When John Weiss bought the Business Journal in 2012, there was some worry, some consternation and a lot of phone calls about the future of the paper. Would there be marijuana ads? No. Would we suddenly take on a more liberal bent? No. Would the paper become a pale younger sister to the Indy? Also no.
Those of us who worked at the Business Journal and the Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group at the time (and yes, there are a handful still around) had some of those same, unfounded fears. But the Business Journal has flourished in the eight years that we’ve been under the same umbrella as the Indy. Our news coverage is better and our events sell out (or they did, at least, before the coronavirus).
Now the paper is seeing another, temporary shift. Starting this week, John is stepping away from daily operations at the company — across all the papers.
Instead, he will be working toward a major policy decision in Colorado Springs: a policy discussion to legalize recreational marijuana within the city limits. John feels that this campaign is needed now as Colorado Springs struggles to recover tax revenue lost in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
He won’t sit on the CSBJ editorial board, won’t weigh in on stories, won’t answer emails regarding news coverage. He’ll be completely out of the picture and have no input regarding our reporting of the recreational marijuana issue.
He still owns the paper, of course. He’ll still be involved in the business side of the CSBJ — poring over health insurance, building improvements, taxes and payroll.
We wanted to let our readers know about his involvement because we believe in being transparent and honest. His role in the policy discussions is his alone — not the Business Journal’s. We’re not going to window-dress our owner’s opinion and put it in the paper as ours. Our coverage will be balanced. We plan to cover all the sides of this issue and do it fairly. It’s what we owe our readers.
We’ll provide the same in-depth coverage to the recreational marijuana campaign as we do any ballot initiative, any question before city council or the county commissioners.
And we’ll go one step further. When there’s a story about the campaign or legalizing recreational marijuana, we’ll remind you that John’s involved in the campaign, but not the paper.
What we won’t do is take a stance on the campaign on our opinion pages. As our readers know, we do advocate for bills affecting business and initiatives at the local and state level. And we never endorse people, only ideas. And because this is a business issue, it’s one we will cover; but we won’t make recommendations to our readers. Our sister paper, the Indy, has supported legalizing recreational marijuana in the past, and it might continue to advocate for it on its opinion pages.
We want to know what you think as the discussion gets underway. Write Publisher Amy Sweet at email@example.com or Editor-in-Chief Bryan Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts on the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs, the city’s budget troubles or any other business issue on your mind.