Center Stage

One of Denver's least-understood media projects gets ready for its close-up.

For now, anyway.

They're crafty: Believe it or not, some of the people who work for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post have lives beyond the office. Indeed, quite a few of them produce professional-quality jewelry and crafts in their spare time and peddle their wares at pre-holiday fairs staged annually by their respective papers. But the announcement of this year's fair, the first held since the joint operating agreement between the News and the Post, unexpectedly raised the hackles of crafters at the Post, some of whom make hundreds of dollars in sales. In the past, Post participants were allowed to keep everything they earned, but an item in a Denver Newspaper Agency newsletter stated that this time around, 10 percent of proceeds would go to the DNA's employee association.

Why did the DNA decide to levy a surcharge on a craft fair, of all things? Fran Wills, speaking for the agency, says the Rocky has always subtracted 10 percent of earnings from its fair, so the DNA simply chose to impose this de facto tax on everyone. But after receiving complaints from people at the Post, the decision was rescinded, and now no one will have to share his earnings. "That just shows how responsive we are," Wills says.

In the meantime, the agency is doing some selling of its own. Several weeks ago it launched a Web site, costore.com/post-news, featuring a wacky array of items such as the "Denver Newspaper Agency Swizzle Pen," the "Denver Newspaper Agency Magnetic Clip Dispenser," the "Denver Newspaper Agency Tri-Highlighter" (they're all $1.93 apiece) and the "Denver Newspaper Agency Zippered Padfolio" ($18.48 each -- but they're extremely attractive!). And if none of that strikes your fancy, be the first on your block to own a Denver Post mousepad, available in "camping," "city," "mountain-valley" and "outdoor sport" varieties.

The DNA's Wills says these products weren't designed with retail in mind; rather, they were developed as giveaways to potential clients and were recently put online to make it easier for department heads and other employees to pick them up. But she notes that if any members of the general public want to make a purchase, that would be fine.

So place your orders now -- because nothing says "I love you" on Christmas morning like a "Denver Post Silver Post-It Note Holder."

Turn that frown upside down: Here's a window onto the decision-making policies at the Denver Post -- although the squeamish among you may want to pull down the shade.

A Post insider says that a number of weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the paper's managing editor, Larry Burrough, held a meeting intended to generate new and fresh ways of covering the event's repercussions. After telling those present that there's no such thing as a bad idea, he wondered, "If you were a color, what color you would be?" -- a question even Barbara Walters might balk at posing. Then he asked for 9-11 suggestions, to which one writer responded with the following: Perhaps there is an unexplored positive side to the collapse of the World Trade Center, because some criminals were probably among the thousands of innocent people killed there.

Predictably, the vast majority of meeting attendees were dumbfounded by this notion, but none of them spoke up -- because there's no such thing as a bad idea.

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