The Denver Post Tries the Team Concept

The newsroom reshuffle at the Denver Post is proceeding apace, and in an internal e-mail sent out late on July 5, editor Greg Moore provides details about a plan he first introduced to staff during a meeting the previous week. As delineated below, the staff will be divided into a series of teams -- the "Breaking News Team," the "Public Affairs Team," the "Anchor Team" and so on -- with supervisors serving as coaches directing their charges toward the daily goal line.

The conception may seem unnecessarily rah-rah, but it's easy to understand why Moore and his fellow executives are moving in this direction. Given buyouts, layoffs and the continuing voluntary departure of other staffers, including relative youngsters such as Robert Sanchez, who just jumped to 5280 magazine, the morale at the Post is lower than the worm population of Carlsbad Caverns. Clearly, Moore feels they'll be more productive and effective if they cheer up.

Here's the memo:

Staff:

We are making our way closer to full implementation of the reorganized newsroom. Today, I want to tell you who the team leaders will be for the various teams that were announced at the staff meeting last week. I am very excited about these teams and believe the work you are about to embark upon for the web and for print is going to be fun and invigorating.

You will learn what teams you are on from your team leaders in the next few days. They look forward to speaking with you and thinking through approaches to the work. Some of you will be in unfamiliar positions or be challenged in ways you might not have imagined. But all of these changes are designed to maximize each of your talents for the benefit of the paper and the readers.

At the staff meeting I explained we are creating a Breaking News Team, an Anchor Team and a Public Affairs Team. I will be meeting with all teams in the weeks ahead to talk more about expectations and what we hope to achieve.

The team leader for Breaking News is Judy Howard. The Breaking News team will be expected to file for the web throughout the day and to handle breaking stories that are targeted for print. The Public Affairs team will be led by Chuck Murphy. That team is the heart of the beat operation in Metro and those writers are expected to file for the web and produce exclusive stories for print. It is critical that we offer consumers something beyond what they heard on radio or saw on TV or read online. The Anchor Team, charged with doing fresh, in-depth stories that can anchor our front page as centerpieces, will be led by Ray Rinaldi and Lee Ann Colacioppo.

The Business Team will be led by Steve McMillan (with continued oversight by Jeff Taylor, who remains in charge of our Investigative Team.) Its mission is the same as the Public Affairs team.

Sports has retooled its mission to focus even more intensely on local news and teams and Scott Monserud continues in charge of Sports. Ed Smith remains in charge of Entertainment and Dana Coffield will take over as the head of Features. There will no longer be an Assistant Managing Editor over Features and Entertainment. This flattening of the organizational structure is expected to work well with the outstanding personnel there.

All of the new team leaders will be contacting reporters who are on their teams. Other team leaders will be reorganizing how some of their work is done and by whom. We have not selected a firm date for implementing all of the changes, but some assignments will begin almost immediately. I know the team leaders are eager to get started and begin working with their teams.

There will also be some restructuring of the workspaces to facilitate a closer working relationship among teams. More on that later. If you have ideas about how to use the space we have even better than we do, please talk to your team leaders or Jeanette Chavez. We will consider all thoughts and ideas.

I know change is difficult. You all have been great through this whole process. And while some routines will change, I honestly believe the work and challenges will be reinvigorating for all of us and lead to a better news product both online and in print.

Thank you.

Greg

Go, teams, go. -- Michael Roberts

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