The San Juan Independent, a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, aims to elevate journalism in our mountain home. We believe that small towns have big stories but know that small papers don’t always have the resources to cover them deeply. So, in contrast to the traditional community news model, we’re backing away from the day-to-day ballgames and bellwethers to focus on the slower-moving scoops that span our region. The San Juans’ environment, economy and community are more complex than a glimpse of a local council meeting can capture and so, instead, we endeavor to produce rich accounts that analyze the full arc of an issue. We hold journalism to be a public service that fuels debate and democracy, and seek to give our public the best information possible.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we endeavor to find a broad diversity of sponsors and are deeply grateful that they support our unflinching pursuit of the truth in the public interest.  We operate with absolute editorial freedom and aspire to the public perception of entirely unbiased journalism.  Our reputation is our most important currency.

Pursuant to this mission, here is a list of our sponsors.

CG logoScreen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.03.20 PMGreen Room logoVII Photo Agency

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With many thanks to donations from:


Polly Parsons and Jim Jacobson


Section Editor

Michael and Irina Zivian


Star Writer

Mark Nager
Nick Sustana

Beat Reporter

Mike and Caprice Brochu
Joseph Harrington
John and Pam Lifton/Zoline
Joan May
Mike and Merry Mayer
Brad Mosell
Basit Mustafa
Richard Perry
Juanita Ramsey-Jevne
John Steel
Vivian Toan

Dear Reader

Karen Avery
James Bedford
Dudley Case
Michael Estwanik
Elsbeth Mode
Denise Murphy
Kath Shasha
Susette Warynick
Brian and Meghann Werner
Sheelagh Williams


Member of the Community

Maisy Cooper
Ann Dettmer
Mark Hauswald
Bonnie Hellman
Jeremy Hellman
Nancy Kerr
Amy Levek
Audrey Marnoy
Karen Risch
Tom Sanders
Jonathan Silverman
Stephanie Warner
John Wontrobski



Alec Jacobson | Director || 802-578-6339 Standard-025-1_small

Alec Jacobson has worked as a photographer around the world and was recently selected as a National Geographic Young Explorer.  Before moving to Telluride, he was the Editor in Chief of, building the site from a blog into an online culture magazine.  He graduated from Amherst College in 2012, where he studied Anthropology, French and Arabic.

Samantha Wright | Co-Editor

Samantha Tisdel Wright is a nationally recognized journalist and poet who has worked forsamanthatisdelwright_1396221942_26 a variety of publications on the Western Slope of Colorado, including, most recently, The Watch newspaper.

During her tenure at The Watch, she won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Breaking News from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on a double-fatality at the Revenue Mine near Ouray. She also won over a dozen awards from the Colorado Press Association as a reporter and editor at the Ouray County Plaindealer, and is a two-time runner-up for the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize.

Before settling into her career in journalism, Wright explored far-flung corners of the world ranging from the Silk Road to the Killing Fields to the crocodile-infested rivers of Queensland, Australia. She has pulled pints in a 500-year-old English pub, cast nets from a commercial fishing boat in Alaska, taught English in the People’s Republic of China, and worked as a firehouse dispatcher and science writer at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

Today, she writes and raises two red-headed children with her husband in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, dividing her time between Silverton and Ouray.

Contact Samantha Wright at, Tweet @iamsamwright or call 970/764-7438.

Allison Perry | Journalist

1924405_10100283162606816_7432296582257482727_nAllison Perry was born and raised in New York City and earned a BA in Political Science from The University Of Wisconsin – Madison and a JD at Case Western Reserve University School Of Law before moving to Alaska with the hopes of becoming the next Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Although she went so far as to pass the Bar Exam in Sarah Palin’s playground, she became disillusioned with law and decided to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist and a photographer. She moved to Colorado in 2010 and after a few years ski-bumming and retailing, she was finally able to transform her freelance writing into a full time career at The Watch. Allison believes local journalism is an essential part of living in a small town, and strives to write objectively, in plain English, with a critical eye and a dash of sarcasm here and there. She is stoked to be a part of the San Juan Independent.




  1. Jennifer Thurston

    It’s great to see you back together and in the news. Thanks for starting up an independent news source to cover our area. I’m wishing you success.

  2. Jim Johnson

    Congratulations. This is great. Lots of luck to grow and prosper.

  3. Averill Doering

    Thank you for creating the Independent – a vital news source for the western slope!

    Covering stories that matter, you’ll help inform our community as we shape a vibrant regional future.

  4. Leigh Robertson

    Comments due April 3

    Dear Editor,

    I was shocked when I attended the recent Colorado Parks & Wildlife Strategic Plan meeting in Montrose. People attending chose what issues were important to them, then voted on their top three picks. Over 40 percent of the attendees thought trails were the most important consideration. Many of those attending were members of Off Highway Vehicle clubs. Only 9 percent chose wildlife as one of their top concerns.

    I certainly appreciate trails for hiking, skiing, and cycling and realize that some people need motorized trails. One of the attendees at the meeting, for example, had only one leg and shared that he might lose his other leg to diabetes soon. My concern is that the strong voice of OHV riders might give CPW the message that trails are more important than protecting wildlife and undisturbed wild lands.

    Sheep Mountain Alliance strongly encourages people to share their concerns with CPW. They’re looking for people’s thoughts on the future of Colorado’s state parks system, wildlife populations and opportunities for outdoor recreation, education and stewardship. Comments are due by April 3. More information and comment forms can be found at .

    Some of Sheep Mountain’s top concerns include:
    • maintaining undisturbed habitat for all species of Colorado wildlife
    • protecting and preserving wildlife corridors and connecting habitats, so species can move freely and safely
    • planning carefully to minimize fragmentation of habitat by clustering trails and other developments
    • providing opportunities for non-consumptive recreation, such as hiking and wildlife photography
    • making an effort to reach underserved and diverse audiences to foster stewardship
    • managing wildlife and habitats to strive for thriving populations of all species of native wildlife.

    Please consider using the ideas listed above and any others you may have to send a strong message to CPW to preserve the pristine natural environment of southwestern Colorado.

    Leigh Robertson, Executive Director
    Sheep Mountain Alliance

  5. Jim Bedford

    We are starved for more good writing about local issues. Please.

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