Mike Littwin, Denver Post columnist, on his move to the op-ed pages
There have been plenty of columnist-related changes at the Denver Post of late, including the resignation of Susan Greene and a plan to relocate the writings of Mike Littwin, Tina Griego and Bill Johnson.
This last move was completed yesterday by way of Littwin's debut on the op-ed pages -- a change that he agreed to make after compromises by all involved.
Littwin loved that his work appeared on page two of the physical Post, in part because he saw it as "a great drive-by location, where you can get a lot of casual readers who aren't necessarily looking for you."
Of course, this placement has no effect on those who access the publication via computer, phone and so on. But despite technology-driven changes in distribution methods, Littwin believes the majority of Post readers still check out the work of his colleagues and him on physical pages. And for the most part, so does he.
"I read the Washington Post online, the Wall Street Journal online," he admits. "But I save my Sunday New York Times to read in the newspaper -- I won't read any of it online -- and I like to read my own newspaper in paper form. And I still think about the paper in my world, in my head, in my vision, as an actual paper. So I'm very much aware of where stuff goes."
Nonetheless, Littwin was sensitive to Post editor Greg Moore's desire to move the column to the op-ed page; in an e-mail to Westword, Moore noted that it is "more customary to find the kind of column he writes" in such a spot. (Columns by Griego and Johnson now appear in the Denver and the West section.) But he didn't want less space in which to write -- op-ed columns are typically shorter than Littwin's usual 800-word allotment -- or to lose the freedom to pen reported pieces that have previously appeared in the Post's A-section.
And he won't. Littwin's word count will remain the same in his new printed home, and he'll be able to branch out to other portions of the Post for larger projects. And subject-wise, he'll have no restrictions -- the same deal he had on page two.
Granted, his deadlines will be earlier, and as a newly minted member of the Post's editorial board, he'll be on the invite list to more meetings -- a prospect that doesn't necessarily fill him with delight. "I take as much time as I can writing -- and going to meetings doesn't seem very fruitful," he allows. However, he's been told his attendance won't be mandatory -- so to a large degree, he can pick and choose which sessions to visit.
There'll be a lot to learn. "I don't have any idea how all this stuff works," he says. "Do they really vote on stuff -- like when they're trying to decide between Perlmutter and Frazier? I don't even know."
As for the reaction from readers about the switch, "a significant number of people lamented the move from page two," Littwin notes, "and I got a couple of responses saying, 'I wish you would have gone even further back in the paper.' But most of them said, 'We're glad to have you on the editorial board, and we'll read you wherever you are.'"
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