The Denver Post Huddles Up

The reorganization of the Denver Post newsroom, teased in this July 6 More Messages blog, has finally been completed, according to an e-mail penned by editor Greg Moore that was sent to staffers late on the afternoon of July 10. The communique, which is reproduced below, indicates how massive this undertaking was. Reporters and editors throughout the staff have been shuffled and shuffled and shuffled again, with many being asked to tackle entirely new duties.

Here's the memo:


I wanted to share with you the names of reporters and editors who will be working on the various teams that have been created. As I mentioned, all of these teams are critical as we go forward to address the online and print product needs. I believe we have excellent personnel on every team and I am pleased that folks are embracing their new roles and the challenges ahead.

The Breaking News team: Judy Howard, team leader, and Vikki Migoya and Jim Bates, editors. Reporters: Mike McPhee, John Ingold, Manny Gonzales, Kirk Mitchell, Howard Pankratz, Kieran Nicholson, Tom McGhee and the two year-round interns assigned to the old city desk.

This team, as I have said, is critical to our ability to become a more dominating site for breaking news on the web. We want to grow our audience online by being the place to go for breaking news as well as video, audio and photography. Judy has really embraced the possibilities of the web and understands the importance of breaking news. Vikki's aggressiveness and organizational skills make her an obvious choice for helping us develop a more organized approach to the web and Jim will anchor the operation in the evenings as well as serve as the ranking editor here after 8 at night. This team of veteran reporters will be the first responders on a range of breaking news and will be tasked with translating some of those breaking news stories for the next day's print edition.

The Public Affairs team: Chuck Murphy, team leader, and Curtis Hubbard, Cynthia Pasquale and Mark Jaffe, editors. Reporters and beats: Politics - Karen Crummy; DNC - Chuck Plunkett (Kevin Dale); Denver City Hall - George Merritt; Law enforcement/Denver PD - Chris Osher; Education/DPS - Jeremy Meyer; Science/local medicine - Katy Human; State Legislature - Jen Brown and Mark Couch; Environment/Public lands - Steve Lipsher; Water - Kim McGuire; Federal court and agencies - Felisa Cardona; Higher Ed - Allison Sherry; Denver District Court - Art Kane; Aurora - Carlos Illescas; Jefferson County - Ann Schrader; South suburbs - Joey Bunch; North suburbs - Monte Whaley; Religion/Culture Wars - Electa Draper; Transportation - Jeff Leib; Colorado Springs - Erin Emery; Washington - Anne Mulkern; Obituaries - Virginia Culver

This team is charged with getting breaking news directly off their beats onto the web quickly, figuring out which of those stories make it into the paper in a way that does not repeat the headline that was on the web all day long and breaking exclusive stories with the potential impact to force other news organizations to follow. Reporters on this team will be looking for hard news, first and foremost, but also profile, issue and trend stories that are page one worthy. Chuck is a proven leader and hard charger who is a natural to run this team, which has been the heart of the metro beat structure. The other editors on the team are steeped in our hard news operation. All of the reporters will have editors they can work with in small groups and this should result in more attention to crafting ideas and stories to achieve what we are looking for day to day.

The Anchor team: Ray Rinaldi and Lee Ann Colacioppo, team leaders. Reporters: Kevin Simpson, Michael Booth, Colleen O'Connor; Karen Auge; Michael Riley; Nancy Lofholm, Jason Blevins, Bill Porter and Rich Tosches.

This team is tasked with developing in-depth stories that can anchor our front page 3 to 4 days a week. The hallmark of these pieces will be the depth of reporting, the detail and writing that will distinguish The Post as a place for good narrative and conceptual journalism. Work should be well coordinated with photo and graphic departments.

Investigative team: Jeff Taylor, team leader. Reporters: Susan Greene, Miles Moffeit and David Olinger. Greg Griffin will join this team when he returns from sabbatical.

Business team: Steve McMillan, team leader. Kristi Arellano, editor. Jeff Taylor will provide oversight to Business. This team will be joined by reporters Elizabeth Aguilera, Karen Rouse and David Migoya.

Features: Dana Coffield becomes the Features Editor. Claire Martin moves to take over Colorado Sunday and help out with Fitness and Lifestyles sections as a writer.

Entertainment: Tom Walker takes over the editing role that Bill Porter performed. Tom will still have a hand in books as well. Quite a balancing act, but with some additional editing help for entertainment, we should be able to pull it off.

Lastly, with the breakdown of the traditional metro operation, covering weekend shifts become a paper wide responsibility. Currently there is a rotation for the 3 to midnight shift on Saturday for reporters. That shift will be spread among all of the reporters on the Public Affairs team, the Investigative team, the Anchor team and the Business team. That will work out to being roughly two Saturday nights a year. We will still be looking for volunteers for holidays. In the past those shifts have not been very difficult to fill.

With this reorganization, we have been able to solve most of the weekend editing shifts except for the Saturday day shift. That shift will be rotated among Lee Ann Colacioppo, Ray Rinaldi, Chuck Murphy, Cynthia Pasquale, Curtis Hubbard, Mark Jaffe, Steve McMillan, Kristi Arellano, Carlos Illescas, Art Kane, Judy Howard, Jeff Taylor, and Dana Coffield.

We will be moving staff around, but not next week. This is a massive undertaking for DNA's IT department. We will be discussing appropriate seating with team leaders and moving quickly. But in the meantime, please be patient.

I plan to meet with each of the teams next week. The changes all take effect Monday, July 16.



How much input did the various staffers have in determining their forthcoming roles? Plenty, if the experience of David Migoya is any indication. Migoya spent years as one of the Post's top investigative reporters before taking on the human services beat approximately eighteen months ago. However, he says he was interested in giving the business section a try, and after he mentioned this possibility to editors, they made it happen. Far from being upset about not being part of the presumably higher profile Anchor or Investigative teams, Migoya expresses excitement that he'll be taking on fresh challenges in a new setting; he's spent over twenty years working cityside.

Moore and company are clearly hoping that these moves will help the remaining staff move forward and refix their focus on journalism after a period of retrenchment and confusion symbolized by buyouts, layoffs and paranoia. That makes July 16 a very big day at the Post. -- Michael Roberts