Grandbois takes editorial helm at Sopris Sun
Will Grandbois, Post Independent arts and entertainment editor and former crime, courts, education and Carbondale reporter, is returning to his hometown newspaper to take the helm as editor.
“Will has been part of the Sopris Sun most of his life,” said Barbara Dills, board president of the Carbondale community paper.
“And his experience writing for us, serving on the board and setting up the initial website played into him moving to the Post Independent.”
Grandbois’ experience with the Sun, his lifelong tie to Carbondale, his great passion and involvement in the community and the fine job he’s done at the Post Independent make him right for this critical position, said Dills. “We felt he would be the perfect person to welcome to that position.”
Grandbois is slated to start Jan. 1.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to occupy a position previously held by so many talented journalists,” said Grandbois, who started work at the PI in February 2014. “I hope I can live up to their legacy.
“Folks shouldn’t anticipate any rapid shifts in content,” he added. “I consider introducing the community to itself to be a major role for a small-town weekly, and I plan to do as much of that as possible.”
PI Publisher/Editor Randy Essex praised Grandbois.
“Will really cares about his hometown and cares about people,” Essex said. “He’s got a keen eye and voice for storytelling, and I look forward to reading his work in the Sun.
“We’ll miss him. He not only did solid journalism for us, but brought intellect and spirit to the workplace. He was the guy who kept a birthday calendar and brought treats, and the guy who would suggest a feature on the geology of Glenwood Canyon. He also was our unofficial senior pie correspondent and science writer — such is his range of interests.”
This is the second recent turnover of leadership at a Carbondale media nonprofit, as KDNK radio’s board recently fired its longtime station manager, Steve Skinner, and is currently searching for his replacement.
Concerning the board’s decision to remove Lynn Burton as editor, Dills would say only that the board decided it was time for a change.
The Sun board hopes to keep Burton on part time at least for the first half of 2017, said Dills.
“We’re hoping to get more stories from him since he won’t be carrying the load of putting the paper together every week,” she said.
KDNK is facing financial uncertainty, dipping into its reserves this year at a level that alarmed its board.
The Sun works with a small but solid budget. It’s most recent Form 990, the Internal Revenue Service financial disclosure report required of nonprofits, shows $227,000 in revenue for 2015.
The Sopris Sun has recently gone back and forth with the IRS over its nonprofit status, with the agency temporarily suspending the organization’s nonprofit status over failure to file regular 990s. Initially the paper was operated under the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. in order to get a quick start after the Valley Journal ceased operations, said Dills.
But recently the Sun struck out on its own and formed an independent 501(c)(3).
A hiccup along the way led to the Sun’s nonprofit status being revoked when the IRS saw that the Sun had not been filing 990s.
But Dills said this was a glitch on the IRS’s part in not seeing that the Sun had been operating under another nonprofit and therefore didn’t need to file its own forms.
During that time there hasn’t been a break in donations to the Sun being tax deductible, she said.
The paper’s board is also looking to expand and is speaking to a number of prospective board members to get a variety of voices and skill sets, said Dills. Colin Laird, also the Third Street Center director and the last of the founding board members, is expected to depart soon. While the board currently has seven members, it has grown and shrunk over the years based on board members’ availability, said the board president.