Regular readers found out in a Sept. 15 column that the Pikes Peak Bulletin was heading into transition, as has happened to many local papers — large and small — across the country in recent years.

For the Bulletin, that period of change and uncertainty started with the scheduled Nov. 1 departure of John Weiss as owner and publisher. After nearly three decades in the newspaper business, most notably as founder/owner of the Colorado Springs Independent, Weiss has decided to pursue new paths in life.

His newspaper holdings, including the Pikes Peak Bulletin, are becoming a new nonprofit entity, to be known as Sixty35 Media. As he steps away, Weiss has made a generous financial commitment to help the company through the changes. But he won’t be involved anymore, other than as an ex officio, non-voting member of the nonprofit’s board.

Most folks in Manitou never have realized how much they should appreciate John Weiss for making sure the Bulletin has made it through the past eight years, especially the coronavirus-caused hard times. Closing the Bulletin was never a serious option, and it still isn’t.

At some point, perhaps the next Manni Awards, our city can properly recognize Weiss, a longtime Manitou resident and homeowner. But first, we have to address the matter at hand — preserving your newspaper.

That mid-September column offered several options and asked for responses from anyone wanting to help. At least a dozen people have reached out, all sharing the fervent desire to assist in saving the Bulletin in some form. Some also are willing to help financially, but not enough as a group to bankroll the paper going forward.

So here’s the plan. The Bulletin will join the Independent and the Colorado Springs Business Journal in that new nonprofit, which soon thereafter will announce its plans for 2023. Weekly editions of the Bulletin will continue into early January, when more changes will become reality.

(Full disclosure: I’ll be a Sixty35 Media board member.)

Our next step will be planning a community open house 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Bulletin’s office on the second floor of the Manitou Art Center’s building at 515 Manitou Ave. Anyone will be welcome to stop by, help celebrate the long history of newspapers in Manitou Springs and learn more about what’s coming next.

We are ready to announce this: You can be part of it. We’ll be asking everyone, but especially residents of Manitou and the surrounding area, to become members and help us create a sustainable revenue stream.

Memberships, to be set up at several price levels, will include a subscription as well as other benefits to be revealed shortly. We know that many in Manitou also are loyal readers of the Colorado Springs Indy, so rest assured your membership will include that as well.

We’ll also have community involvement, with a local committee (mainly including those who already have expressed interest) to provide input and ideas for the nonprofit board.

Our goal is this: We want to ensure Manitou Springs continues to have a newspaper that is a trusted, valuable community asset — still covering local government, schools, businesses, sports and arts/entertainment, with a presence in print as well as online. We also want that product to appeal more than ever to advertisers and sponsors, with fresh ideas for how to make that happen.

But we can’t do it alone. No longer will we have an owner willing to cover any shortfalls and guarantee our long-term existence.

This will have to be an innovative community effort. And it’s clear that we have a strong consensus of people willing to join and participate in some way, actively and/or as paying members.

Trust me, the reward will be worth it.

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