The Message

Coming Attractions

Shortly thereafter, Farrell headed to the Boston Globe, where he eventually became deputy chief of the paper's Washington bureau; he also won plaudits for writing 2001's Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century, a biography of Tip O'Neill, longtime Speaker of the House. Nonetheless, these credentials didn't win him the Washington bureau chief job recently vacated by David Shribman, who is now executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Farrell applied, but the gig went to Peter Canellos, who suffered a tragedy last week when his longtime companion, Globe reporter Elizabeth Neuffer, died in a car accident while covering events in Iraq.

When it became clear that Farrell wouldn't be promoted to bureau chief at the Globe, he began looking around, and discovered that the Denver Post was searching for someone to replace Washington-based Bill McAllister, who had retired. Since Farrell knew Moore from their days at the Globe, he called the Post's editor and inquired about the opening. Things moved quickly from there. "I had several deal-breakers in the back of my mind," Farrell concedes, "so the only talking Greg had to do was to say 'Yes,' 'Yes' and 'Yes,' which he did -- and then I didn't have a reason not to do it."

Farrell's history at the Post might have presented one last obstacle. After all, Times Mirror had poured money into the paper in an attempt to put it on the national journalism map, but when revenues didn't increase with sufficient speed, the firm backed off, eventually selling to Singleton. The same thing could happen again a few years from now, but "as I told Greg, I'm a sucker for a dream," Farrell says. Moore's allowing Farrell, who started on May 12, to expand the Post's Washington bureau to four staffers, with incremental increases likely in the coming years. To Farrell, the opportunity to build a bureau from the ground up was irresistible: "It's not often in this business that you get such a fresh opportunity to begin anew, and when it happens, you get the feeling that the grownups have left you alone in the bakery."

Like Farrell, Rodriguez comes to the Post from the Globe, where she did a consistently fine job of reporting about urban affairs and immigration in addition to covering breaking news like the Rhode Island nightclub fire in February that killed a hundred fans of the hard-rock band Great White. Prior to joining the Globe, she served as an occasional columnist at the Syracuse Post-Standard, and she's eager to take on the challenge again. She plans to write for what she refers to as "'my community,' which isn't just the Latino community. It's the little man or little woman who's pushed around, and people who don't have a voice in government or a say in the grand scheme -- the elderly, children."

In many ways, Rodriguez's task is tougher than those facing Kennedy and Farrell, because she's following Tina Griego, who left the Post last year for the Rocky. Griego is beloved among area Hispanics; all of the Latino leaders and activists interviewed for "Diverse Opinions," last week's column about a program sponsored by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, made a point of lauding her. For that reason, Rodriguez will be under immediate pressure not only to measure up, but to focus entirely on Hispanic stories -- something she's reluctant to do. "The only person who could pigeonhole me is myself," she says, "and I don't intend to do that." Furthermore, Rodriguez had only visited Denver briefly before signing on with the Post, where she'll set up housekeeping on May 27. She's confident that her lack of time in Colorado won't be a disadvantage. "I think it's going to be great for Denver to have a new voice in the paper -- someone coming in with a fresh perspective."

Moore agrees. He calls Rodriguez "a terrific journalist who'll be a very powerful and interesting addition to the paper," and he's equally positive about Farrell ("a very experienced hand in Washington who understands this paper, its interests and the region") and Kennedy ("a real talent with a great background, and we're lucky as hell to get her").

All of Moore's opinions are entirely defensible. Now what's left is for this triumvirate to transform the promise to prose that gives readers their money's worth. Day in and day out.

Critique speak: "Post Has Questionable Obit Priorities," the May 3 offering from bi-weekly Rocky Mountain News media columnists Diane Eicher and Joe Bullard, found fault with a pair of long-form obituaries that appeared in the Denver Post -- a February effort about the death of the Breckenridge "town drunk" and an April wrap-up concerning an intoxicated man killed by police. "We would argue there are simply some people who don't warrant their fifteen minutes of fame -- or their fifteen inches of space," Eicher and Bullard stated.

What didn't turn up in the column was any mention of Claire Martin,the reporter who penned the obits in question. The closest Eicher and Bullard came was printing a Martin quote, sans name, that originally appeared in an obituary-related piece written by yours truly ("Dead Lines," April 18, 2002). Martin was miffed enough to send a letter of complaint to the Rocky expressing disappointment that the columnists "neglected to call and ask why I chose to write about the specific articles they singled out as an example of wasted newspaper space. Certainly they -- my former co-workers -- were well aware that I wrote all of the obituaries they mentioned."

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