Massive Denver Post cuts put coverage at risk

The Denver Post continues to downsize. According to the latest staff cut announcement, 30 newsroom jobs will be trimmed from the current 90 positions. Once staffed by as many as 220 newsroom personnel, the latest cuts are going to further diminish the paper’s ability to conduct investigative reporting, will limit sports coverage – especially at the prep and collegiate levels and provide us with less of an understanding of what is going on in Denver and the region. The ever growing metropolitan area of Denver with nearly three million people and a city budget of $1.4 billion dollars will have fewer checks and balances in place. And, in our view, that is not a good thing.

Digital First Media owns The Denver Post and has been taking chunks out of the staff and budget for quite some time. They in turn are owned by Alden Global Capital, a New York-based hedge fund specializing in distressed properties. Alden has announced plans since 2014 to sell the Denver Post and other media properties without success. Many locals have hoped for a local buyer such as Philip Anshutz to come to the rescue and save the faltering paper but no white knight has come to the rescue of the Post.  

The cutbacks at the newspaper are “a shame for civic discourse” in Denver at a time when neighborhoods are quickly changing and many newcomers are arriving, said Denver City Councilman Kevin Flynn to the Denver Business Journal. And local social media seems to be supporting Councilman Flynn’s comments.

A local company, Adrian & Company,  reached out to buy a free round of beer for The Denver Post workers following the announcement this week –  but this gesture is hardly the helping hand they need for the long term.

This is, no doubt, a turbulent time for newspapers and their digital presence. And, of course, many want to politicize the event or accept this change as a part of the ‘ever changing landscape’. But the reality is that we all benefit, especially when it comes to sports reporting, from a strong, local news voice. And, much of our content in stories, subject matter on Twitter and ideas for stories come from The Denver Post.

Over time, we have developed great personal relationships with Denver Post reporters, especially Mike Chambers, and see the value they bring to the University of Denver, the city and the region. Hopefully, a local or regional buyer can be found to rescue The Denver Post and stabilize their presence again. At minimum, if it was locally owned and managed, we would feel much more confident that all avenues were explored before major cuts were made at The Denver Post.