Community Pioneer is a digital and print news service for Shelley, Firth and the surrounding areas. Jeff Kelley and Mike Price launched the news service in November of 2020.
Jeff Kelley is a former Shelley City Councilman. After the Shelley Pioneer closed its doors in 2016, Jeff noticed the area had become an information vacuum. Locals didn’t have an easy way of finding out important city and county information. More importantly, Jeff was concerned about how the town seemed to drift apart. To remedy the problem, Jeff set out to bring back the old Shelley Pioneer under a new name and a broader scope.
He wanted the new news service to be fresh, with an online presence, but still have the same hometown feel of the Shelley Pioneer. He also wanted it to cover more than just Shelley. Just down the road, the people of Firth were in a similar predicament, not having a dedicated news source of their own. Jeff wanted to make sure Firth wasn’t overlooked. He decided the same for Basalt and Goshen.
Jeff had a problem. He didn’t have the industry knowledge or news experience needed to start a news service. That problem frustrated his efforts to bring a news outlet to upper Bingham County. Until he met Mike Price.
Mike Price spent most of his childhood in Shelley. He graduated from Shelley High School in 2009. In college, he studied political science and journalism and has spent the majority of his career in eastern Idaho. Over the years, the Idaho Press Club granted Mike multiple awards for his written and video work. In 2019, IRE, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting investigative reporters and editors, recognized Mike for his work on uncovering the massive amount of money in Idaho’s medical debt collection practices.
In the summer of 2020, Mike was searching for a new career opportunity, but in the age of covid even landing an interview was difficult. After months of searching, a friend mentioned that a local man, Jeff Kelley, wanted to bring back the Shelley Pioneer, but needed someone with the journalism know-how to help him get it off the ground.
The two met to discuss what could be done to create a local news service. After excitedly swapping ideas Mike and Jeff committed to a plan. Shortly after, they formed a partnership and began work on launching the Community Pioneer.