Denver Post to hire new Broncos reporter amid sports department shuffle

Last week, we shared comments from Denver Post execs about changes at the paper online, in print and at the sports department; Broncos beat reporter Jeff Legwold had just jumped to ESPN. Post types initially declined to say whether the position would be filled. But now, the section's boss confirms that it will be even as other shifts are taking place, prompted in part by the promotion of Nuggets writer Benjamin Hochman (seen here) to columnist and super-enthusiastic video star. Examples and more below.

The Broncos are in the early stages of a season when they're touted as Super Bowl favorites -- and Legwold's departure left the Post with only one scribe, Mike Klis, on the beat, as opposed to three people (Klis, Legwold and Lindsay H. Jones, now with USA Today) a year ago.

While newspapers in general are reluctant to hire folks these days, the powers at the Post have clearly decided they need to make an exception in this case.

Mike Klis will be getting some help.
Mike Klis will be getting some help.

"We are looking to replace Jeff Legwold on the Broncos beat and have an active search to find that person. That will give us two full-time Broncos beat reporters, as we had last year after Lindsay H. Jones left for USA Today," notes Scott Monserud, assistant managing editor/sports, corresponding via e-mail. "For the time being, we are having other staff writers help out our No. 1 guy, Mike Klis."

In the meantime, Hochman is being bumped up to a columnist, a role for which the Post already seemed well-stocked given the presence of Mark Kiszla (featured in the new radio/video sports-talk show The Press Box) and Woody Paige (who's writing less than he once did, but still maintains a weekly presence).

Does the move indicate that the Post has decided that given how many online sports sites offer game analysis and the like, the paper needs to push opinion and personality in order to stand out? Rather than answering this question directly, Monserud offers this: "Benjamin is moving into a columnist role with a heavy emphasis on producing online content throughout the day. We are continually looking to improve our content and reach online, and moving a talented reporter such as Benjamin into this new role we think will help us do that."

The online aspect may explain why Hochman got the gig, as opposed to more veteran presences like Klis and Terry Frei, both of whom write occasional columns on their beats but aren't performing that function full-time. Hochman is young and has a big personality that he displays on his first of what will become regular videos on the latest developments in the sporting world. Be prepared when you click, because he literally shouts with enthusiasm at the start of the clip:

With Hochman gone, the Nuggets beat was open -- but Monserud says it's been filled by Chris Dempsey, a staffer with a lot of potential who backed up Hochman in recent years. He's a fine choice.

Chris Dempsey.
Chris Dempsey.

Meanwhile, other sports positions are in motion at the Post. The other parties involved: Tom Kensler, who'd covered the CU Buffs in addition to specializing on the golf beat, and John Henderson, assigned to report about college sports in general.

"Tom Kensler is moving to CSU coverage," Monserud reveals. "He's also our golf writer, so he's focused on the Solheim Cup this week. John Henderson will focus on CU, but also covers other things, such as cycling."

Regarding CU-Boulder, why not save a position and use coverage from the Boulder Daily Camera, a Post sister paper? Answer: It's already happening, and the sharing won't stop anytime soon.

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"We do share resources with Boulder," Monserud stresses. "They use many of our stories most every day, and we use their CU coverage when we're not up there. We started that last year and will continue to do so."

As one would expect when it comes to newspapering in the 21st Century. Here's another daily video update from Benjamin Hochman, followed by Kiszla on The Press Box.

More from our Media archive: "Denver Post execs on in-print, web changes, status of Colorado Rockies stake for sale."


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