October 6, 2021
 | 2:23 pm

Why a nonprofit model?

If we are focused on profitability, we are not focused on our community.

The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo is a popular destination for residents and guests alike.
The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo is a popular destination for residents and guests alike. (Photo by Melissa Edwards)
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Newspapers were created to share news — first as newsletters for merchants and traders the world over and then as a way to bring important information to the masses. As literacy increased, so did the demand for news. The American Revolution was spurred by newspapers that had been banned by the British in an effort to quell the movement towards freedom.

Newspapers rose in popularity and coverage during the Industrial Revolution and the owners and editors realized the power they held. News became sensationalized to sell more papers, increasing circulation by any means necessary. Advertisements, which began appearing shortly after the American Revolution, were ramped up to increase profits. Owners began buying up more and more papers to increase their circulation numbers. Owning a newspaper was essentially a license to print money. Some papers fought back against this distortion of purpose, like the New York Times with its “All the news that’s fit to print” slogan, but the lure of big profits never left the industry.

In all of this, the purpose of a news source was muddied. Modern cable news channels highlight how far the problem has gone, creating division by picking and choosing which facts to report. They have forgotten that the root of news is not to support capitalism and party lines, but to protect our democracy by informing the masses. News has to be fair, show the whole truth and be free from conflicts of interest such as protecting advertising sales or the interests of profiteering ownership.

If we are focused on profitability, we are not focused on our community.

Back to the main question: Why a nonprofit model? At the Pueblo Star Journal, we recognize the problematic way most newspapers are run and we want to do better. If we are focused on profitability, we are not focused on our community. We are not focused on telling the truth, no matter what. That is unacceptable to us.

The PSJ does not exist to line anyone’s pockets. No one will be getting rich from this news organization. It exists to tell the story of Pueblo, both past and present. It exists to foster community engagement at every level and in every neighborhood. It exists to protect our democracy and make sure every voice is heard, no matter how small. That's why our printed and digital editions will be available for free to everyone -- no paywalls and no intrusive pop-up ads.

Yes, there will be advertisements. Our advertisers and underwriters are vital to ensuring our ability to tell Pueblo’s stories — your stories. We are grateful for their financial support and proud to provide a place for local businesses to promote themselves. However, the cost of advertising will be used to support the costs of great journalism and community events and, most importantly, we will always be clear that financial support of the PSJ does not purchase editorial influence of any kind. Period.

Support also will come from PSJ members. We will model our membership plans on organizations such as PBS, National Public Radio and, in the newspaper realm, The Colorado Sun. They will be designed to suit the budget of anyone who wishes to join, no matter the donation amount.

We are digging deeper, getting back to the roots of what news should be — information, discussions and events that are vital to the Pueblo community — without the profits that have corrupted the industry.

Make checks payable to:

Positive Content,
c/o Pueblo Star Journal Fund,
303 S. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo CO 81003

Melissa Edwards
Melissa Edwards is an award-winning graphic designer who brings many areas of practice to her new role. A graduate of Colorado Mesa University in Technical Theatre, she also worked as an executive assistant for a commercial real estate firm in Colorado Springs, which sparked her interest in graphic design and marketing. After taking design classes at Pikes Peak Community College, Melissa was hired as a Graphic Designer for the Colorado Springs Business Journal, working her way to the position of Art and Production Director overseeing seven newspapers. In her six years of experience there, she won multiple awards from the Colorado Press Association (including two design sweepstakes awards), the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Advertising Federation, earning two silver Addys. Melissa has a passion for making information accessible to all. She believes that in order for communities to thrive, they must be informed, involved and invested in the wellbeing of their neighbors.

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