The Post and Rocky Attempt a Cover-Up

Brightly colored advertising stickers on the front of the Denver dailies are part of a national trend to turn page one into a billboard.

There's no shortage of candidates to fill the vacuum left by Carman, including Jim Spencer, who was dismissed in a cost-cutting move amid the June turmoil. When asked about the vacancy, Spencer responds with an e-mail that praises Carman before stating, "I would be very interested in replacing her and continuing to do the hard work I did for the Post before I was laid off. Many readers and folks in the newsroom have asked me about that possibility. I tell them what I will tell you: It is not my decision."

Unfortunately for Spencer, editor Moore, the decider in this instance, doesn't seem interested in looking beyond his current staff. In an e-mail, he declines to specifically comment about those who've moved on other than to thank them for their service. Then, after writing that he expects to have a new columnist in place by Thanksgiving, he adds, "I am hoping to find a strong internal candidate, and I am liking the names I am seeing. This is a great opportunity, of course, so I am not surprised to see quality people stepping up for a look."

Tosches, for his part, says the seeds of his departure were planted this summer, when he was casually informed during a phone call that the Rocky Mountain Ranger position, which he loved, had been eliminated. Instead, his bosses wanted him to be part of a team charged with generating front-page stories, and he tried it for a while. "But it was different," he acknowledges. "I felt I'd lost my voice and the part of my job that had been so fun. Somewhere between a straight news story and a column is where I'd ridden my horse for a long time, and putting me back to being just a reporter was enough of a signal for me." In his view, managers took his decision to split in stride. "I was making good money at the Post, so they didn't seem too disappointed," he says. "It was like a great big financial sigh of relief."

Shortly thereafter, Tosches returned to the Colorado Springs Independent, where he'd done some writing prior to hooking up with the Post, and he's also assembling a new book with an especially glum title: The Death of Newspapers. Nevertheless, Tosches insists the tome will focus on humor — funny anecdotes he or his pals have experienced in newsrooms across the country, as well as stories about how papers either work or don't.

"Frankly, the fact that there's a newspaper left in this country shocks the hell out of me," he says, chuckling. "Seeing how they work from the inside and how they get promoted, it's a miracle that something other than the New York Times and the L.A. Times is still functioning."

At least they are as of this printing.

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