Same Op-Ed Runs Twice in Saturday Rocky Mountain News

Since the institution of a joint-operating agreement linking business operations at the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, the papers have repeatedly emphasized that their editorial departments operate independently. This point was reinforced in the Saturday, November 17 Rocky, albeit in an embarrassing way.

That day's Business section included "Ritter's Order Puts State's Competitive Edge at Risk," an attack on Colorado Governor Bill Ritter's recent executive order regarding unions that was authored by Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Joe Blake (pictured) and John Ikard, the chairman of the chamber's board of directors. Meanwhile, on the editorial page designated for the Post under the JOA, the same opinion piece ran again under a slightly different headline, "Ritter's Action Threatens Colorado's Competitiveness."

This double dip demonstrates that folks at one paper really do make decisions without consultation with their opposite numbers -- but it also makes both news organizations look clueless and inattentive. Having someone at the Rocky eyeball the Post's Saturday submission to guarantee that its contents don't duplicate anything else in the paper -- and reversing the roles on Sunday, when the Rocky has an editorial page in the Post -- wouldn't undermine the spirit of self-determination. It's a sensible compromise given the fact that civic heavy hitters such as Blake and Ikard routinely submit the same column to both dailies. But either that wasn't done in this case or whoever's tasked with the responsibility missed the edition's two-for-one special. -- Michael Roberts