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:
- The Post’s newsroom lost more than a third of its employees since June of last year.
- Westword sources have confirmed that the paper’s profits in its most recent fiscal year are “north of $25 million.” Trimming costs in the news gathering operation is part of a strategy to maximize profits.
- Post managers have chosen to soak its core of loyal print readers, more than doubling subscription rates over what was available a year or two ago.
- The editor of the Post said the newsroom is divided fairly evenly among three areas of concentration: sports, breaking news and enterprise reporting. Features staff is gone.
- Anonymous staffers told Westword that there is a growing anxiety about management’s obsession with page views and clickbait over quality journalism.
The Post and other Media News Group properties are mostly for sale, but the hedge fund is making it difficult for buyers since there are still some profits to be squeezed out of the papers, Westword says. If that’s the case, it could be an even more difficult haul for the Post, not to mention a diminishing product for its loyal readers.