A hearty hello from the new guy

Column by Mark Harden, editor
Posted 4/28/20

Since you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you what an important role this newspaper plays in keeping our communities informed. That’s why I couldn’t be prouder to be stepping in as …

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A hearty hello from the new guy

Posted

Since you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you what an important role this newspaper plays in keeping our communities informed.

That’s why I couldn’t be prouder to be stepping in as editor of Colorado Community Media.

This locally owned family of 18 weekly newspapers and websites (including this one), plus two monthly Denver neighborhood publications, serves Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson counties. CCM’s dedicated news team includes some of the most talented journalists working in Colorado today, watchdogging local governments and school districts, spotlighting businesses and community groups, and portraying the character and color of life in our cities and towns.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CCM newspapers have performed a crucial service in keeping readers abreast of its impact in the communities they serve and how this global catastrophe affects lives, families, schools and businesses, proving the value of locally focused reporting. Like many of our readers, CCM reporters and editors have been working from home during the crisis, in some cases covering their beats while looking after their kids. I salute their commitment to telling these crucial stories under trying circumstances.

CCM journalists also compellingly conveyed the pain and anguish of the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting last May, delivering award-winning coverage of this close-to-home tragedy. And in 2018, our staff teamed up to present “Time to Talk,” a powerful series probing the challenges of mental health and how to spur discussion of the issue into everyday life.

Through it all, CCM has stayed true to its main goal: Keep it local. We are inundated with news and commentary about national and international developments, and the city of Denver is the focus of much coverage by its daily newspaper, TV stations and online outlets. Where CCM fills a vital role is in keeping the spotlight on the many distinctive metro-Denver communities where hundreds of thousands of people live, work and go to school, telling stories in ways that no one else does.

I come to this position after years as an editor and reporter at The Denver Post, Denver Business Journal and Colorado Politics magazine. I’m a 27-year resident of metro Denver who’s lived in Centennial since 1998, sending two kids through Cherry Creek schools. And I was reared in community journalism; when I was a boy I would hang out after school at the twice-weekly South San Francisco Enterprise-Journal, where my mother, Ellen Harden, was a proofreader.

I’m grateful to CCM owners Jerry and Ann Healey for entrusting me with this position. And I want to give a shout-out to my predecessor, Chris Rotar, who has led this staff with exceptional skill and passion for many years and has been patiently helping me get up to speed at CCM. He will be a tough act to follow, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.

I look forward to hearing from and meeting many of you in the days to come. For those of you in the west and north metro areas, our regional editors Glenn Wallace and Scott Taylor are still on the job, overseeing our papers there, so please stay in contact with them. Glenn also serves as CCM’s lead online editor.

Thank you for reading us, supporting us, subscribing to us and advertising with us. In an era when news organizations big and small face extraordinary challenges that threaten their ability to bring you the truth — challenges greatly aggravated by the health crisis our world is now going through and its economic impact — we need the support of people like you more than ever. News is not cheap, and our ability to keep bringing it to you depends on community support.

So allow me to say hello, and to wish you, your family and your friends good health. I’m looking forward to working with our stellar team to bring you the news and information you need in the days ahead.

Mark Harden can be reached at mharden@coloradocommunitymedia.com and on Twitter at @MarkHardenCCM.

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