Brave Denver Journalists Published An Editorial Aimed At The Owner Of Their Own Paper

"Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom."

In an attempt to save the newspaper they love, The Denver Post editorial board made the case for a change in ownership — in full view of the paper's current owners, Alden Global Capital. "Our marching orders are to cut a full 30 by the start of July," the editorial board revealed in an editorial published this weekend entitled "As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved."

The publication has dwindled from 250 strong in recent years to fewer than 100 today, the board wrote. To the publication's owner, New York City hedge fund Alden Global, the editorial board laid out a call for action.

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"Consider this editorial and this Sunday's Perspective offerings a plea to Alden – owner of Digital First Media, one of the largest newspaper chains in the country – to rethink its business strategy across all its newspaper holdings," the board stated.
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"Consider this also a signal to our community and civic leaders that they ought to demand better," the editorial continued. "Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom."

And it if weren't clear what the editorial board's overarching point was, the board then added, "If Alden isn't willing to do good journalism here, it should see The Post to owners who will."

Unfortunately, Denver is facing the same challenges many newsrooms across the country are seeing. Major cutbacks and a move to digital has been a sad footprint in American journalism for some time now. So it's not unexpected that the core of these publications –  editors and writers — are striking back in the best way they know how: the written word. 

What's remarkable is the way The Post's journalists decided to make their plea public, covering the front page of the weekend's Opinion section with pieces that argued that the award-winning newspaper was in need of rescue. While newsrooms often report on the activities of their corporate parents or even their own management teams, it's decidedly rare for company disputes to become the focus of full-page op-eds.

"A news organization like ours ought to be seen, especially by our owner, as a necessary public institution vital to the very maintenance of our grand democratic experiment," they wrote.

The Los Angeles Times was recently sold after years of hardship to L.A. biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, whose investment first, Nant Capital, paid $500 million for The Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Spanish-language Hoy Los Angeles and community newspapers.

"The sale will bring a return to local ownership and possibly some stability for a 136-year-old institution …," Los Angeles Times reporters Med James and James Rufus Koren wrote in February. "It caps a particularly stormy period for the newspaper, which has seen three editors in six months, its publisher placed on unpaid leave amid a sexual harassment investigation and a historic vote to unionize the newsroom."

Evidently, The Post's editorial board hopes that a similar acquisition by a community-minded investor could bring stability and resources to their newsroom, which the editorial argued is integral to the community it serves.

(H/T: The Denver Post)

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