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| Tanya Ishikawa | News

Ouray County Plaindealer named RACC July 2022 Member of the Month

The Ouray County Plaindealer is being recognized as Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce Member of the Month in July. The Member of the Month program is an ongoing effort by the chamber to provide the community and visitors with information about businesses and organizations in the area and promote patronage of local resources and small, independent companies and nonprofits.

Who are the owner and key staff of the business?

Erin McIntyre and Mike Wiggins are the owners and publishers of the newspaper. They are Colorado natives — Erin grew up near Fruita and Mike grew up in the Denver area. Prior to purchasing the Plaindealer, they worked as journalists in Grand Junction.

Kate Jones is the Plaindealer’s advertising sales representative. She moved to Ouray in 2018 and joined the Plaindealer staff in 2020.

Liz Teitz and Kylea Henseler are the Plaindealer’s two full-time reporters through the nonprofit Report for America program. Liz joined the staff in 2020, while Kylea joined in June 2022.

Carolina Brown has been a contributing writer for the Plaindealer since 2018.

Phillip and Kaitlyn Winkelmann make sure the paper gets delivered every week – they're the ones who pick up the papers at the press in Montrose and fill the local racks and get the papers to the post office for delivery.

We're proud that our entire team lives here in Ouray County and is invested in the community – as some other newspapers have absentee ownership and staffers. We couldn't make the weekly miracle happen and celebrate Plaindealer Day every Thursday without all of them!

Why did you decide to take over operation of the Ouray County Plaindealer?

We purchased the Plaindealer in 2019 after long careers at The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction. We had become concerned that ownership was increasingly placing a priority on profits over good journalism and viewing the newsroom as a financial liability rather than the bedrock that formed the foundation for the newspaper. We believe there is a bright future for community newspapers, and so rather than pursuing jobs at a larger newspaper or leaving journalism, we decided to strike out on our own and invest in the Plaindealer, which has been here since 1877.

What is your philosophy about producing news and stories for community newspapers?

We have said since the day we bought the Plaindealer that we believe even small places — and perhaps especially small places — deserve good journalism. We take seriously our job to hold those in power accountable, to ensure public officials and institutions are transparent, and to share a variety of information and stories: what local government is up to and how they’re spending taxpayer money, photos of local high school sports, features on new businesses and profiles of neighbors and local nonprofits. Our goal is to help connect and inform members of the community and give readers the information they need to participate in democracy here.

What has made you most proud since operating the Plaindealer?

We have worked hard to produce the highest quality newspaper we can each and every week. That has meant a full redesign of the printed newspaper and our website, ouraynews.com, to make them more attractive, contemporary and easier to read, and investing in new equipment needed to produce a high-quality newspaper. We have focused a lot of time and resources on watchdog journalism that has led to accountability for public officials and giving readers the information they need to make informed decisions. We have also doubled the size of our full-time staff through Report for America, which the community has helped finance through tax-deductible donations.

What are some recent changes or additions at the newspaper? 

We have boosted our reporting on two areas that have major implications for the community — affordable housing and local government. The difficulty for the average person to be able to rent or buy a place to live here touches almost everything in Ouray County. And there are a multitude of elected and appointed public bodies here, many of whose activities largely go unnoticed. It’s important the community knows the challenges those groups are tackling and how they’re spending public money.

How can the community support the newspaper? 

There are a variety of ways. Advertising remains the primary lifeblood of the Plaindealer, and we have thousands of dedicated, engaged readers that we can help local businesses, nonprofits and organizations reach. Subscriptions are vital as well — we mail the newspaper to subscribers in more than 40 states but most of our readership is here in Ouray County.

The community can also support the Plaindealer through a tax-deductible donation to Report for America, the nonprofit service program placing trained journalists in underserved communities. It’s through this program that we’ve been able to hire Liz and Kylea and do the kind of in-depth journalism normally found at much larger publications with far more resources. People can donate or get more information by emailing erin@ouraynews.com. We still need to raise half of Kylea's salary to support her work here in Ouray County, and 75% of Liz's salary – the Report for America grant helps fund the rest of their work.

What do you value from being a Ridgway Chamber member?

We believe strongly in the importance of supporting local businesses, and we value making connections with them. Our membership with the chamber allows us to do both.

Ouray County Plaindealer readers

To learn more about the Ouray County Plaindealer, go to the website at https://www.ouraynews.com/, call 970-325-4412, or visit their office at 1075 Sherman St., #210
Ridgway, Colorado 81432

For information about amenities and services in the Ridgway area, go to https://ridgwaycolorado.com/businesses/amenities-services.

Visitors Center & Ridgway Area Chamber

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The Ridgway Visitor Center, located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62), The current visitor center hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432

See you in Ridgway

Adventure, night life and all around easy living await you in Ridgway Colorado, gateway to the San Juan Mountains.

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