The Message

New Deal

When Greg Moore took over as editor of the Denver Post in June 2002, staffers predicted plenty of changes at the paper, and they were right. However, most of them probably didn't anticipate that shifts would continue to take place at a speedy rate throughout the nearly two years to date that Moore has held the reins.

The biggest recent alteration came courtesy of a sweeping redesign introduced on May 4; that topic will be tackled below. Yet there have also been many personnel moves, with a gaggle of prominent names transferring to different positions within the Post and quite a few others leaving under a wide variety of circumstances -- some happy, others less so.

Veteran journalists have been involved in a slew of the transitions, with males generally getting the better part of the bargain. For instance, Michael Booth stopped writing a lifestyles column in favor of a plum assignment as an entertainment reporter and movie critic, and Dick Kreck saw the focus of his well-regarded city-side column narrow to the lively subject of media news and happenings. Also, reporter Kit Miniclier hung up his keyboard after an astonishing 47 years in journalism, 26 of them at the Post. In an April 18 e-mail to his colleagues, Miniclier wrote, "I've decided it is time to retire and give others a chance to have half the fun I've had."

Meanwhile, four longtime female employees -- former national editor Michelle Fulcher and reporters Carol Kreck, Cindy Brovsky and Gwen Florio -- resigned under complicated circumstances during the past year or so.

Examples? Brovsky, who's currently writing for the Associated Press, quit the Post last spring on the cusp of the runoff election between Denver mayoral candidates John Hickenlooper and Don Mares, which she had been covering in her capacity as a political scribe. She didn't return calls for comment at the time, but Moore said that "the retooling of our political team" may have motivated her to split ("Post Toasts," May 29, 2003). Florio, for her part, was a star at the Post under Glenn Guzzo, Moore's predecessor, even traveling to Afghanistan during the early months of the conflict there. Under Moore's leadership, she drifted from the news section to features, where, in January 2004, the onetime war correspondent found herself writing about an obsessed John Denver fan. She only got back to newsier stories after abandoning the Post in favor of the Rocky Mountain News, where her byline has been on view since late March. In an e-mail exchange, she points out that "I'm probably working twice the hours here, and having about ten times the fun."

Florio is cautious in describing her reasons for jumping to the Rocky, but she manages to make several sharp points anyway. "I had some wonderful opportunities at the Post, and I loved my job there," she writes. "But I think the relentless management churn hampers a terrifically talented staff. My interests lie in strong coverage of regional issues, and in good storytelling. Those are strengths that the Rocky, with the advantage of engaged leadership and stability, exhibits daily." Regarding those female journalists who've left the Post, her included, she casts no stones, but concedes that "I'm always concerned when high-profile women reporters and editors leave or are demoted."

When asked about these observations, Moore, who has kind words for Florio, denies that members of any particular group have been singled out when it comes to hiring or promotion. "There isn't any pattern," he says. "We're interested in recruiting and keeping the very best people we can." He adds, "If you look at the people who are covering important beats, many of them are the same people we found when we got here, because they're very good people."

That may be true, but musical chairs remains a popular game at the Post. In a single January memo sent out under the signatures of managing editor/news Gary Clark and assistant managing editor/news Jeff Taylor, no fewer than five changes were announced. Allison Sherry moved from a health-care focus to the Denver Public Schools beat; Eric Hübler, who had covered DPS, headed to the business section; Marsha Austin went from business to metro, with a concentration on medical writing; Monte Whaley took over the Post's bureau in northern Colorado; and Karen Rouse settled into Whaley's previous bailiwick, the kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade assignment. Can't tell the players without a program.

Another internal e-mail, this one sent by deputy editorial-page editor Bob Ewegen and Perspective editor Todd Engdahl, informed Posters that legislature reporter Julia Martinez was "selected from a very able field of candidates to fill the editorial writer position left open by Angela Cortez's departure." The timing of this announcement closely followed "CU President: Rape Didn't Occur," a February 3 article in which Martinez wrote about comments CU President Elizabeth "Betsy" Hoffman allegedly made about a 2001 party attended by football recruits; student Lisa Simpson says she was raped at the gathering. According to Martinez, Hoffman said "that while students drank alcohol and did 'very irresponsible things'...no sexual assault occurred." Hoffman immediately denied making this statement, and the next day, the Post ran an odd quasi-correction on the front page, even though Martinez stood by her reporting ("Correction Detection," February 12). Martinez didn't respond to e-mails asking if the correction helped motivate her to take the editorial writing gig, but she's now working at the one part of the paper not overseen by Moore.

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