support in order to ensure continued independent, local reporting by the community for the community.
Local news has never felt so important — and trust me, I’m walking my own talk.
Full disclosure: I’m furloughed, but that hasn’t kept my bylines from the Aspen Daily News. Boy, that’s hard to admit in writing. I may even catch some flack for it, but in the name of transparency and solidarity, let me tell you that when you see the for-profit newspapers in the Valley are asking for donations from readers — many for the first time in their history — I promise they’re not being overdramatic or trying to capitalize on a situation. With so many events canceled and businesses shuttered, who has advertising dollars left in the budget?
So this is a difficult column to write. I haven’t suspended my own monthly contribution to The Sopris Sun as an honorary publisher even after my last paycheck because I’m incredibly lucky to have a darling husband still with a salary, and so I am able to continue supporting something as important to me as local news. I’m acutely aware that not everyone is in a similar position, and so asking for donations at a time when many of us are claiming unemployment for the first time in our lives feels … difficult.
Please take care of yourself. There are so, so many resources available to you right now, and new ones are cropping up every day. In my own reporting, I’ve noticed an undercurrent of gratitude among sources that is truly inspiring. We are all keeping on keeping on, and if you’re tired — as you have every right to be — there are so many others around who are willing and able to shoulder your tears.
Now is not the time to feel obligated to put more stress on your finances if they’re already stressed. But if you do have the means, there has genuinely never been a better time to share the wealth. We are living in a chapter of history that will be the subject of our children’s studies, and The Sopris Sun’s pages will be important documentation of today’s ever-evolving landscape. I’m continually humbled by the stories that come out of this community and look forward to reading them for many years to come.