Residents of the Five Points neighborhood have a new source of local news, delivered directly to their mailboxes starting this month: Five Points Atlas is Denver’s newest hyperlocal publication. Kwon Atlas, one of the three heads of the paper along with Benzel Jimmerson and Major Morgan, is entering the newspaper publication world for the first time. “I really wanted to be in the position to highlight some really great work that’s happening in Five Points,” explained Atlas. “It’s a very important neighborhood and a very important part of Denver’s history.”
Atlas hopes his paper can tell the story of the “rich history of African American music” in the area as well as highlight problems the community has faced such as redlining — the discrimination many people of color faced when banks wouldn’t issue loans in nonwhite communities. He’s also looking to the future and “helping community bounce back in the face of gentrification” and says he’s not interested in complaining about changes but working with a changing community go forward.
The paper is a labor of love for Atlas, who is keeping his day job. Atlas works in political communications, including advising Mayor Michael Hancock. For Atlas, politics is his day job though, and he said his paper is focused on community more than city government. The first issue highlights African American owned businesses, an effort to “buy back the block” to create a community center, and includes a community calendar and job postings. Atlas sees the paper’s role as “not just telling the story but doing the work.”
While the paper is delivered to communities geographically around Five Points, he hopes it can serve as a focal point for the greater African American community beyond the 80205 zip code.
Like many local newspapers, they plan to be funded by local advertisers and donations from the community, hoping the paper can stay both “free and frequent.” One thing he doesn’t want is a paywall that restricts content to only paying subscribers. “I think the paywall is part of the reason why people only read the headlines…they don’t get any more context or information.”
As far as the name of the paper, Atlas said “Atlas is a way to find things — map things out.” Asked whether he chose it because of his own last name, he laughed. “It happened to be a great word.”
Five Points Atlas is delivered to the greater Five Points area, just east of where the Denver North Star delivery ends. It’s also available online at https://www.fivepointsatlas.com/.
Note: The Denver North Star enthusiastically supports new local publications, especially in neighborhoods that don’t have a paper being delivered directly to residents. To that end, David Sabados has advised the Five Points Atlas team on starting a paper but he has no editorial or long term financial relationship with the publication.