The subscription page of the Colorado Statesman, a political weekly newspaper, says you’ll stay “in the dark” if you don’t subscribe to the publication. Not true.
You can now access the Statesman’s content free, online, anytime.
Gone is the pesky paywall that buried stories, stifled debate, and, most importantly, apparently didn’t generate enough money to justify its existence.
Launched in conjunction with the publication’s 118 birthday last year, the Statesman’s subscription-only business model required you to pay $159 to access the print and most online content, forcing frustrated reporters to tweet screen shots of articles in a desperate effort to stay relevant.
At the time, Statesman Editor Jared Wright, a former Republican state lawmaker, told me he hoped his publication would generate funds, like a trade journal. At the state level, he pointed to the Arizona Capitol Times as a model. An effort to offer a portion of the publication as an insert in The Denver Post apparently didn’t make economic sense and was abandoned.
Wright did not immediately return a call to comment on the elimination of the paywall.
I have to hold my nose as I write this, which means I’m reduced to one-handed typing because I lost my nose clips, but I still think those who can afford it should subscribe to the Statesman. It provides coverage of local politics, especially campaign and insider tidbits, that you can’t find anywhere else.
The hold-my-nose part comes from the not-secret secret that Republican King-Like businessman Larry Mizel, who chaired Trump fundraising events in Denver last year, owns a controlling interest in the Statesman. But even though this is a well-known fact, Mizel and Wright won’t talk about who owns the paper–a problem compounded by Wright’s partisan background and his sometimes strange copy editing and staffing decisions, like hiring a Tea Party activist as an editor and sometimes using the newspaper’s morning-email briefing as an apparent amplifier for Republican messaging.
In any case, with some excellent and trustworthy reporters still freelancing for the Statesman and its commitment to state political reporting, it’s great to see the paywall fall and the newspaper become more relevant and timely to more people.
(P.S. Make sure you’ve subscribed or donated to The Denver Post, CPR, KGNU, the Colorado Independent, and all your local outlets before you pony up for the Statesman. Mizel can carry the Statesman on his pile of money, you’d hope, without much help.)