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February 26, 2011 12:43 AM UTC

"Face the State" Bids Adieu (Again)

  • by: Colorado Pols

Westword, we hate drawn-out goodbyes:

Face the State, a conservative-skewing news outlet that Westword named 2009’s Best Political Blog, is no more. While the site’s still online, founder Brad Jones confirms FTS has reached “the end of the road, and I will be moving on to other opportunities.”

What sealed its fate? Finances, of course. “Journalism is a tough business to be in,” Jones says. But pulling the plug has been tough, since “I think we were doing something creative and original.”

The four-year-old site has had plenty of fiscal challenges. In August 2009, Face the State went on hiatus, with Jones predicting that restructuring the operation would take a couple of months. This estimate proved to be overly optimistic: Face the State 2.0 debuted in April 2010, complete with new staffers, including former Westword reporter Jared Jacang Maher, a high-profile contributor in former Rocky Mountain News columnist Peter Blake, and a mandate to be less wonky…

One of the primary problems with “Face the State” was Jones’ insistence that it was a “news site,” after long since being recognized as an outlet for Republican talking points. People criticize Colorado Pols for different things, but we’ve never claimed that we were anything other than a “blog.” We aren’t “journalists,” and this isn’t a “news site.” That’s okay, and Jones and “Face the State” would have been better served by not pretending to be something they weren’t. Jones says that “journalism is a tough business to be in,” which is true…but he wasn’t in that business.

The chief financier of Brad Jones’ online conservative news site was widely rumored to be oil tycoon Alex Cranberg, who you might have read was appointed recently by Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a regent at the University of Texas. We’ve heard that Cranberg was never very happy with the net impact of Jones’ online (or printed) media offerings, but who knows? Maybe “Face the State” could be rebranded into “Face the Lone Star State.”

Or, maybe the next “Face the State” will just write stories others care to read. That’s our primary suggestion. At the end of the day, you could call “Face the State” whatever you wanted, but you couldn’t call it “compelling.”


9 thoughts on ““Face the State” Bids Adieu (Again)

  1. but a reader nonetheless.  They had a conservative prospective on issues sure –  but I don’t think I read anything that was bat s… crazy. Peter Blake could be thought provoking and pointed out more than once the Chair of the PUC’s failings.

    RIP Face the State.  I’ll delete you from my bookmarks.  

  2. Obviously it came from a conservative perspective as Ellie stated, but there were articles that questioned the status quo. and that’s what journalism should do.

    Jared Jacang Maher is a good writer, and has always done well researched pieces.

    The problem with the publication is it had no real focus. I mean, what was the point? And no way to monetize the site, so it was dependent on those financing it, like Cranberg, who could pull the plug at any time, which is apparently just what happened.  

  3. For those of you around the capitol, FTS also has been publishing a print edition, on a more or less weekly basis, Capitol Call. If you get a chance to grab the latest edition, it’s worth it, if for no more than the WTF factor.

    This week’s top story was from the Great 8 Newspapers (the community papers in Jefferson County) on Sheriff Ted Mink’s problems with vacant properties. They also had a story on someone running for mayor of Thornton. There was no content from FTS at this point, and even last week’s edition had stuff from no later than Feb. 10 (this was the edition that came out on Feb. 17) so we were already wondering what was going on.

    Capitol Call was a collaborative project with the Don Knox-run Circuit Media, which does the online State Bill and Law Week.

    I was asking around today to find out what was going on, and even from someone who used to contribute to Capitol Call, I got a “huh?”

  4. but wonder what they did to Pols?!

    “Or, maybe the next “Face the State” will just write stories others care to read.”

    Ouch! I don’t closely track the Westword Best of stuff, but it couldn’t have been all bad if they won Best Political Blog.

    1. Oh, young Ben, you should ask around before giving Westword’s award so much credence.

      The most recent FTS had a certain watch-dog feel to it, though it mostly dug up things no one cared much about.

      But the first incarnation was a conservative hit-piece through and through. Its biggest splash was a brief series based on stolen and forged CoDA documents, and even after it was thoroughly established that key portions FTS quoted were forgeries, the site never ran a correction. Its other biggest splash was going public with the Michael Garcia pool-table proposition before anyone else, for what that’s worth. (It got that one right.)

      1. Thanks RG 🙂

        I think I recall in the beginning it was spun out of the Republican State Senate Communications office but I was under the impression that in it’s second iteration it was slightly more legitimate. Guess not?  

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