Cara DeGette on layoffs at the Colorado Independent

Cara DeGette.

Today's blog "The Colorado Independent is Downsizing But Not Disappearing" deals with significant layoffs at the Colorado Independent, a news-and-information site sponsored by the Center For Independent Media in Washington, D.C. But although David Bennahum, the Center's CEO and president, was able to address big-picture matters in an e-mail Q&A included with the earlier piece, Cara DeGette has a better sense of what's happening locally. She was the editor of the Independent, and while she'll continue with the site, she'll do so as a senior writer. The reason for the title change? Thanks to the layoffs of two fulltimers and four regular contributors, only DeGette and three colleagues (Wendy Norris, David O. Williams and part-time blogger Ernest Luning) remain on the payroll. Hence, DeGette will need to spend the lion's share of her time generating content as opposed to editing stuff turned in by others.

At this point, DeGette admits to being in a state of shock over the latest developments. "I'm disappointed by the layoffs of so many incredibly talented people who I loved working with," she says. "And I'm saddened by the realities of the marketplace and how it's impacted us."

Given that the Independent has what DeGette describes as a "progressive editorial worldview," it's logical to wonder if liberal funders feel such an organization is no longer a high priority in the wake of widespread Democratic election victories in Colorado and beyond. However, she refuses to engage in that line of thinking. "We're nonpartisan," she emphasizes, adding, "I'm not a Democrat." Moreover, she believes that "we've broken a lot of stories from the left and the right, involving Democrats and Republicans. I'm proud of the work we've done that's been so incredibly relevant, and I'm proud of the stories we have yet to break."

As these last comments imply, she remains committed to the Independent's program. "As our business evolves, we need to be quick on our feet and evolve along with it," she maintains. "And while we're taking a hit, I think it's fair to say we'll persevere. We need to make sure that this democracy of ours remains intact. And I do that through journalism." -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts