Denver Post Ramping Up TV Production Amid Sale Speculation

Molly Hughes. A video and more below.
Molly Hughes. A video and more below.

The announcement that the Denver Post is for sale hasn't brought every new initiative at the paper to a grinding halt. In a memo to staffers yesterday, Post editor Greg Moore and news director Kevin Dale revealed the hiring of former CBS4 anchor Molly Hughes as director of Denver Post TV -- a move signaling the ambition to significantly ramp up video production. But that won't quiet speculation about possible suitors for the Post, with those mentioned thus far qualifying as the usual suspects.

See also: Denver Post Officially for Sale

In recent years, the Post has experimented with creating regular programs. The most prominent among them is The Press Box, a sports-talk program simulcast on Mile High Sports Radio. Here's the original promo for the show, shared on YouTube back in June 2013.

The promo, which has racked up a whopping 76 views in a year-plus, features longtime columnist Mark Kiszla and co-host Peter Burns. Now, however, Kiszla is teamed with broadcasters Brandon Krisztal and Oren Lomena, as seen in this screen capture of a recent program featuring Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris:

Denver Post Ramping Up TV Production Amid Sale Speculation

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As for Hughes, she was bounced from her CBS4 gig in 2007 but remained in the market and has lately been serving as a media consultant. In their memo, seen below in its entirety, Moore and Dale note that she'll "anchor a number of daily news shows" and help print journalists "improve their on-air presence." Programs are envisioned for "every department in the newsroom," the memo states.

Moore and Dale add: "Our goal is to double our video production, and we will be tapping several staffers in the newsroom to help turn our reporting expertise into strong video."

We e-mailed Moore to ask for more details about the initiative, particularly in the context of the sales announcement. Thus far, he hasn't gotten back to us. When and if he does, we'll update this post.

Phil Anschutz, right, with Jack Vickers at a Boys and Girls Club dedication last October.
Phil Anschutz, right, with Jack Vickers at a Boys and Girls Club dedication last October.
Free Lunch Photography

Meanwhile, even the Post has gotten into the game of guessing who might pony up for the paper. The first person mentioned in an article on the topic is the first person always mentioned when media properties are on the block in these parts: billionaire Phil Anschutz, whose holdings include the Colorado Springs Gazette.

An item in Colorado Pols suggests that the thought of Anschutz, a well-known conservative, buying the Post is likely to send a "shiver down your left-leaning spine." No wonder there's already wishful thinking about big-money progressives who might invest simply to keep the Post out of Anschutz's mitts. The names floated thus far include Quark's Tim Gill and Congressman Jared Polis, who shrugged off the notion of picking up the paper during a recent visit to its newsroom. The Post quotes him as asking, "Is that actually a rumor?" before adding, "It is fun to hear speculation."

Post employees may not be similarly delighted by the current situation. The paper's future is unclear, making the Denver Post TV initiative a welcome distraction, as well as an indication that administrators aren't simply going to sit on their hands waiting for something to happen. But the odds against the Post turning the new initiative into a money maker, as opposed to a money pit, remain long.

Here's the Moore-Dale memo.

Colleagues,

We are excited to announce the hiring of Molly Hughes as director of Denver Post TV. Video has become a major platform for us, both in reader engagement and revenue. Molly, who for nine years was evening news anchor for CBS4, will use her blend of reporting, on-air and technical skills to help us relaunch DPTV into a major vehicle for content delivery from all departments.

Molly is the winner of the 2005 Emmy for Best News Anchor and the 2005 Emmy for Best Hard News Series. In addition, she was part of the 2003 Emmy for Overall Station Excellence at CBS4. She also co-anchored the newscast that was awarded the 2004 Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Newscast and she anchored the newscasts that won the 2003 Murrow awards for overall excellence, best newscast and best news documentary.

Since 2012, Molly has been an executive coach for Colman and Company, helping people to better connect with audiences.

All of those skills are critical in our efforts to build our video program. We expect Molly will anchor a number of daily news shows. In addition, she will work with Department heads and reporters on breaking news as needed.

We also plan to build weekly shows that include every department in the newsroom and Molly will be a resource to help staffers improve their on-air presence.

Our goal is to double our video production, and we will be tapping several staffers in the newsroom to help turn our reporting expertise into strong video.

Molly will report to Tim Rasmussen as part of our growing video team. She will join the staff in late September -- please join us in welcoming her to The Post!

Greg and Kevin

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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