One year ago, Denver Post staffers openly rebelled against their hedge fund owners. While employees have continued to do their best to produce a great newspaper, they are hamstrung ― and Denver is poorly served ― by the paper’s current ownership.

Join us to fight for journalism that’s reflective of this great city.

Where we stand …

In 2018, following the latest in a string of Denver Post layoffs ordered by owner Alden Global Capital, Coloradans began grappling with the significant diminishment of local news coverage, and its negative impact on the civic health of the Denver-metro area and the state as a whole.

They’ve killed a great newspaper.

Dean Singleton, former Denver Post chairman owner, on Alden Global Capital

Others are now waking up to the issue, as Alden -— which also does newspaper business as Digital First Media and Media News Group — bids to take over Gannet.

Digital First is the worst owner of newspapers in America and they will do their best to draw blood from even Gannett’s already desiccated stone.

Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab

A decade of decline …

In 2008, more than 500 journalists covered Colorado for the Denver Post and the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News under their joint operating
agreement. Today, the Post newsroom is down to fewer than 70 journalists.

Here’s a sampling of what’s been lost in terms of coverage of government and business:

THEN

5 reporters covering the state capitol

3 reporters based in Washington, D.C.

3 reporters covering Denver City Hall

Editorial boards comprised of 12+ journalists with subject-matter expertise 30+ pages each week.

4 reporters covering Energy and Environment

Business news desks with 12+ reporters

2 reporters covering higher education

3 reporters covering K-12 education

NOW

2 reporters covering the state capitol

0 reporters based in Washington, D.C.

1 reporter covering Denver City Hall

0 reporters dedicated to higher education

1 reporter who covers K-12 education

An editorial dept. that includes 1 journalist filling 10 pages per week. 

1 reporter covering environment and 0 reporters dedicated exclusively to covering energy, the state’s largest industry

A business news desk with 3 reporters

Turning their back on Denver

To add insult to injury, the paper’s owners moved newsroom operations from the city bearing the paper’s name to a windowless printing plant in Adams County — meaning the few journalists tasked with keeping tabs on the center of power in the state are located out of the central business district and political epicenter.

DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA PROFIT MARGINS

201816.2%201714.4%201613.7%201511.6%

Increasing profits amid decreasing resources

These cost-cutting measures have been driven by a quest for profit that would be the envy of many industries. And, as Denver has seen the resources of its flagship news source diminished, new reporters have been hired at reduced wages to their predecessors and have forgone raises during a time of rising costs for housing and other essentials.

The public shaming of Alden for its greed and disregard for newspapers’ historic community-serving missions hasn’t seemed to make an iota of difference in the company’s behavior.
Ken Doctor, news industry analyst, in Harvard’s Nieman Lab (May 2018).

At a time when other major newspaper chains were struggling to maintain single-digit operating margins, executives at Digital First had posted an operating margin of 17 percent, apparently by cutting newsroom staffing by as much as twice the industry average.
“The Expanding News Desert” UNC School of Media and Journalism (Oct. 2018).

The silent treatment

Alden Capital and its subsidiaries, Digital First Media/Media News Group, have ignored repeated invitations to engage with groups interested
in the media’s role and responsibility in our thriving, well-educated city and state:

  • Colorado Forum
  • Denver Metro Chamber

And they routinely decline to comment on their business practices at all.

Alden Global Capital declined to comment on this story
CJR

Alden declined to comment
New York Times

Alden has consistently declined to respond to requests for comment on the matter.
CNN

Neither Alden nor Digital First Media returned requests for
comment.
Washington Post

The Pew Research Center tallied at least 140 distinct news providers in Denver alone. Although the inclusion of entities like neighborhood newsletters may inflate the totals, that number alone demonstrates that the city is a robust hub for local media.
https://t.co/pHsedMXJ7D

Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund trying to buy Gannett faces federal probe after investing newspaper workers’ pensions in its own funds https://t.co/Gy0rMIDFBK

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Denver Needs a News Source to Match its Momentum

Given Colorado’s high rankings as a place to  live and do business, and with our state’s population expected to increase from 5.5 million to 8.5 million by 2050, it is vital that Coloradans have access to reliable, trustworthy news about the issues critical to the future of our state.

As news platforms and formats continue to  evolve, our ability to participate effectively in a democratic society – and to combat the spread of misinformation – is inextricably tied to the health, trustworthiness, and accessibility of our local sources of news and information

SIGN ON IN SUPPORT

We, the undersigned, are urging Alden Capital to behave responsibly by investing in staff and participating in civic life or to sell the Denver Post to someone who will.

Until then, we promise to use our networks and platforms to raise awareness of Alden’s harmful practices with advertisers and the public and to support existing and emerging alternatives.

Contact

Denver Needs a News Source to Match its Momentum

We, the undersigned, are urging Alden Capital to behave responsibly by investing in staff and participating in civic life or to sell the Denver Post to someone who will.

Until then, we promise to use our networks and platforms to raise awareness of Alden’s harmful practices with advertisers and the public and to support existing and emerging alternatives.