Linda Shapley. Photo (cc) 2021 by Dan Kennedy.

On the new episode of the “What Works” podcast, Ellen Clegg and I speak with Linda Shapley, the publisher of Colorado Community Media, who describes herself as a longtime denizen of the state’s media ecosystem. Indeed, she was at Colorado Politics and worked for 21 years for The Denver Post. “I’ve been a lieutenant for a lot of really great generals,” she once said. “This is my opportunity to be a general.”

CCM is a group of about two dozen weekly and monthly newspapers in the Denver suburbs. They were saved from chain ownership two years ago when they were purchased through a deal led by the National Trust for Local News. Last August we spoke with Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, the co-founder and CEO of the trust.

Shapley has talked about the power of representation as a visible Latina leader in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by white men. She says she hopes to use her position to encourage more diversity in journalism. Her mentor at the Post, Greg Moore, was a previous guest on What Works. You can listen to his episode here.

Shapley grew up in northeastern Colorado, in a rural county. Her father had a dairy farm. When I was in Colorado doing research for our book-in-progress, “What Works in Community News,” she told me that dairy farming is a lot like newspapers, because cows don’t know it’s Christmas.

Also this week, we talk with Madison Xagoraris, a graduate student in the Media Advocacy Program at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism. Xagoraris recently reported on KefiFM, a Boston-based Greek music outlet dedicated to serving the Greek and Greek American communities in the Boston area and throughout New England.

Ellen has a Quick Take about retired journalists who are busy launching startup newsrooms. Nieman Reports has a piece by Jon Marcus that looks at the Asheville Watchdog in North Carolina, and the New Bedford Light in Massachusetts. These journalists say they want to help bolster the profession they gave their lives to by setting up nonprofit community news sites and mentoring younger reporters and editors. They aren’t playing pickleball.

I’m in a Colorado state of mind: My Quick Take is on the fifth anniversary of the Denver Rebellion, when the staff of The Denver Post rose up against further newsroom cuts being imposed by its hedge-fund owner, Alden Global Capital. That rebellion sparked a revolution in Denver journalism.

You can listen to our conversation here and subscribe through your favorite podcast app.


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