In June, we reported about the latest Denver Post buyout offer, which was intended to reduce the staff by twenty employees.
More recently, in noting that the paper had killed Viva Colorado, a publication aimed at Hispanic readers, we added that plenty of big names beyond political-reporting powerhouse Lynn Bartels were expected to accept the deal — and that's certainly come to pass.
Among those leaving the broadsheet are longtime movie critic Lisa Kennedy — a departure that calls into question the future of original film reviews at the paper — as well as society editor Joanne Davidson, veteran reporters Anthony Cotton and Claire Martin, and photo editor Dean Krakel.
In total, nineteen staffers took the buyout, but twenty people are leaving. Post editor Greg Moore confirms that presentation/design managing editor Damon Cain's position was eliminated.
Here's the buyout list, with each name followed by the employee's years of experience at the Post.
Tom Trout, 42 years, 2 months
Claire Martin, 31 years, 9 months
Lori Smith, 30 years, 8 months
Maureen Scance, 29 years, 11 months
Joanne Davidson, 29 years, 8 months
Steve Raabe, 3 days short of 29 years
Allen Daniel, 27 years, 2 months
Vickie Heath, 26 years, 10 months
Tom Kensler, 25 years, 10 months
Electa Draper, 17 years, 4 months
Bryan Moore, 16 years, 6 months
Anthony Cotton, 14 years, 6 months
Susan Clotfelter, 13 years, 9 months
Jeff Domingues, 13 years, 8 months
Lisa Kennedy, 12 years, 3 months
Tara Lutzens, 10 years, 11 months
Mark Jaffe, 10 years, 2 months
Lynn Bartels, 6 years, 5 months
Dean Krakel, 4 years, 6 months
By the way, Dean Krakel's Facebook photo gallery includes plenty of 2012 shots showing Post employees who took a previous buyout offer. Here, for instance, is a pic of Chris Metteer packing up his desk in the paper's sports department.
As for Martin, she's well known for her cheeky sense of humor, exemplified by her Twitter profile pic:
She marked her departure with this oddball tweet:
Plenty of others weren't smiling during a goodbye party held at the paper last night, including editor Moore. "As I am sure you can imagine, this is a difficult day," he noted via e-mail from the gathering.
It is disorienting, thinking about leaving. pic.twitter.com/LQTZqUZt3M— Claire Martin (@ByClaireMartin) July 27, 2015
The impact on readers will likely be substantial.
The collective experience of the folks who are leaving can be measured in centuries, and that kind of institutional knowledge can't simply be replaced, especially given the shrinkage of the staff.
In 2011, the Post's newsroom sported approximately 200 people. Now, the total, by our estimate, is fewer than 150 — a drop of more than 25 percent in four years.
What happens next is anyone's guess, especially in light of the fact that the Post remains up for sale. For now, however, there'll be fewer people to decide what's fit to print.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.