Of all the keys to a rewarding life, one always has stood out for me.
You must be willing to admit when you’re wrong — and be diligent in correcting mistakes. Sincerely. Not just for yourself, but for anyone else affected by your actions, or the situations you inherit.
That philosophy has come back to mind in full force the past two months, not just once but repeatedly, as the Sixty35 Media saga has unfolded. Our company tried to do something bold, unique, even daring, with a dash of audacity thrown in for good measure.
Could it have succeeded with better planning, promotion and preparation, not to mention more time to make the transition? Maybe, or perhaps not, but why dwell on that now? The main point was, we undervalued and almost lost our most valuable asset — you, the readers — by taking away what had become a true community treasure.
Yes, the Indy.
My emeritus position in retirement did not include being involved last year with the decisions to take the company nonprofit and cause such upheaval. I could have spoken up, actually should have, and regret not providing more input after spending my last working years as executive editor of the Independent, Colorado Springs Business Journal and the Pikes Peak Bulletin.
My position as a Sixty35 Media board member, though, provided another opportunity as 2023 arrived. At first, it appeared to be a chance to help stabilize the company and its new printed product. Soon, though, that quest led me to the brink of being a pallbearer for Sixty35 news magazine’s funeral.
You must be willing to admit when you’re wrong — and be diligent in correcting mistakes.
But that would have meant giving up. And not rectifying the mistakes. Pulling the plug simply was not an acceptable option for the inner core of Sixty35 Media — even though we had to go through the horrific ordeal of cutting staff and pleading for the community to help.
You saw the recent headline: Do or Die. Followed the next week by another: Doing, Not Dying.
And now, with this issue, you have your Indy again. We made mistakes. And we’re doing all in our power to fix them, not just with our own energy but with the vital support of our readers and advertisers.
Through the years, my role has included writing columns such as this — about the community, about issues that matter to everyone, about people and questions and stories worth sharing. It was never meant to be about us, and we need to remember that now.
As of this edition, embarking on this challenging restart, we must do one thing to give ourselves the best chance: get back to what we do and enjoy the most. That means putting out a damn good newspaper every week, providing a compelling mixture of community news, aggressive investigations, culture and event information — mostly the same approach that worked for the past 30 years.
It’s not like snapping our fingers and simply going back to where we were. It’s still a remodeling project, with some new components and others presented in new ways. In today’s media world, we can’t make it solely on ad revenue anymore. We also can’t sustain the same number of full-time staffers, though we have been able to rehire some who were laid off in mid-March.
As has been stressed in various ways, we can’t be just a free product anymore. We now must have your support, in the form of paid subscriptions and — most of all — memberships. But as a nonprofit now, we obviously aren’t trying to create a new money-making machine — we just need to have a break-even bottom line.
That wasn’t going to happen with Sixty35. Our only chance was to admit the error of our ways, listen to our supporters, not be defensive and instead do whatever we could to avoid shutting down forever.
We will not be perfect, and we will surely make missteps at times. But as long as we try to make them right, we’ll have a chance.
Granted, we’re asking a lot. But we don’t see anyone else trying to provide this service: a still-fresh, feisty and dedicated effort to tell stories that nobody else is telling, along with as much culture, arts and entertainment as possible.
I’m proud, and grateful, to join the Indy’s remarkable staff of caring and resilient professionals doing everything we can to make it work. If you care about this newspaper and its enduring value to the community around us, please consider some level of commitment. In return, our mission will be to reward your loyalty for years to come.
Long live the Indy!