Working through uncertainty

We are all in this together

Photo credit: Tamiko Ihori from Getty Images via Canva

Dear readers,

Yesterday, Susan Greene was hard at work — helping a trio of our partner newspaper editors prep for a project with the Colorado News Collaborative. She helped lead a Zoom call with a number of our now nearly 100 news outlet partners, sharing plans for an upcoming statewide reporting project. And she was in COVID-19 quarantine for the third time in six weeks.

This time was different, though.

The first two times turned out to be just a scare. This time, one of Susan’s teenage sons has tested positive for the virus and is holed up in their basement. And Susan has symptoms: fever, pounding headache, fatigue.

Yet she kept on working yesterday, quarantined at home.

Also quarantined yesterday was Nicole Vap from our partner 9News in Denver. She and her whole family have it, but she has managed to edit a few scripts for her investigative team in between overwhelming bouts of exhaustion that send her to the couch or the bed, whichever is closer.

And yesterday, Terri House — editor and publisher of the Pagosa Sun in Pagosa Springs — was battling COVID-19 symptoms and waiting for her test results. She also attended two COLab video meetings (the one Susan helped lead, which was our weekly call with partners, and another I helped lead for partners who are raising contributions to support their work in the waning weeks of this unbelievable year), plus three more video meetings Terri told me about later.

In that conversation, it was clear how worried Terri was — and not just for herself.

“I am a high-risk person and now I am symptomatic,” she said. “My whole staff is on edge.”

We know we are not alone in working through sickness, through quarantine, through uncertainty. It is the way of the world now. In Colorado’s journalism community, we push on because the stakes are so high. The pandemic has changed the way almost everyone works, including the journalists who are covering it. For an inside look at how, watch this documentary from NBC Universal producer Marcus Harun. It’s called Essential Journalists, and it cites COLab as one silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19.

Our collaborative network really accelerated at the start of the pandemic because the need to produce “Better news for all Coloradans” was clear and urgent — and essential. We are a nonprofit, powered by journalists and supporters committed to providing the people of this state with public interest, accountability news coverage not just as a service, but as the fulfillment of the basic human right to be informed. We are all in this together.

Thank you for helping us do our jobs.

A version of this post originally appeared in a letter to readers on Friday, Nov. 13. Get our newsletter delivered straight to your email box by signing up here.

Laura pioneered collaborative journalism in Colorado as the founder of I-News, the nonprofit investigative news organization that merged with Rocky Mountain Public Media in 2013, the first such merger in the nation. She led the journalism team there for seven years, and now leads 95+ newsrooms in collaborative reporting through the Colorado News Collaborative. She is a Denver native who spent 20 years reporting for newspapers, radio and public television around the country, specializing in investigative reporting and data analysis. She was a founding member of the Institute for Nonprofit News and now serves as its board chair. Her work has won awards in both broadcast and print, and led to changes in laws and lives.


  1. just a quick comment…there seems to be little reporting being done on the republican’s idea of herd immunity…when you step back and look at the big picture, you can see the effort they are making to make herd immunity the way forward…this is unacceptable…these folks are taking away my ability to make my own health decisions…and if I die, I can’t complain…so, Laura Frank, please use your unique and lofty position to help lift the veil of hypocrisy and dishonesty from the eyes of less than educated people…republicans…

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