The Crestone Eagle • December, 2021

Crestone Eagle Community Media: Giving back to move forward

by Peter Anderson

We need your help! Starting November 30, Colorado Gives Day, and during the month of December, you, our beloved community, will have the opportunity to make contributions toward the expansion of The Crestone Eagle. The Eagle has been selected for a Colorado Media Project $5,000 matching grant. This means donations can be doubled.

We often hear from our readers that our reporting truly makes a difference in their lives—that no other publication covers Crestone and the San Luis Valley like we do. Well, we’d like to continue doing what we do and bring you even more!

Like most newspapers in Colorado and around the country, The Crestone Eagle generates its revenue through advertising, subscriptions, and single-copy sales. For many reasons, including the challenges of COVID-19, we are experiencing a significant loss of advertising revenue. Changing technology has affected how people get their news, and the proliferation of social media has threatened the stability of local news outlets, including the Eagle. Because of this, Crestone Eagle Community Media (CECM), a local nonprofit news organization, was set up to purchase the Eagle with the intention of sustaining and enhancing the kind of public service-oriented community journalism that the Eagle provides.

Currently, CECM Board Members—Peter Anderson, Gussie Fauntleroy, Marge Hoglin, Curtis Ramsey, and Heather Draper—and long-time Eagle Publisher and Editor Kizzen Laki—have finalized an agreement for the purchase/sale of the Eagle and for the transition to a fully non-profit newspaper by spring or summer of 2022. So what exactly does that mean for the Eagle, Crestone’s long-time source of community news and information? For one thing it means greater stability, since nonprofit status will help the Eagle diversify its sources of revenue. Already, CECM Board members, working with the Eagle staff, have successfully written and secured several grants: one from the Colorado Media Project and the Colorado News Collaborative which support local newsrooms throughout the state, and one from Saguache County (a Sales Tax Grant) which will help CECM participate in a statewide campaign to build support for public-service journalism. This statewide campaign, which includes 26 different news organizations throughout the state including the Eagle, will culminate in the possibility of a $5,000 dollar-for-dollar match for all donations received by Crestone Eagle Community Media between November 30 and December 31, 2021. To donate now: click here, mail us at ads@crestoneeagle.com, call us at 719-256- 4956, or come on by the office.

How would these donations be used? Already, CECM has raised the funds, thanks to the generosity of local Friends of the Eagle, to purchase the newspaper. Funds raised during the December campaign will be used to support and add to the current staff in order to strengthen the Eagle’s news reporting and online presence. Since the Eagle is currently a monthly publication, an enhanced online presence could address breaking news—fires, search and rescue efforts, public health issues, for example—and get county residents the information they need in real time. Enhanced reporting both online and in the monthly edition of the Eagle could provide needed facts related to the kind of rumors and hearsay that are often generated by social media. Collaboration between the CECM Board and the Eagle staff has also resulted in another exciting development. Efforts are currently underway to move ahead with an internship program for students from Colorado College (CC). In a win-win situation for both the college and the Eagle, journalism students from CC will join the Eagle staff to learn about community news gathering and to support the Eagle staff in developing its reporting capabilities. All of these efforts are working toward fostering a stronger sense of community in Crestone, as the Eagle has done so well for 32 years under Kizzen Laki’s leadership, and providing even more coverage of local, county, and valley-wide issues. Won’t you open your hearts and wallets and donate to our expansion efforts today? Donation checks can be made out to Crestone Eagle Community Media or CECM and mailed to PO Box 101, Crestone, CO. 81131. Include a note that this is for the CoLab Project matching fund. Or click here to make an online donation. Thank you!