Readers weigh in on Denver Post’s staff cuts and ownership

Readers weigh in on Denver Post’s staff cuts and ownership (25 letters)
The Denver Post's April 8 Sunday opinion section included an editorial and nine op-eds on the topic of the newspaper's staff cuts and its ownership.
The Denver Post

The Denver Post’s April 8 Sunday opinion section included an editorial and nine op-eds on the topic of the newspaper’s staff cuts and its ownership.

Re: “As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved,” April 6 editorial.

I applaud the blunt, true and courageous editorial about the impending death of The Denver Post at the hands of a malevolent owner. I have watched a remarkable newspaper gleefully disemboweled in the dozen years since I came to Denver. The greedy evisceration is straight out of “Game of Thrones,” with Alden Global Capital too happy to visit its own red wedding on the Mountain West. I sympathize with the remaining editorial staff, their numbers down to one-quarter of a reasonable staff, with the culling sword set to swing again. And I mourn for the citizens of Colorado, all of us denied a vibrant newspaper at precisely a historical moment when we most desperately need professional journalism.

Douglas D. Hesse, Denver


Thanks for the thoughtful editorial regarding The Denver Post in last Sunday’s edition. While I have seen readers criticize The Post from a wide variety of angles over the years, let me say what I appreciate. I have always looked to The Post for stories on bills and hearings at the Colorado legislature. Those are potential actions that affect all Colorado citizens.

Over the last few years, the ability of The Post to carry legislative stories has been reduced with the virtually annual reporter cutbacks. Many Coloradans may miss those stories. In my opinion, the new owners should be looking to increase the number of reporters rather than doing another round of cutbacks. Yes, our state is well served by having a flagship newspaper.

Jeff Baysinger, Lakewood


Deepest thanks to the Denver Post Editorial Board and all the other contributors, including former editor Gregory L. Moore and a diverse selection of columnists and contributors, for standing against ownership to sound this urgent call to arms against the tragic and purposeful destruction of our once highly respected, prize-winning city newspaper. We know what a dramatic departure this is from newspaper business as usual but these are desperate times. You are right. We can’t let this vital community resource be picked to death by distant, aptly designated vulture capitalists who care nothing about our community. The editorial exhorts us to “get involved and see to it Denver gets the newsroom it deserves.” Many of us would very much like to but don’t know where to start. Guidance on how we can effectively lend support, where and to whom to take our demands, would be very much appreciated.

Felice Sage, Littleton


The Denver Post has been a news and business anchor in my life for most of my 82 years. Even in college in Oklahoma, I subscribed to The Denver Post. As the web developed I read The Post every morning from western Colorado, from New Mexico, and now from Wyoming.

The Post used to be the Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire. As it became more radical and liberal, its base eroded. Post editorial leadership faded into a dim, radical, way-left-of-center-view voice.

I have kept my subscription online because The Post was important to me. I am sad you are dying, but this is what your radical politics have delivered to your door. I shall remember the great writers and good stories of the old Post.

John D. Farr, Encampment, Wyo.


Last Sunday was the first time I read every word in the Perspective section, and it is my favorite part of the paper. Right there in pages of your paper are the keys for saving it, provided the owners will allow it.

Finally getting over “Trump derangement syndrome,” as Jon Caldara wrote, would be an excellent start.

Teaching our young people the importance of journalism and newspapers would also be beneficial. When students become involved in journalism, it is amazing what contributions they make.

The importance of a free press to liberty cannot be stressed enough. Freedom of speech has been sorely distorted over the last few years by our institutions of higher learning. Newspapers can help restore this right of the people. Thanks for being there.

William F. Hineser, Arvada


The Denver Post is reaping what it has sowed. The editorial arrogance and left bias has rendered it irrelevant. In my opinion, The Post’s demise results from its failures in objective journalism. It’s a shame journalists have forsaken a sacred constitutional right to a free press and deprived us of objective reporting. Journalists’ opinions are unnecessary. Facts, and only verified facts, are needed. We can then form our own opinions based on those reliable facts.

It’s no accident many of your former readers now rely on other news sources. Some humility could be called for by asking some of The Post’s critics how it may become relevant again.  Then those who remain at The Post may earn their way back to prosperity the old-fashioned way, albeit with a smaller newspaper with only quality news.

Bob Kinney, Greenwood Village


My wife and I have subscribed to The Denver Post since we arrived in Denver more than 40 years ago and have observed a steady decline of the paper from repeated staff layoffs — each a “bloodshed” of downsizing solely to yield greater profits for the “investors.” Although profits from The Post have exceeded 10 percent per year, Alden Global Capital continues to squeeze for more and more by reducing staff. We are both saddened and outraged that Alden, driven by avarice rather than an ethical commitment to our community’s need for deep and accurate reporting, is now mandating yet another amputation of critical staff at The Post.

Since Benjamin Franklin’s purchase of the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729, newspapers have been at the forefront of our Founding Fathers’ efforts to create and nourish our democracy. To put profiteering and greed ahead of our need to support our free press — so important an institution that the press is protected in our First Amendment — is unconscienable, un-American, anti-democratic, and morally bankrupt.

We desperately hope that Alden will reconsider its policies and plans for our newspaper. We understand that the plutocrats at Alden do not live here. But we do, and our great state and great city require a newspaper befitting our citizens. Newspapers and our free press must not be reduced to carrion for Wall Street venture capitalist vultures.

Randall D. Buzan, M.D., Englewood


I have been a subscriber to The Denver Post since 1985. I terminated my subscription to The Post this month.

Over the past few years, there has been a steady erosion of the quality and content of the paper. And a corresponding increase in the cost of subscription. The latest increase raised my annual cost to $500. When I learned of the latest gutting of the news staff, I decided enough is enough.

Diane Carman wrote last Sunday that we we’re going to miss The Post’s journalists when they left. She neglected to mention that that is not coming — it has already come and gone.

I’m not certain how one gains Alden Global Capital’s attention. I doubt their bean counters read letters to the editor. I doubt they will care about the loss of one subscriber either. But if enough subscribers vote with their feet as I have, perhaps Alden will notice.

Theodore Shih, Golden


Your eloquent and justifiably defiant stance against The Denver Post’s continuing dismemberment by its New York hedge fund owner, Alden Global Capital, is a clarion call for a return to local ownership by an enlightened citizen or group of citizens who have the financial means to rescue and revive this once-dominant newspaper. And it ought to be a sound investment at a time of unprecedented prosperity and growth in the Front Range.

The Post’s leading 20th century figure, publisher Helen G. Bonfils, spent a dozen years (1960-72) and millions of dollars fighting off a hostile takeover by New York newspaper baron Samuel Newhouse, precisely because she understood the critical importance of quality local journalism to the civic health of her home city. In a remarkable ruling upholding her long fight for local control, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit declared:

“A corporation publishing a newspaper such as The Denver Post certainly has other obligations besides the making of a profit. It has an obligation to the public, that is, the thousands of people who buy the paper, read it, and rely upon its contents. Such a newspaper is endowed with an important public interest. … A corporation publishing a great newspaper such as The Denver Post is, in effect, a quasi-public institution.”

Where is Denver’s next Helen Bonfils? Who will do for The Denver Post what Jeff Bezos has done for The Washington Post?

Joseph Halpern, Denver


While I can’t claim to be a long-standing Post reader, since I only moved here seven years ago, I feel many share my point of view. The media in general has become a one-sided beast, not reporting the news with neutrality but choosing a political agenda. I definitely agree that a local news agency is important to a metro area as unique as Denver. But is it possible that many readers have tired of the biased reporting we have experienced in recent years? When news becomes one-sided, is it actually news or is it more like the yellow journalism of America’s past? Maybe it is time for The Denver Post to become the people’s news rather than choosing a left-leaning agenda. We can get plenty of that from Los Angeles and New York.

Mary Kay Cassidy, Aurora


I was disturbed to read the Perspective section in last Sunday’s Denver Post, which was almost entirely devoted to the current precarious state of our local newspaper. I knew the situation was serious but not quite so dire.

I feel a kinship with the journalism family. My mother worked for a newspaper in Indiana, I served on the staffs of my high school and college newspapers, have written a dozen books, and am the editor of a national magazine. The layoffs are a tragedy. Although I don’t always agree with all the opinions in The Post, I believe that in a free society we must have an honest exchange of views.

I still remember the motto of The Post engraved on its old building: “O justice, when expelled from other habitation, make this thy dwelling place.”

Where’s a petition that we can sign to keep The Post viable?

Flint Whitlock, Denver


After working as a TV reporter in Denver for 33-plus years, I’m outraged at what this group of vulture capitalists, Alden Global Capital, has done to eviscerate this once proud and outstanding newspaper.

I’ve seen many fellow journalists and friends at the paper simply disappear and can’t imagine what those remaining must be going through.

The paper’s quality and quantity of content have continued to decline despite the staff’s best efforts.

It’s time for this community’s leadership — and those with the wherewithal to make it happen — to rise up and purchase the paper from these criminals even though I understand they will not make it easy or affordable.

The city of Denver and journalism in general have greatly suffered with the demise of The Post, especially in the wake of losing the Rocky.

Recent revelations about Sinclair Broadcast Group are an omen for what lies ahead in journalism and all the more reason The Post should be reborn with new ownership. The city needs it more than ever.

James David Young, Highlands Ranch


I have been a continuous subscriber to The Denver Post since 1976. I never miss reading the letters to the editor. Some days that’s all I have time to read. Other days I read every article, except the sports; my husband reads that. Publishing what individual Colorado citizens find significant enough in their lives to take the time to write to The Post about, gives us all a window into how we are doing here in our great state. Social media is not my choice. I have never joined Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever they are. Please don’t decide to put citizen voices only on social media. Our individual voices have so been quashed since corporations have become “people” and money is “speech,” it seems only the wealthiest have a voice anymore. The Denver Post gives the little guy a voice. At least for now.

Becky Roberts, Watkins


I have long been a reader and fan of The Denver Post and I believe that in addition to being a great paper, it also has an important role in the community. However, I find your editorial about your  job losses and the tenuous future of The Post to be misplaced and a bit arrogant. It reads to me as if you are stating the loss of your colleagues job is somehow sadder or more unfair than others in the community who have lost their jobs. In addition, you are putting the burden of your future on your ownership group and your customers, and that is just a miss. If you put out a relevant and good product in the form that your customers will buy and your advertisers will invest, you will survive. If you don’t, you wont. That is the same environment and level playing field every business plays on. Why should it be different for The Denver Post?

Kevin Payne, Denver


I’m outraged and disappointed by Alden Capital Group’s management decisions. This is a point in our nation’s history where rigorous, objective journalism and balanced opinion writing are crucial to the future of our democracy, and we’ve seen a resurgence citizens’ support of the same. The Denver area and Colorado need the reporting that only this paper can deliver to understand what’s happening here and to hold those in power accountable. And, our nation needs the unique, regional voice that the Denver Post Editorial Board and local opinion writers provide to make sure those in power are informed and guided not only by East and West Coast voices, but ours, too.

As a daughter of journalists, I thank everyone at The Post for your commitment and hard work for our community, and I call on Alden Capital Group to expand this paper’s resources or sell it to someone who will.

Sara Avery, Lafayette


I have a hunch that Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and The Washington Post, has a couple of bucks left in his wallet. Maybe he’d like to own The Denver Post. The paper has a warm spot in my heart: I delivered the paper when I was a teenager and it was an afternoon daily; my father helped on Sundays, when we would wake at 4 a.m. to deliver the paper before dawn. And when I grew up in Denver, Paul Conrad was the paper’s editorial cartoonist (and the winner of one of The Post’s Pulitzer Prizes). I admired him and wanted to be like him, and I was sorry when he left for Los Angeles.

Good luck shooing the vulture capitalists out of the building.

David Heim, Oxford, Conn.


Denver, I feel your pain. Here in the Dayton, Ohio, region, we have witnessed the same reductions, although they began much earlier. The Dayton Daily News is a ghost of its old self. Our suburb doesn’t even have a regular beat reporter anymore, which means about the only stories from here that make it in are crime related. That is true with several other suburbs, which now tends to make us appear less attractive. It also means we have lost one of our few watchdogs, as evidenced by the lack of coverage when our city council voted itself a retroactive raise.

Without a strong media presence, the hens will be free from the chicken coop to do as they wish. I urge you to seek ways to prevent additional losses from your largest local newsroom. It takes skill and time to get the whole story.

Demand better. Demand to know who will be charged with upholding our Constitution. Demand your access to free speech and your right to know.

Bruce Kettelle, Trotwood, Ohio


I’m very concerned about the downsizing of The Denver Post.

While local newspapers reign supreme in local news, they seldom address state or national issues. If rural Colorado loses much of the in-depth reporting and editorial content needed to keep rural Colorado voters fully informed on Colorado’s latest legislative, economic and demographic trends, our democracy will suffer.

In the name of shareholder value, we seem to forget the vital role The Denver Post plays in rural Colorado. With a downsized Post, our political and economic perspectives will become even more limited, especially in times of crisis.

Heaven forbid that our Denver Post should ever cease publication.

Gary E. Goms, Buena Vista


The hallmark of a vibrant city is a newspaper that reflects what’s happening there in all its liveliness and complexity. That newspapers aren’t the latest “techie” gadget to appear on the scene does not make them obsolete. They are at the forefront of what we call a free press and should continue to be so for a long time to come. What really matters is that a city’s free press be directed by the forces and people who live there. We who live here must give our full support, but we alone cannot save it. It must also matter to local and national sources of funding. A free press has to be accessible to all and not out of reach for readers of average means. To hold in one’s hand a newspaper that informs, opines and allows readers to do the same is something too precious to be lost. Some traditions will fade; others are too important to be without.

Anne Culver, Denver


The three legs of a vibrant democracy: a free, unfettered, professional press to inform the citizenry and hold power accountable; an adequately funded free public education system to teach citizens essential critical thinking skills; and open, unfettered elections so the informed, educated, and empowered citizenry can do its job. All three have been under siege for the past 30 years, which means democracy itself has been under siege. Fascists and socialists will cheer that on, but the sizeable majority, from center-right to center-left, needs to understand what’s at stake. Thank you for your bold expose about the potential demise of The Denver Post.

Jerry Fabyanic, Georgetown


I am a Colorado native who grew up reading both the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post and have experienced many changes in the past 70-plus years. No matter how technology advances, however, good and honest journalism remains imperative for all citizens. This is particularly the case in the current climate of media bashing and fake news claims. There can be no true democracy without a free press. I’ve followed the decline of our main Colorado news source with a growing sense of unease. Hedge funds and speculative investing have no relationship to good journalism and in fact are extremely detrimental. I personally canceled my paid subscription to The Denver Post when it was clear that journalists were no longer able to actually produce unbiased news. I will gladly resubscribe when new and reasonable ownership happens.

Let’s band together and save The Denver Post. Good journalism is a critical part of a functioning democracy.

Lenore Mitchell, Roxborough


Well done, Denver Post journalists.

Cynicism by your owner has caused many of us to end our subscriptions. The urgency for careful, factually accurate reporting seems obvious when the president of the United States lies with shameful abandon. Corruption, dishonesty and special interests are running our country. What is more important than brave journalists at this junction in history?

To your owner: Show some spine. Either sell the paper to someone who understands the responsibility incumbent on the only newspaper in a major city or honestly support a staff of journalists capable of digging out real news.

Lyn Loewi, Denver


If/when the day comes that newspapers go the way of the buggy whip, I will very much miss them. Firstly because I much prefer reading hard copy to that of electronic. Secondly because of nostalgia. But the truth of the matter is that newspapers, along with much of the rest of the news media, have been dying from lack of credibility for decades — perhaps even longer when considering Mark Twain’s quip about being uninformed vs. being misinformed. Their credibility death spiral likely began the moment they started contaminating legitimate news coverage with ideological perspective, escalating toward the unabashed liberal propaganda machine that much of today’s news media has evolved into. So while I will very much miss hard-copy print if/when it should go away, I will not miss it nearly as much as liberalism’s political arm (i.e., the Democratic Party), its candidates and every liberal cause they support.

Douglas Fleecs, Greeley


Yes, news matters. But so does money. Today’s newspaper industry must compete in a digital world. The Denver Post was slow to charge for online access. For a newspaper to thrive it must be on solid financial footing. The hedge fund knows that newspapers make money. This is why it only cares about the revenue newspapers bring in. Content, news, a cross check on government, the First Amendment — all of it is noise to Alden Global Capital.

It is time for those dedicated to journalism to start their own paper. But for the news to matter, you need a serious cash resource. Right now, you’re stuck with Alden Global Capital.

Jeff Jasper, Westminster


Thank you for this editorial. Like many others, I’ve been remiss in subscribing to local news sources. That’s changing today. I value democracy and the press is absolutely vital in keeping it healthy and functional. No more free rides for me. Count me as a new subscriber.

Gretchen Fourticq, Cherry Hills Village


As faculty members in the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information, we support the current and former employees of The Denver Post who have taken a courageous stand against years of needless cutbacks on journalism in our state.

As the headline of Sunday’s Denver Post opinion page reads, “News matters.” We agree. Our public university’s educational mission is unattainable without strong news media to serve the common good and to inform the next generation.

Coloradans know all too well how short-sighted cuts to community journalism harm both the common good and future business prospects for next-generation media. Consolidation has meant the end of competitive news markets in many communities. Savings from layoffs at a profitable news operation such as The Denver Post extract from our community for Alden Global Capital’s benefit and subsidize its losses in other industries.

As educators in Colorado’s public university system, we hereby stand with those at the Post who are speaking out.

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