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OFF LIMITS

Lord of the manner: Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich apparently likes rules--and lots of 'em. When the House recently hired a "protocol adviser," Congresswoman Pat Schroeder joined a dozen other Democrats in protesting the "wasteful and embarrassing use of funds" and then, predictably, took it a step further. "Now that we have our own Ms. Manners," she wrote, "maybe she can give us some advice...When dining with the Speaker, should you present a book deal or a campaign contribution first?"

We'd suggest the contribution first, then the book deal, since it comes with its own set of protocol--witness Gingrich's appearance at the Tattered Cover this Thursday. Harper Collins, the publisher of Gingrich's To Renew America, laid down a series of regulations governing the Speaker's visit to Denver. For example, Gingrich will only sign copies of his book (no pictures of Schroeder or stuffed giraffes) and will make no inscriptions--and even then, it's only three signatures to a customer. No cameras are allowed and, per the publisher's request, the bookstore is advising that "all guests must be empty-handed while in line; a place will be provided for our customers to check bags, purses, fanny-packs, etc."

Leave your principles at home.

The revolution will be televised: Although local television stations have yet to switch over to their new network affiliations, Denver's dailies have already changed allegiances. The Rocky Mountain News, which had been working with Channel 9 (remember Paula Woodward's extremely short-lived stint as a print reporter?), is now tied in with Channel 7 (currently a CBS station but soon to be linked with ABC). And Channel 9, set to switch from ABC to NBC, now has a paper trail to two publications: the Denver Business Journal and the Denver Post. According to KUSA news director Dave Lougee, the station uses the Post for everything but business news; conveniently, the Post just lost its business editor, Henry Dubroff, to the weekly DBJ--which itself was sold last week to Advance Publications of New York, in a package deal that includes all 28 business weeklies owned by American City Business Journals. All of which provided plenty of fodder for grinning Greg Moss--the DBJ's promotions guy who's been on perma-loan to KUSA as a business reporter--in his early morning chats with the rest of KUSA's morning team. The sale, he assured them Monday, was "very positive."

So far, in fact, the only negatives reported in this alphabet scoop are over at Channel 4, which is losing its NBC affiliation (in favor of CBS and Westinghouse, which have plenty of daytime programming to shove into space currently occupied by local news), has already waved goodbye to station manager Roger Ogden (who's headed for London and an international NBC deal) and now lacks a newspaper partner to share stories and promos. Fortunately, KCNC has no problem hyping...and hyping...and hyping itself.

Paper tiger: No sooner had Jay Ambrose penned his farewell note as News editor than assistant editorial-page editor Dave Shiflett followed (like Ambrose, he's headed to the D.C. area, although he'll be freelancing rather than working for Scripps Howard). Last week Shiflett served up a eulogy for his own News column, inexplicably delivered in the third person: "He had his fans, and his final words, scribbled down by a sobbing acolyte, were these: `The helots dance tonight, but my readers will dance in paradise.' Or something to that effect, for we all know how he could go on, and he was surely delirious at the time of his passing."

He wasn't the only one.

 
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