By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
As you know, Dean Singleton is a big admirer of theGlobe, and he's said he set out to hire you because he felt you'd made the paper what it was. Did you?
No paper is the result of the efforts of one person, so I don't ever want that said. But I'm a product of the Globe, and I understand some of the things that made it distinctive. First and foremost, what makes the Globe the Globe is talent, and you've got to go out and hire it, develop it and nurture it -- and that's what we've got to do here. So just my hiring as an individual isn't going to make the Denver Post more than what it is now. You have to have people who are really dedicated to the news business. Not the opinion business, not the personality business, but the news business. I'm pleased that Dean likes the Globe, because I don't think I would probably be here unless he did. But I'd like him to talk about the Globe a little less -- stop talking about that and give us a chance to do what we need to do here.
The story for which theGlobe has gotten the most attention lately has been the Catholic Church scandal. How involved were you in that coverage?
Involved, very involved. This is the whole truth; this is not a lie; this is what happened. There'd been some ongoing coverage about one priest who'd been accused of abusing kids: Father Geoghan. One of our columnists had written a piece last July questioning whether we would ever know the truth if impounded documents weren't released and opened to the public. I saw that when I came back from vacation, and I went to our investigative editor and said, "This might be a target of opportunity for us if we could find out whether or not the problem in the Catholic Church goes beyond this one priest. Do you think you guys might be able to uncover some stuff?" And he said, "Yeah, that might be something we should try to do." And then I talked to Marty [Baron] and said, "I want you to know, since this has been a sensitive area in the past, that we're taking a look at the Geoghan case to see if we can go deeper. Because sometimes when we do stuff like this, we get protesters outside. The last time we went after the church, the cardinal [Boston cardinal Bernard Law] even put a curse on the editor."
What year was that?
Around May of '92. And Marty looked at me and laughed, and said, "I'm not really worried about that at all." And later, he said, "Let's go to court and see if we can get those records open." And that was the beginning of the end for that particular story, which I hope will lead to a Pulitzer Prize for the Globe.
The Catholic Church is a tremendously powerful institution nationwide, but especially in Boston. How much thought did you give to that before pursuing the story -- or is one of the things that makes a newspaper great not giving thought to something like that before pursuing a story?
The latter. You've got to be aware of the past, aware of how sensitive a subject is and how careful you need to be. But it never entered into our thought process to say, "We're not going to do that story because of the grief it will cause us." Never. I can truthfully say that in my time at the Globe, one of the things I really, really came to admire and understand is, a newspaper is really great when it doesn't play favorites, when it doesn't have sacred cows. News judgment and service work can't be influenced by outside interests.
An example of that philosophy appeared in thePost recently: Louis Aguilar's business story, "Elway Inc." In this town, John Elway has been treated with kid gloves to a large degree. But I thought that story was evenhanded and fair, but also straightforward about some not-always-positive facts. Is that the kind of story you'd like to see more of in thePost?
It is; I'd like to see much more of that. I've said to everyone that I'd like to examine everything here and ask questions -- ask why, and what does it mean. In Elway's case, he was announcing a new venture with the arena football league, and I just said, "This guy's everywhere. How good of a businessman is he?" And people were like, "Well..." And I said, "Don't tell me. Let's put it in the paper." So that's what we're going to do.
You mentioned the tough times at theGlobe, and I assume you were talking about the Patricia Smith matter. You were her direct editor?
I was the editor she would file her stories to. This isn't revisionism, just facts: Pat's column ran on Thursday or Friday and then again on Mondays -- and someone else would edit her on Sunday, because I wasn't there. But I was the person who for that last year was responsible for dealing with Pat.