It was heartbreaking to learn that the hedge fund Alden Global Capital is cutting almost one-third of the Denver Post’s newsroom staff, especially when put in historical context.
Just four months ago, Alden laid-off 12 Post employees, four from the newsroom -- and there have been similar layoffs and buyouts for years. In fact, as Mike Littwin writes, a decade ago there were over 400 newsroom employees between the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News and the Post. Now, there are just 70 or so in the Post’s gaunt newsroom.
Trying to put the brakes on our despair, we looked into the state of political coverage at the Statehouse. Believe it or not, it could be worse. While Capitol bureaus have shrunk and some political reporters’ cubbies are unclaimed, there is still a significant core providing a large quantity of political journalism.
Colorado is better off than many other states who have lost all or almost all of their Capitol reporters. We’ve lost on-site coverage from many papers from Durango to Fort Collins and the AP bureau is now down to one – but the sizable gang at Colorado Politics manages to fill much of that void. The Grand Junction Sentinel has kept their reporter for nine years; The Denver Business Journal and the Colorado Independent provide a diverse range of journalism, each with just one designated reporter on hand; and for the moment, the Post has a bureau of three. Denverite and Westword occasionally step up to cover legislative action, too.
Broadcast-wise, each Denver station has a least one Capitol reporter, and most have a team. Telemundo and Univision do yeoman’s work, especially when provided a Spanish speaker. When stretched thin, TV stations share a pool camera to cover rallies, press conferences, hearings and votes. Two on-site journalists provide stories for 2 different public radio networks, and KOA’s reporter might as well have a desk in the Capitol.
We’ll admit these are dark days for print journalism but appreciate the many reporters -- print, online, TV and radio -- who are still shining a light on Colorado politics. And allow us to remind you: it’s up to all of us to support local journalism, so please subscribe and pledge to your favorite outlets so they can continue to cover the stories that matter to our state and democracy.