Voices

Untangling a proposed alternative-weekly mega-merger.

Granted, New Times isn't entirely hands-off. The company has established similar designs for its papers and their websites; instituted a system under which publications share movie reviews and a smaller number of music articles; and recently launched columns on DVDs and video games as corporate projects. Moreover, profit downturns post-9/11 resulted in New Times-mandated staff reductions and layoffs chain-wide, including a handful at Westword. VVM's Schneiderman told the New York Times that his company is "comfortably profitable," but the Voice itself is rumored to be a money pit, and if that's true, future financial pain could be spread among Westword and its sister papers -- or increased profits could be used to increase staff sizes. Otherwise, there's no credible evidence that the merger will have any impact on Westword whatsoever.

Then again, confusion is understandable. For example, the Denver Business Journal changed its October 24 headline from "New Owner for Westword" to "Westword Parent Merging With Village Voice" after receiving a complaint from someone here. But its first sentence remained "Denver's alternative weekly newspaper Westword is going to have a new owner."

Okay, fine. Have it your way.

The Village Voice may become Westword's sister publication.
The Village Voice may become Westword's sister publication.

More delays: Harriet Miers's comings and goings have caused turmoil on Denver TV.

As documented in this space, President George W. Bush's declaration that he'd nominated Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court happened on October 3 prior to 7 a.m. Channel 9 reported on her during its local morning news before transitioning to the Today show, which usually airs on a two-hour tape-delay basis. As such, the first hour would have had nothing about Miers in it -- but even though NBC tried to compensate by switching to another programming block, the one it sent featured live performances by musicians Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint rather than breaking news.

Cut to October 27, when word that Miers had withdrawn her nomination came through (you guessed it) just before 7 a.m. This time, NBC provided Channel 9 with a live update at the top of the hour, but CBS's coverage, as seen on its Denver station, Channel 4, was late and spotty. First up was four minutes of the tape-delayed Early Show. Then came a four-minute news flash about Miers, followed by several more minutes of the two-hour-old Early Show, another abbreviated Miers update, more too-Early Show, and so on. Not until 8 a.m. did CBS provide Denverites with sustained Miers coverage -- the sort of reportage that residents of the Mountain time zone should get but often don't because of antiquated procedures.

Unlike Miers, tape delays are sticking around.

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