Tag Archives: Denver Post

Denver Post, Chicago Sun-Times Issue Mayday for Journalism

Gil Rudawky at the Rocky Mountain News news desk on the final day of publication

Gil Rudawsky, a city editor at the Rocky Mountain News, is at the news desk on the final day of publication for the paper nearly 10 years ago. In this blog, he revisits the future of journalism.

Leading up to the closure of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009, the mantra among corporate executives engaged in cost cutting was for journalists to “Work harder, not smarter” or “Do more with less.” But by that time, with a newsroom basically cut in half, the reality was “Doing less with less, and charging customers more.”

Nearly 10 years later, the continued death by a thousand cuts across the journalism world have continued, and we are at a tipping point. On Monday, The Chicago Sun-Times left its front page blank in a plea for subscribers in an effort to “protect the long-term survival” of its newsroom.

The Denver Post made a similar plea earlier this month, after one-third of its staff were laid off, demanding that its owners sell the newspaper. Hard-working Daily Camera reporter Alex Burness tweeted this week: “The stories being told now about the Post could be told about all of these newsrooms, just on different scales. National media reporters would do well to check out what’s happened in Boulder, Canon City, Longmont, Loveland, Sterling, Julesburg, Lamar, Broomfield, Brush.”

What’s Next for Journalism?

There’s the non-profit model, or the pay-wall model for digital news or the billionaire-backed model, or any combination of all three. As the shakedown continues, people are more and more realizing what the world looks like without the print media. There are city council meetings that aren’t being covered, feature stories that define the fabric of communities that aren’t being shared and checks and balances on our democratic way of life that aren’t being made.

As we grapple with this change, I have become keenly aware that in most instances news coverage originates from the print media. And the news is a commodity and just like anything else of value, you have to pay for it. The biggest question now is whether our news-obsessed culture will realize this as well.

The Adams County Post

The Denver Post has confirmed that it is moving its reporters, editors and executive staff from its downtown offices to space in its Adams County printing facility. This is just the latest short-sighted decision that the out-of-state owners have foisted on the paper’s talented and hard-working reporters and editors.

Proximity and access are business necessities, a truism that applies both to reporters and public relations executives. Editors are famous for throwing reporters out of the newsroom so they can interact with the public to identify potential stories. And public relations executives should be engaging with their clients face-to-face whenever possible to keep those relationships strong.

Read more after the jump…

Reports: Denver Post Hedge Fund Owner Squeezing Profits

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

Media covering itself is always a challenge particularly among competitors. But alternative weekly Westword did a good job of detailing the changes and challenges facing The Denver Post in a long-form article this week. Also, this week 5280 magazine did a piece on the Post’s new normal.

The focus of the articles is on its hedge fund owner, and its track record of squeezing profits at the expense of a diminishing product. The Westwood piece chronicles the failed attempts by the newspaper and its owner, Media News Group, to reinvent itself in the changing media market. In case you don’t want to read the entire article on the Post, here are some highlights:

Read more after the jump…

Bar for news being lowered:
Tips for crisis communication response plans

Is the bar for what is considered “news” being lowered?

Members of the media will likely deny it, but with blogs and social media becoming more and more the go to source for news, the media, particularly the traditional media, may be letting some checks and balances slide.

Having spent the last 20 years in newsrooms, I’m realizing that getting the news out first is taking precedent over getting it right.

The editor of The Denver Post this weekend wrote a column admitting that his staff felt pressured to run a front page story about Denver’s mayor-elect allegedly being linked to a prostitution ring after a blog posted the allegations.

The Post was not able to make any public connections confirming the story, even after reviewing reams of phone records. Their only public proof was an allegation by a pimp convicted of tax evasion. The paper ran a supplemental front-page story several days later saying the claims were unfounded.

This is a good example of how the media landscape is changing and why crisis communicators are all too aware how one negative article, blog or tweet can snowball and poison a reputation that has taken years to build.

To counter some of these potential landmines, here’s a basic checklist to
enact if you’re faced with a crisis:

1. Involve the legal team early. Depending on the issue, any correspondence not covered under legal privilege may be used to hurt the company.

2. Prepare messaging for all of your audiences: media, internal,
customers, stakeholders, regulators, law enforcement, social media.

3. Determine how you are going to respond. Will you issue a statement
or provide interviews or documents?

4. Designate a primary spokesperson, and train them on dealing with
the media and with the messaging.

5. Vet all calls before responding. This will ensure you’re responding
to legitimate reporters from reputable outlets.

6. Assign a communications team member to monitor and to respond to
social media issues. Coverage cannot stop at 5 p.m.

7. Respond to legitimate media inquires immediately, even if you say
you cannot offer any substantial response. It helps build trust.

8. Depending on the size of the issue, consider creating a separate
website to address the situation. This will allow you to maintain your brand, while responding to issues.