Commentary

Welcome to the Idaho Capital Sun — the Gem State’s newest nonprofit journalism outlet

Idaho becomes 21st state to join States Newsroom organization

March 31, 2021 5:00 am

Portrait of Idaho Capital Sun staff in Boise on March 23, 2021. L-R: Clark Corbin, Christina Lords, Kelcie Moseley-Morris, Audrey Dutton (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

I’ve spent the majority of the last year working from home on a tiny wooden kitchen table, peering out at my view of the looming Boise Foothills, thinking about Idaho.

Thinking about how our public officials have responded — and, in many ways, refused to respond — to keeping Idahoans safe during COVID-19 pandemic.

About how we continue to grapple with our painful history of white supremacy and how the Aryan Nations movement we smugly thought we eradicated in the 1990s is rearing its ugly head again.

About how we continually rank 51st in the nation for per-pupil spending despite the Idaho Constitution calling for a uniform and thorough system of public schools because, as it notes, the stability of a republican form of government depends “mainly on the intelligence of the people.”

About state legislators introducing legislation that would prohibit students from learning about racism or sexism at a time when hate crimes, including the yearlong uptick of beatings and harassment against our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors, are at their highest levels in the U.S. in a decade.

About how tax policy set by lawmakers continues to subtly shift our revenue burdens from commercial property owners to individual homeowners with little promise of relief.

We have a lot of work to do. A lot of common ground to find. And we have a journalism industry that continues to be decimated by traditional revenue models, leading to less reporters covering public meetings and our political landscape.

That’s why I’m announcing the launch of the Idaho Capital Sun. We’re a small — but mighty — team of experienced Idaho journalists interested in diving into these issues and more as Idaho’s newest nonprofit online journalism outlet. We’re a part of our parent organization, States Newsroom, which has outlets in 20 other states, including our neighbors Montana and Nevada.

Our aim is to bring data, context and analysis to some of the most undercovered state politics and capital city issues.

We’ll cover the state Legislature, sure. But we’ll also be diving into things like health care and access to mental health care, complicated tax and state policy that has led to school districts running more bonds and levies, statewide elections and campaign finance, Idaho’s exploding population and our growing housing affordability crisis in the Treasure Valley and beyond.

Who we are at the Idaho Capital Sun

At some point throughout my 15 years as an Idaho journalist, I’ve worked side by side with the Idaho Capital Sun’s three veteran reporters: Clark Corbin, Kelcie Moseley-Morris and Audrey Dutton.

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Reporter Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun, he covered every Idaho legislative session from 2011-2020 gavel-to-gavel, first for the Idaho Falls Post Register and most recently with Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state. Prior to moving to Idaho, he worked for a family of small weekly newspapers covering the Kansas City area, where he was born and raised.

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass media from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press. She’s covered city and county government, crime and courts, education, and the Idaho Legislature. She has received awards from the Idaho Press Club for her reporting on the aftermath of a $4.5 million budget shortfall at Nampa School District, as well as her reporting on campaign finance.

Senior reporter Audrey Dutton joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton’s work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, radio journalism, data visualization and much more. Her resume also includes fellowships from the Association of Health Care Journalists, Idaho Press Club, Idaho Media Initiative and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

I have worked at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the Post Register and the Idaho Press and most recently served as the editor of the Idaho Statesman, largely focused on local and state politics reporting throughout my career. I’m a proud recipient of 14 journalism awards, as well as the University of Idaho’s inaugural Brave and Bold Award and the Tribute to Women in Industry Award from the Women’s and Children’s Alliance.

I asked these talented reporters to join me on this journey because while the public has read their dedicated and fair reporting for years, you may not be as aware of something else: just how much they personally care about Idaho and its communities.

It was important to me to hire journalists who have collectively spent decades working in newsrooms all over the state.

Getting started and how you can connect with us

We can’t wait to put down our roots with office space in Downtown Boise and become a part of your morning routine with our free email newsletter, the Sunrise.

Like our friends who set a great example at Idaho Education News, we’ll offer our content to any other media outlet in the state to run for free with attribution. After personally working in small Idaho newsrooms scrambling to cover all that is expected of us, it’s my hope this will mean more Idahoans have access to more accountability journalism.

We’ll also feature an array of guest columnists to offer their take on the news of the day. Our aim is to elevate diverse voices who may not always have strong representation within the media. If you have suggestions on who might make a great contributor, email me at [email protected]

But we can’t do this alone. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on donations and grants to fund our reporting, our legal battles over access to public records and expanding our staff. You won’t see any advertisements, paywalls or traditional subscriptions for our site — just deep, investigative journalism.

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

I hope you’ll consider a contribution if you find value in our work.

Idaho has a long history of a robust, investigative press corps. It’s my hope our work will continue that tradition for years to come.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Christina Lords
Christina Lords

Christina Lords is the editor-in-chief of the Idaho Capital Sun and has been a professional journalist covering local and state government since graduating from the University of Idaho in 2009. A Pocatello native, Lords is a fifth-generation Idahoan who served as a reporter at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and the Post Register in Idaho Falls and served as assistant editor for the Idaho Press in Nampa. She also led the Idaho Statesman in Boise for two years before turning to nonprofit journalism.

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