Moore Than Before

The Denver Post's new editor wants to help the paper realize its potential.

I'm not going to get into an argument with John. I respect what he does, but his paper is totally different from mine. And let's see which section has more lasting impact: the little quickie they did on a Friday, or the piece that we took our time on and really explored and did the graphics and did the helpful stuff that will assist our readers in Denver when the next fire comes down the pike. All I can tell you is, being quick doesn't always mean being the best. And sort of jumping the gun, trying to tell the story of the Hayman Fire by publishing a section the Friday before the fire was contained -- well, I like our approach better. So even though I respect John, I'm not going to listen to what he has to say about what the Post is or isn't doing. This town is blessed to have two newspapers, and the more dissimilar we are, the better.

As an outside observer, I thought it was great that Temple was a little combative --

I think it's great, too.

Taking charge: Denver Post editor Greg Moore.
Larry Winter
Taking charge: Denver Post editor Greg Moore.

-- because after the joint operating agreement, a lot of people feared that sense of competition wasn't going to last. Your response suggests strongly that the desire to compete is there from your side, too.

It's definitely there. This newspaper war is far from over, and I've said that to my staff. We're fighting for readers, okay? There may be a joint operating agreement, but people are still deciding which newspaper is going to be their newspaper -- and I want it to be us.

In the past, the Post has sometimes been described as dull. [Moore laughs.] That sounds like a description you never want applied to the paper.

I don't ever want to hear that word. I don't want us to be dull, and I don't want us to be predictable. We're never going to be shot if we do something different than we did yesterday. Somebody might say, "Why wasn't that story across the top the way it was the past three days?" Well, it's because we didn't want to do that.

Another thing you've talked about not wanting to do is run so many columns. Does having too many of them diminish the impact of the main columns?

I don't know if it diminishes their impact, but it gives the paper a decided lack of urgency. An opinion is never urgent. When you have material in the paper where, if you saw it, great, and if you didn't, so what, that's a recipe for not having a compelling product. I want people focused on breaking news stories and not spending a day and a half or two and a half days to write a column -- and I'm not even sure people are spending that much time doing it. So we want to reduce the number of columns, particularly on the inside pages -- and even though there are some people in the arts who need to be able to write a column occasionally, I want to rethink all of that, too. People here were pretty nervous in the beginning about what I've been saying, but I haven't been doctrinaire about it. Joanne Ostrow, our television columnist, is writing more stories, but she had a column in the paper today.

A TV column is usually viewed as standard equipment for a daily newspaper. Was reducing the number of TV columns a way of sending a message that no column is going to run just because everyone is accustomed to it running?

I've had a lot of people say to me, "My column has a big following." Well, anything you put in the newspaper for a period of time is going to have a following. That doesn't mean it's good. It doesn't mean it's important. And so what we're going to do is, we're looking at everybody and everything. And if you're going to make a statement like that, you need to be able to take on the redwoods, and not just the itty-bitty sprouts. And Joanne's a big player. But we had a really good talk, and she has responded to what I want.

Are you still looking to fill the major columnist position that opened up with the departure of Chuck Green?

Yes, I am. I just want to take my time and look at what we have, what we don't have. I didn't know Chuck Green and didn't know much about his columns. But having a columnist that can forge the broad band of our readership -- not all of whom are affluent, not all of whom are well-educated, not all of whom enjoy all the great things that Denver has to offer -- is really important to us. I want to make sure we get someone who's speaking to both sides of our audience. There are a couple people inside who've expressed some interest in that position, and I'll give them every consideration. But I also see the value of having a fresh voice from outside, so I'm looking around. I have some ideas, but I'm not going to tell you what they are.

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