Why I cartoon for The Colorado Independent

Mike Keefe

Dear readers,

Before Susan Greene asked me to contribute editorial cartoons to The Colorado Independent in 2014, I had spent more than three decades as a member of the editorial page staff at The Denver Post. Most of those years were great. But then came the cutbacks, the buyouts, the layoffs. What was happening at The Post played out in scores of major newspapers across the country whose newsrooms were also being gutted. It was disheartening, to say the least. My specific corner of journalism was hit particularly hard. In the 1980s, there were more than 300 editorial cartoonists working at daily newspapers in the United States. Today there are fewer than 60.

Print journalism is not dead yet, but it has a nasty, persistent cancer. Hedge fund owners, as in the case of The Post, demand higher profits. Newspapers depend on advertisers to keep them afloat. As the number of ads decline, management is naturally concerned about offending their deep-pocket supporters. While one eye focuses on their watchdog duties, the other eye is on the bottom line.

And, with waves of staff cutbacks, crucial areas of public concern go unreported.

So, when Susan offered me the chance to continue doing what I love, I was delighted to learn what The Colorado Independent is all about. Yes, it is independent. It is a non-profit, statewide news outlet devoted to holding public figures to account and being a megaphone for those not in power. It is a spunky, tireless, online presence examining issues important to all Coloradans — government transparency, the environment, education, energy, law enforcement, local politics, the impact of national policies on the state.

How does the Indy do it? They have a top-notch collection of veteran journalists along with a dedicated team of young professionals putting out an excellent product every day. They also have you, the reader. Your feedback is part of the process. And your donations have made the whole thing possible.

It is on this point that I am writing you. You still have time to make your tax-deductible contribution to The Independent via Colorado Gives Day.  I join my colleagues in hoping that you will take this opportunity to support fine local journalism before the clock runs out on 2018. 


Mike Keefe, editorial cartoonist

Longtime Denver Post staffer and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. His work has appeared in many of the nation's top news publications.