Denver Post woes will get to this side of the Divide
When you are in it, sometimes you miss how bad it is. I think it’s that “forest through the trees” thing.
I was in the forest for a long while, spending nearly 17 years in the once-dynamic Denver Post newsroom. I have been asked a lot recently what my take is on the happenings there, and the first thing I continue to remind people is there are quality journalists who still work there, but there are a lot walking out the door.
It’s not about the newsroom; it’s about what is happening to the newsroom.
You’ve likely heard most of it, so I’ll keep it in a nutshell: Once The Denver Post came under the managing control of Alden Global Capital in 2010, cuts started to happen solely for the reason of maintaining a near 20 percent profit each year. After a few years of selling off things, about all that was left was payroll, so staff started to get cut and cut and cut. And it hasn’t stopped, all in the name of a double-digit profit.
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There is an image that’s been going around of the photo from the day the Post won the Pulitzer for coverage of the Aurora theater shooting, and I am one of those silhouette figures (right side, second row).
It is surreal to see the fight being reported on the national stage, from The New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Time and now even Rolling Stone, which let Chuck Plunkett explain the full detail of what went down last week that led to the resignation of his dream job. His situation, resigning after an editorial again critical of Alden this time was killed by Digital First Media leaders, led three other top-level editors to leave within the next 24 hours, as well as one-time owner and editorial board chairman Dean Singleton, who many in the mountains may know because of his connection to Craig and the Western Slope.
It may be over in Denver and it may be a Front Range problem, but it will slowly diminish coverage around the state since Digital First Media owns nearly a dozen publications in Colorado. Those smaller papers also are getting gutted to their core.
The Aspen Times and Swift Communications have a share agreement with The Denver Post, and that helps inform readers in Aspen and on this side of the Divide. You’ll see our stories on their website or in the print edition, but you’ll also see a Denver Post story on our site and in our paper that we think matters to our readers. Maybe it’s a larger look at the ski industry trend, an outdoors feature, sports feature or more in-depth coverage from the state capitol.
It’s happening over there, but it will hurt readers over here.
Perhaps the most telling quote so far out of the past few days was what Singleton told Westword on Monday about the New York-based hedge fund: “I don’t know that they understand how damaging they’ve been to the newspaper and how damaged the newspaper is in the local community.”
That community is all of Colorado.
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