My story of North Forty News is a story of giving and receiving. This article was humbling, but getting this message out is essential.
I started my career at North Forty News by giving a simple gesture. It was necessary to save one of Northern Colorado’s last locally-owned newspapers.
In 2015, Doug Conroe, the previous owner, wrote a story on the front page of North Forty News about how it was going out of business. I hadn’t read News for more than ten years. I picked up the edition.
In the pizza shop with my children and wife at the time, I read how one of Northern Colorado’s last remaining publications might soon cease to exist. I immediately started thinking of ways that I could help. With my background and media (all in television), I knew I had something to offer.
My entrepreneurial spirit led me to put together a plan for Doug. I wanted to share that plan with him with no strings attached. I wanted to pass along my advice so he could save this newspaper. But Doug had reached a point where he couldn’t do it anymore. He asked me to take ownership.
From a business standpoint, this only sometimes happens. I wasn’t ready. But after I looked into it a bit more and had more conversations with Doug, he said he would help me learn. That’s when Doug signed North Forty News over to me for one dollar with no debt and no strings attached. Doug is a hero for saving North Forty News.
In the coming months, I took it on. I learned the ins in outs and how to produce a newspaper. I spent months, then the following years, trying to stick to my plan to help the newspaper survive and revive it.
Then I came across information about Scene magazine going out of business. It was another longtime, locally owned publication dedicated to music in the arts in our community. I decided I couldn’t see that go either. Soon after that, I purchased it and renamed it New SCENE. That came with its challenges. But I promised to persist. I put my head down, learned how to produce the magazine, and kept it alive.
On September 17, 2017, Mayor Wade Troxell proclaimed North Forty News, recognizing it by the City of Fort Collins for its contributions and service to Northern Colorado.
It was a tremendous honor, and it came through the hard work of me and the North Forty News staff, contributors, and supporters.
Then the pandemic happened. A considerable portion of both publications’ revenue dried up almost overnight. It was a big problem. I put my head down and worked day and night with my team to keep North Forty News going. I moved New Scene magazine into North Forty News and saved them both. It was a precarious but necessary move. It ultimately led to the expansion of New SCENE magazine into a weekly publication within North Forty News.
Both brands and publications grew through the pandemic. I put my children on bikes and distributed newspapers to driveways because we had no other way to get the newspaper out while people were in their homes on lockdown.
People came out of their homes to pick up the newspaper and reminisced about what it was like in old times — Kids on bikes, delivering the newspaper to your home. It helped me realize how important it was to preserve the tradition of the printed word and how it was still so important to people in our community.
Despite some of the most challenging roadblocks, I persisted. I invested everything. My time, my money, and at times, my sanity! My team was by my side.
Through the years, North Forty News’ circulation doubled many times. Thousands more people were reading us every week.
Increased support came through advertising, subscriptions, and overall awareness.
I reinvested everything back into North Forty News.
My team and I wrote and published thousands of stories.
That brings us to today. North Forty News is more robust and bigger than ever. But it has a long way to go.
Today, the team that brings you North Forty News works tirelessly, consistently meeting the challenges we face, trying to keep a local publication going.
It will take a financial investment to bring North Forty News into its new chapter. My plans are big. So big that it has strapped me severely this past few weeks while I’m preparing to make the most significant financial investment into this organization I have ever made.
I have reached out to family, our readers, and advertisers. I have sold cars and put together literally every penny. I have continued my diet of Ramen — I chose not to take a paycheck again.
Why have I done this today and for so many years now? Because I believe in it. It’s not about the initial profit. Hopefully, someday that will come.
I do this because saving Northern Colorado’s only regional weekly is NECESSARY. It needs to grow so it will stay here for generations.
I do this for the sake of local Journalism and its importance for our area as a whole.
The hundreds of people who have helped North Forty News grow over the past five years will never go unnoticed. I have published many names in the newspaper’s masthead every week, and I have tried to give them the recognition and pay they deserve. I give thanks to them.
North Forty News today survives because of what others have given. It gives back to Northern Colorado communities by giving them a locally-owned voice.
The value of supporting North Forty News through advertising or subscribing comes back in what we publish.
For our organizational partners, we give them results from our strong base of readers. They give and get.
For our subscribers, we give them the value of being informed, which can (and has) led to personal financial gain in many cases. They give and get.
So, please join me. Support North Forty News with what you can. This organization is returning results every single day! Read on — how you can show your support and give North Forty News as a gift through our special promotion.
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