It’s goodbye, again, and I have a favor to ask

Mark Harden leads a meeting of the Colorado Community Media news staff at CCM's Englewood newsroom.
Mark Harden leads a meeting of the Colorado Community Media news staff at CCM's Englewood newsroom.
John Leyba | Special to Colorado Community Media

I’m not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do when you retire. I hear that often it involves hikes and beers with friends and reading the great books and binge-watching Marvel movies. Those all sound rewarding. But I’m not sure that’s going to hold me for long.

So for now at least, I’m staying away from using the word “retire” in referring to what’s happening to me this week. I’ll just call it a transition from one state of being to another.

After Dec. 16, I am stepping down as editor of Colorado Community Media, the publisher of 24 weekly newspapers, of which this is one, across eight counties.

I’m a lucky guy to have been working full time for newspapers for almost all of the last 40 years. Every stop on my professional train ride has been fulfilling and, for the most part, big fun. And I feel like I’ve played a small role in a great endeavor serving a vital public need: Providing honest news and information.

Actually, I first exited this job last fall – I called it “semi-retiring” at the time — as I approached 65. I settled into freelance writing and reporting for various outlets along with contract editing for The Colorado Sun.

Then, early this year, The Sun became co-owner of Colorado Community Media as a partner in the Colorado News Conservancy. Not long after that, Larry Ryckman, editor and co-founder of The Sun, asked if I would step back in for a few months while the hunt was underway for a new CCM publisher and permanent editor.

I’m grateful to Larry for the chance to work once again with our talented and enthusiastic crew of journalists. I’m also thankful that our new owners hired Linda Shapley, my former Denver Post colleague, as our publisher. She has worked tirelessly to bolster our business and to steer our company toward quality journalism and community service.

And come January, my role as CCM editor will be filled by Lisa Schlichtman, a veteran Colorado editor and a resourceful newsroom leader. I wish her great success.

The talented Thelma Grimes, who has been helping us cover Douglas County communities, has already assumed my other role, as the regional editor overseeing our weekly newspapers in Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert counties, with help from copy editor Scott Gilbert. Thelma joins our regional editing team of Kristen Fiore (Jefferson and Clear Creek counties), Scott Taylor (Adams and Weld counties) and Christy Steadman (Denver). And former west metro editor Glenn Wallace has pivoted to manage our digital operations. Thanks to all of them for their efforts.

As you know, it’s been a tumultuous year amid the pandemic, with debates over masks, schools grappling with COVID-19 and race education, packed hospitals, contentious elections and businesses struggling to thrive again. Our reporters have shown dedication, creativity and courage in keeping you informed, in many cases covering stories that no one else is covering.

As I step away, I have a favor to ask. It’s expensive to bring you the news you need. So I’m hoping you will help CCM continue as an honest, independent, locally-focused information source with a contribution.

Consider it an investment in democracy.

Through an initiative called #newsCOneeds, in collaboration with the Colorado Media Project, if you contribute to CCM from now until Dec. 31, your money will be doubled, up to $1,000, for a total of $5,000 in matching funds.

For information on how to support us, go online to, or call 303-566-4100.

If you’re a business, you can help underwrite our community journalism by advertising. Visit for information. If you’re a reader, please patronize businesses that advertise in this newspaper and thank them for their support.

CCM is headed to a bright future under Linda and Lisa’s leadership and with ownership committed to the best in community news. I will be watching closely from the sidelines and cheering on CCM’s successes. And I will be unfolding my hometown Centennial Citizen each week and clicking on to keep current.

It’s been a pleasure helping to bring you news. Thank you for reading, now and always. I wish you joyful holidays and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

After Dec. 16, reach Mark at ­ On ­Twitter: @MarkHardenNews

Mark Harden, Colorado Sun, Thelma Grimes, #newsCOneeds


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