With nearly 600 subscribers in less than two weeks, The Bugle has exceeded any expectations I may have had.
I find that when I am talking to people about The Yampa Valley Bugle around Routt County, I am often using the pronoun “we.” A few times I have corrected myself to clarify that by we, I do mean just me.
But as I think more about this, I realize that is not true.
Yes, it is just me writing these stories, putting together this newsletter and managing the website. It is just me working behind the scenes to set up the nonprofit, posting updates on social media and meeting with people across the community to share my vision for what this can become. But really, this effort is being fueled by all of you.
I started this in part because I have heard for months from people across the community about their frustrations and fears with the state of journalism in the Yampa Valley. As I said in my column introducing The Yampa Valley Bugle, I share some of those concerns.
In the first week and change of The Bugle, we are nearing 600 subscribers to the Morning Bugle Newsletter. I have also received about $600 in donations to support this effort. Hundreds of you have reached out or stopped me on the street to congratulate me. Quite frankly, I’m a bit overwhelmed.
I didn’t have clear expectations for where The Bugle would be at this point, but if I did, I promise it would have exceeded them. I have this special community to thank for that. I hope this can become something that we can all be proud to have in the Yampa Valley.
There have also been a lot of questions from folks about how I am funding this, what my goals are and how this is actually going to work. I thought I would take this opportunity to answer some of those questions for everyone.
How am I funding this?
So far, The Bugle is entirely self-funded. I have invested a little over $2,000 into this effort that I had saved up (mainly a new computer) and it costs about $70 a month to pay for the website and newsletter platform. Luckily, one of the most expensive parts of journalism is the people who produce it. As I am doing it myself, I’m not paying those costs.
In addition to this, I have a full-time job that I am working. It is a remote, marketing content job that pays more than I ever made at the newspaper and will allow me to keep paying rent, buying food and living here in the Yampa Valley. Someday, I hope to grow this to a point where I can pay myself for this work, but that is not my priority for now. I want to grow The Bugle, earn your trust and ensure that quality local journalism will always be a part of this community.
What am I doing with donations?
For now, not much. This is actually the first time I will mention donating to The Bugle other than the donate page on the website. As I said above, I have received about $600. That money is still sitting in my website’s donations platform and I have not touched any of it. I am working to get the proper Employer Identification Number from the IRS so that I can set up a business bank account in town. When that is set up, the money will go into that.
Even when that is set up though, I do not plan to touch that money for now. I am starting the process of getting nonprofit status with the IRS, which I have learned comes with some significant costs. Any donations I received will go toward paying for that.
If you have donated, thank you so very much. That contribution is crucial to the future of journalism in the Yampa Valley. If you have not, that is totally fine. As you can read here, LiftUp may need it now more than I do, so I would suggest directing your money there for now.
When I get the 501c(3) status, I will put more effort toward securing funding, whether that be donations, memberships, sponsorships or grants. For now, I want to work to grow the number of people that are turning to The Bugle for news and earn the trust of the community.
How frequently will I be posting new stories?
I am really trying to get at least one new story up each day, with more when I am putting together a newsletter. That said, I do have another full-time job and am limited in my overall time. You can expect to get a Morning Bugle Newsletter every Monday and Wednesday morning. I am also hoping to send one on as many Fridays as possible, but I may not be able to do that every week.
How can you support The Bugle?
Other than the above donations (as I said, LiftUp needs it more right now than I do) the best way to support The Bugle is to read, subscribe and share this with your fellow community members. To have 600 subscribers in less than two weeks is great, but it is just a fraction of what I hope to have. Please share this effort, reach out to me with story ideas and be patient as I work to grow this. It will take time, but I am confident we can get there.
What is my ultimate goal?
I have grown up with strong local journalism. I used to read the Star Tribune in Minneapolis nearly every day and feel lucky to have one of the largest newspapers in the country covering where I grew up. Colorado’s news landscape is somewhat different. There are several different outlets, but some are stronger than others. I feel Colorado is truly blessed to have an outlet covering the state like The Colorado Sun. They do great work, write in-depth stories and are a benefit to all corners of Colorado.
But as a statewide outlet, The Sun cannot meet all the demands for news a place like the Yampa Valley has. That is where The Bugle comes in. My ultimate goal is to be The Colorado Sun for the valley, covering the day-to-day developments while taking time to focus on larger enterprise topics that delve into the issues that are faced broadly by the community and specifically by our neighbors. It won’t happen overnight, but I know we can get there.
I plan to do these updates on The Bugle's progress periodically. If you have more questions, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Transparency is incredibly important to me, and I want to be transparent about this effort with the community that I am working to serve. Thank you.