The Wednesday blog "Q&A with David Milstead About the Death of the Rocky Mountain News and the Future of the Denver Post" has prompted some extremely lively (and often nasty) commentary, much of it directed at the aforementioned Mr. Milstead, a former Rocky business writer I feel has done consistently outstanding work. Others disagree, including Denver Post chairman Dean Singleton, whose letter about my piece on the Rocky's demise anad the new-look Post -- accessible in the just-published blog "Denver Post Chairman and MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton Responds to This Week's Message Column" -- criticizes my reliance upon a specific Milstead article. That report was prompted by Milstead's discovery of a letter from executives with E.W. Scripps, ex-owners of the Rocky, that said the Denver Newspaper Agency had loaned the Post $13 million last year to cover its newsroom expenses.
Rather than silently taking this battering, Milstead has offered his own responses. After the jump, read a comment he posted on the "Q&A" blog above, which defends his reporting and takes his critics to task, as well as a note sent to yours truly inspired by Singleton's letter.
The Milstead comment on the "Q&A" blog:
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Come on folks, step on up and attach your real names to these attacks on me. You cowards.
Let me remind the factually challenged that my column last July said we were headed toward being a one-newspaper town, and each brand had particular strengths - the Rocky for selling print copies and the Post for web traffic. That would make a decision on which to close difficult.
I have the Scripps' CEO's cell phone. I have other sources. I wasn't asked in this interview to detail all the reporting I did over two months on the story.
Finally, "Good-bye"'s comments about the Post payroll/DNA story might as well have come from MediaNews headquarters. By reporting the letter, I personally assert the letter is genuine and an accurate representation of Scripps' executives views on the date it was written. Their opinion is the JOA was breached. MediaNews' opinion is that it was not. Surprise! And we'll never find out which side is right, because they won't be litigating it. But I guess because MediaNews attacks me for writing the story, they're "calling bs" and somehow proving it false.
I've had a great 15 years in journalism. But I won't miss readers like you one bit. Crawl back in your holes.
Milstead's e-mailed reaction to Dean Singleton's letter:
I would point out that the DNA partnership agreement did not contemplate what ultimately happened -- that cash distributions would be insufficient to cover newsroom costs. Rather than step up and reimburse the agency for the Post newsroom, MediaNews let the agency carry the expense for several months, starting well before Scripps notified MediaNews it wanted an exit. The partnership agreement said partners needed to reimburse the agency, but as best I can tell, no timeframe is provided. Shall we congratulate Singleton for observing the letter of the partnership agreement and not its spirit? How does this fit with Singleton's statement at the press conference that MediaNews always pays its obligations? Only now, when he owns 100 percent of the agency, and can eliminate the obligation with the stroke of a pen, instead of the cold, hard cash that would have been required before?