June is the month of marriages, and we’d like to announce a big, fat, happy one in the political realm.
Colorado Politics, a new digital publication launched last November, and the venerable, 118-year-old Colorado Statesman are joining forces.
“We see it as a perfect match of speed and substance, immediacy and insight,” said Vince Bzdek, a former political editor at The Washington Post who will oversee the combined website and print magazine for Clarity Media. “Together, the aim is simple: Drive the political conversation in Colorado every day, in every way. And have fun doing it.”
Pulitzer Prize-winner Joey Bunch, a former Denver Post political writer and onetime CNN contributor, will be the lead correspondent for the site and magazine.
“From the start, Colorado Politics has been an exciting venture, and the reception in the political community has been tremendous,” said Bunch, who swears he is not losing his hair since helping launch the site. At all. “The Statesman’s history and resources are welcome additions and should raise people’s expectations of us as the political news source that has it first, has it right and treats both sides fairly. Our readers tend to be folks who are the most engaged in state politics. This merger helps ensure they’re the best informed.”
The websites of the two media companies will become one starting June 1, under the Colorado Politics banner. Clarity Media, which owns The Gazette newspaper and several weekly publications in Colorado Springs as well as the Washington Examiner, Weekly Standard and Red Alert Politics in Washington, D.C., will become the Statesman’s new owner.
The Statesman’s print newspaper, which has published nonstop since 1898, will continue to publish weekly under the Statesman banner until a complete redesign and relaunch planned for later in 2017. At that time, the Statesman will be rebranded Colorado Politics.
The new, combined website will feature free and exclusive subscriber-only news stories daily. Subscribers also will receive the print edition of the newspaper in the mail every week with additional subscriber-only content being provided in the future. The print edition will also be available on newsstands around Denver in the coming months.
“The Statesman brings deep roots and an unmatched understanding of Colorado’s political history to the new enterprise,” said Bzdek, who also oversees the editorial staff of The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Colorado Politics brings some of the best political journalists in the state to the partnership, and a culture and metabolism that take full advantage of the instancy of digital publishing.”
Going forward, the merging of brands will mean more substantial reporting on all things politics and policy, and the expansion of a wide roster of contributors from across the state. Readers can expect an increase in exclusive, insider scoops; the addition of invaluable special features and tools to help professionals in the field make better decisions for their businesses; and an upgraded web site and mobile site. The print edition will grow as well, with more pages, more columns, and more cartoons.
Colorado Politics and Statesmen reporters will also team up to bring more horsepower to The Hot Sheet, a daily newsletter and blog for the new site.
Clarity expects to add more staff members in the future.
“I am excited by the merger,” said Jared Wright, longtime stalwart of the Statesman who will run the business, advertising and circulation operations as general manager of the new publication. “Combining forces of the two publications just made sense. The rich 118-year history of The Colorado Statesman and the confluence of minds and resources will create some very compelling opportunities for how we cover political and public policy news in Colorado and the value we offer our readers and clients.”
Other staffers include Peter Marcus, who The Washington Post twice named as one of the nation’s top state-based political and legislative reporters; Dan Njegomir, a 25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene as an award-winning reporter, Gazette editorial page editor, legislative staffer and political consultant; Ernest Luning, longtime journalist and news editor who has written for The Statesman and The Colorado Independent; Erin Prater, a multimedia journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times Upfront, The Washington Times, The Denver Post, MSNBC.com, Military.com and the Gazette; Jim Trotter, another Pulitzer winner and longtime Colorado editor, who will help edit the site in conjunction with his managing editor duties at the Gazette.
The staff will report to Ryan McKibben, CEO and president of Clarity.
Gov. John Hickenlooper is a fan of both publications. He has called Colorado Politics his “first click in the morning.”
“Overall, I wouldn’t trade a strong media in the state Capitol for anything. I think it is essential not just to the drive of good government but to the preservation of liberty, and freedom,” he said in a video testimonial for the Statesman recently.
Bzdek echoed those sentiments. “You know, the better the people creating policy know each other and trust each other, the better the government and its decisions. We believe a publication like this is truly the best way of making sure those people know each other and we citizens know who our politicians are and what they’re up to. This merger is really a vote of confidence in the power of the press to bring people together — and make lives better.”