The Roaring Fork Valley community’s only 501C3 nonprofit newspaper is modifying its organizational structure to help position the paper to grow and expand its mission.
Todd Chamberlin, Sopris Sun advertising director, was appointed to the top spot and will be heading up business development, fundraising, distribution and sales for the organization.
“We’ve had a good year and we’ll continue to work hard to expand our editorial and advertising base,” said Chamberlin, adding, “There are many opportunities for nonprofit and for profit organizations to collaborate and benefit our growing communities. As a community newspaper the Sun can be an integral partner in these collaborations. Up until now it was all on the editor to manage such collaborations. My role will mean we can do more of this, which I think will be very exciting.”
The Sun has also recently been able to publish more robust papers thanks to the support from donors and advertising partners. The growth has opened the door to expand our mission a bit, Chamberlin revealed.
“As our communities grow in size and together, there are always more stories than can and should be tackled,” he maintained, “I also feel there are many people in the valley who have not discovered the Sun, so we need to work on increasing distribution. With the City Market’s pulling free publications out of their store’s we are continually looking to find new distribution points to compensate for this loss.”
Carbondale was without a newspaper from the 1930s, when the Carbondale Avalanche shut down, until 1974, when first the Roaring Fork Review and then the Valley Journal started.
The Journal printed its last issue on Christmas Eve 2008, but The Sopris Sun opened for business in February 2009 and has published its weekly paper ever since. The Carbondale Branch Library offers 33 years of bound volumes of the region’s weekly newspapers. The issues can be read inside the library but are not available to check out.
Looking to the future, Chamberlin admitted that, as a 501C3 organization, “funding can be stressful at best. There are so many great nonprofit organizations in the valley and with Covid we are all going after a smaller pool of money this year. We truly appreciate the community support we’ve had this year, especially with our advertisers. They truly are our partners in helping keep The Sun alive and thriving”.
“Some of the reasons the board brought me on board was for me to apply for more grants and do more fundraising for the organization,” he said “the cost to print each free paper is around $1.80. Relying solely on advertising, especially in a bad economy is simply not feasible. So these grants and small monthly donations of $5 to $10 truly help make a difference in keeping the paper going. “
Todd mentioned he will be sad to lose present Editor Will Grandbois, who will be leaving at the end of the month. There is an ongoing search to find a replacement. Chamberlin will continue as advertising director for now. Graphic Designer Ylice Golden, Reporter Roberta McGowan, and Crystal Tapp for delivery and volunteer Proofreader Lee Beck remain on staff with assistance from freelance writers, photographers and volunteers.
“Most importantly as a community resource, we want to continue to help struggling businesses, and do as much as we can to support other nonprofits, especially in these times. In 2021 we hope to expand our program of offering free and discounted rates when we can financially” he explained.
Chamberlin comes to his new role after years in a variety of positions including 10 years on the Carbondale Parks and Recreation Board, eight years as e-commerce director for National Geographic, director of outreach at High Country News, assistant manager at Aspen Skiing Company and park ranger at both the Zion and Rocky Mountain National Parks.
A Colorado native and 13-year local, Chamberlin enjoys hiking, snowboarding, rafting, photography, travel and following the evolution of Carbondale’s creative community. To reach him, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-510-0246.