Information is power.
That’s why the Colorado Springs Business Journal is standing behind its sister publication, the Colorado Springs Independent, and its 142,000 loyal weekly readers, who every week turn to the alt-weekly for free, timely and accurate news and arts and entertainment coverage.
Beginning Oct. 1, anyone who shops at a local Kroger grocery store may have to look elsewhere for free news.
For more than a quarter century, the Independent, an award-winning newsweekly, has been available at local King Soopers, City Markets, Safeway stores and nearly 900 other high-traffic locations around the Pikes Peak region.
It’s free on purpose so everyone — regardless of finances — has access to the information needed to make their own informed civic decisions.
That free source of information and the power it brings is at risk.
Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., the parent company of the region’s largest grocer, King Soopers, issued an edict banning free publications currently distributed at its 2,800 grocery stores in 35 states. That’s without considering the individual communities that might be affected. They apparently believe that their customers no longer want free papers.
They are wrong.
Every month, more than 17,000 locals pick up the Independent while shopping at King Soopers’ 14 area stores. The decision took our small, local media group, Colorado Publishing House, by surprise — and readers are sure to be dismayed as well.
When news is freely available, people make better choices; they’ll know more about government, taxes, businesses and the work done by local nonprofits. They’ll connect and participate with their community’s arts and entertainment scene. Without newspapers, studies show that there’s less government accountability and the cost of doing business rises due to a lack of oversight.
Local King Soopers employees say the only way their corporate decision-makers will allow free publications to remain is if they hear from enough customers asking them to keep them in their stores.
So we’re asking for your help. If you value picking up the free periodicals (including the Independent) along with your groceries, please let store managers know.
Tell them that the Indy provides much-needed information about local government; tell them the paper helps you stay engaged in the civic life of our community; explain that you rely on the arts and entertainment coverage to plan your weekend.
And remind them that the Independent and Colorado Publishing House support the community. Through the philanthropic Give! Campaign, the publishing house has helped local nonprofits raise more than $11 million during the past decade.
Tell local Kroger stores that you want in-depth, award-winning investigative reporting and superb food and music coverage.
Let your local King Soopers stores know that you appreciate access to a free, independent press — a rarity in today’s media landscape.
Thank you for making your voice heard and for believing in local journalism.
— Amy Gillentine Sweet, publisher
Note: A petition is online urging Ohio-based Kroger, which owns King Soopers, to keep the Independent in their Pikes Peaks Store.