Regan Foster

Starting in February, Southeast Colorado Springs will have a new voice. It’s called the Southeast Express, and Regan Foster will serve as its founding editor and general manager.

In September, Foster left a long-term job as an editor at The Pueblo Chieftain for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a nonprofit, community-focused newspaper. Veteran local newsman and Business Journal owner John Weiss conceived of the Southeast Express because he saw a real need to provide accurate, timely news to a diverse, vibrant and economically redeveloping community of more than 80,000 people.

A few years ago, Weiss met with State Rep. Tony Exum and Sen. Pete Lee to learn more about their multi-million-dollar Transforming Safety initiative, born out of a bipartisan state legislative effort. He was reminded that Southeast Colorado Springs doesn’t always get its due when it comes to fresh food, parks, medical care, schools, roads, transportation and/or redevelopment initiatives. What he (accurately) suspected: It also didn’t have a reliable source of the news and information that could lead citizens to engage in the area and make educated choices.

Southeast Springs qualifies as a news desert, meaning it’s “a community … with limited access to the sort of credible and comprehensive news and information that feeds democracy at the grassroots level,” according to the University of North Carolina’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media.

To be clear, the Southeast does get some news coverage — almost all of which is superficial — quick stories about crime, poverty, drugs and/or gang activity. But we all know there’s a lot more to the Southeast than that.

The area holds unbelievable musical and artistic talent. There’s a slew of fabulous programs committed to kids — be those offerings academic, athletic or altruistic. There’s a growing interest in entrepreneurship and a wide range of programs dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground. And the neighborhood schools provide extraordinary educational opportunities.

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But as Exum told Foster, the Southeast Express shouldn’t just be “all wine and roses.” It will also take a hard look at the social issues facing the community — topics such as high drop-out rates, transportation problems, the lack of civic engagement as evidenced by low voter turnout in local elections and the need for more community development and renewal. And it will do so with an eye toward solutions.

The Southeast has a palpable energy. It’s the thrum of a community on the verge of reinventing itself, of a community that wants to take control of its own destiny and rewrite its narrative. So that’s why the Southeast Express is here.

It will be the community’s communications conduit, its partner, its hub. It aims to be the Southeast’s one-stop destination for all the news, business, entrepreneurship, education, entertainment, culture, sports, faith, food and community-engagement information it needs. It’ll help connect customers and businesses, volunteers and nonprofits, employers and career candidates.

And the Southeast Express will be free, via the postal service. The newspaper will hit 30,000 mailboxes every other month, but as soon as possible, it will publish monthly — and then, knock on wood, weekly. The paper will also grow its digital presence. You can follow it on both Twitter and Facebook, or check out its vibrant
website at SoutheastExpress.org.

We believe every community deserves a strong, dedicated local news presence, to tell its stories and reflect its culture. Foster is honored to take up the mission, and the Colorado Springs Business Journal wishes her and the Southeast Express the best for an exciting launch and fruitful future.

Contact Southeast Express Editor Regan Foster at 719-578-2802 or regan.foster@southeastexpress.org.