"Trillion-Dollar Trouble," the first part of a Denver Post special report entitled "State of Decay," is a major piece of work. Reporter David Olinger has assembled a slew of shocking facts about the state's crumbling infrastructure -- for example, "the capacities of 169 dams have been restricted until repairs can be made" -- into a compendium of deterioration that grows more unsettling with each paragraph.
In recent years, the Post hasn't offered up many major projects like this one. Unlike the late Rocky Mountain News, which regularly swung for the fences (sometimes going yard, sometimes striking out), the Post has tended to settle for singles or doubles. But at a time of shrinking resources at traditional media operations, the Post is among the few outlets in Colorado capable of pulling off something so sweeping and ambitious -- and Olinger's success at doing so in this case represents the rising tide that lifts all boats. From first page to last, today's Post is the best edition issued since the Rocky shut down -- the one that proves how good the broadsheet can be even as it provides a compelling argument for why newspapers remain important in this still-young century. More, please.