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May Sun shine on state politics

| April 2, 2021 1:00 AM

A ray of hope is peeking up over the political horizon.

The reason behind this brightening optimism? A new source of information called the Idaho Capital Sun.

The Idaho Capital Sun launched Wednesday as a digital news organization dedicated to reporting on state government. It’s a nonprofit, meaning readers will have free access to its news, and there will be no ads. Check it out at idahocapitalsun.com.

Here’s what they say about themselves and their mission:

“As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho in 2021. We’ll provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more.

“Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state.”

To the degree the organization is able to deliver those goods, the state and its citizens will benefit. Particularly for newspapers based so far from Boise, extensive coverage from the capital is exceedingly challenging. The Press hears often from readers that they want more statewide political coverage, and it’s our hope that Idaho Capital Sun helps satisfy that hunger.

We further hope the organization does not fall into the trap of many “news” organizations that do far more opinionating than they do reporting. Yes, there’s definitely a need for analysis. Opinions from experts and people-on-the-street are always welcome.

But too many media members now engorge themselves on the riches that come from pandering to partisanship, rather than attempting to impart accurate information to those seeking deeper understanding of complex issues and not just reassurance that what they believe must be right.

Time will tell, of course. Funding news organizations as nonprofits is a relatively new model, without enough track record to see if it’s sustainable. Idaho Capital News says it's affiliated with national nonprofit States Newsroom and is supported by grants and by a coalition of donors and readers. ICN also says it has full editorial independence.

The nonprofit model has been successfully employed by the likes of Idaho Ed News (idednews.org), which has attracted and retained excellent journalists dedicated to their craft.

If Idaho Capital News does as good a job with state politics as Idaho Ed News does with state education, the Gem State as a whole will benefit. The Press wishes Idaho Capital News the very best at a time when reliable news has never been more needed.