For Pueblo

Rodriguez was suffering from the same financial distress as local newsroom leaders everywhere, compounded by the sudden crisis of the coronavirus. He started asking around for help. He applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and got $5,000 grants from Google and a city emergency fund, which kept the lights on for a while. Corey Hutchins—a journalism instructor at Colorado College and a contributor to CJR—sent some promising student reporters his way. By mid-April, however, Rodriguez had laid off his last full-time colleague and cut the Pulp’s print edition, publishing only online. “I feel like I’m rearranging the chairs on the Titanic,” he said.

Then a bold, if slightly desperate, idea came to him. In his brushes with the professional journalism crowd, he’d heard about an increasingly popular school of thought: if the press is a public service, it ought to be publicly funded. 

Photo courtesy of John Rodriguez

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