We’ve called Front Porch “The paper that’s on your coffee table, not in the recycling bin.” It’s what readers have told us. For the past 22 years we’ve strived every month to make the paper visually appealing and filled with local stories that readers would think about, and hopefully talk to neighbors about, contributing to a better informed and more connected community. We’ve hoped providing a free online and print platform for events each month would both support local organizations and bring neighbors together. And for the businesses that have made the paper possible and put their trust in us, our goal has been to bring the eyes of the community to their messages. Not all advertising is welcomed into people’s lives, but readers tell us they look at Front Porch ads as local business news.
A successful community paper is a partnership between three active participants: the paper, local businesses, and readers. We’re honored to have been Front Porch publishers in that partnership for all these years.
How did we end up here? After Forest City was selected as master developer of the old airport, they and their communications firm (CRL Associates) decided to start a newspaper to keep neighborhoods in NE Denver informed about the big public/private partnership the City had engaged in to redevelop the airport land. We, Steve and Carol, had produced other publications for CRL, and they asked us to produce this one. Initially Forest City provided the content and we provided photography, layout and production. But in 2005, as new businesses were requesting ads, Forest City turned the paper over to us to publish it independently—and let their staff focus on selling homes. Now, twenty-two years after the paper started, our smart and energetic staff will carry the paper forward as we retire.
Front Porch arrived at a time when Steve, with his deep commitment to journalism, was ready to throw his energy into a new venture. With his background as head of photography and graphics departments at a national news magazine and The Denver Post, he has focused on the idea that many community issues are also national issues playing out at a local level—and our job, as a monthly paper, is to help our readers reflect on these issues and understand, “Why is this happening?” Carol, with a background in desktop publishing (writing, editing, layout, production), focused on the implementation of those ideas so that when the printer’s deadline came each month, we had a paper ready to go.
In every community, when plans for schools, parks, residences and business developments arise, change, or are delayed, residents’ lives are impacted. In a new community being built from the ground, questions and concerns about those issues seemed to arise every day. In meetings about upcoming development, we reported on residents’ concerns before any of those things actually existed—and we wrote about the issues that arose in all those areas after projects were built. For those interested in a look back over the past 22 years, our website, FrontPorchNE.com, posts PDFs of every issue since the first one in April 2000 [under the News link or CLICK HERE].
We still hear, “I read everything else digitally, but I like reading Front Porch in print.” Surveys show that’s true in many communities, though sadly, lots of local papers have ceased to exist. According to a Nov. 21, 2021 article in The Washington Post, 2,200 local newspapers across the country have closed since 2005. The Master Community Association in Central Park told us that respondees in a recent survey said Front Porch is their primary source of community information—striking in such a digitally connected community. To keep Front Porch in NE Denver, we’ve donated the business to a local non-profit that will be announced on our website and Facebook Page on Feb. 8; that organization will be the publisher starting with the March issue. We are confident that going forward, Front Porch will successfully navigate the challenges community papers are facing.
As we join readers in looking forward to the arrival of Front Porch each month, we are also looking forward to more time with friends and family in Denver, long overdue summer camping trips and road trips in the Southwest, and enjoying warm weather and outdoor activities in Isla Mujeres, Mexico during winter months.
Wow! This is the end of an era! Carol and Steve, you created a local paper of great quality. Thank you for all you did for the community!