More Messages: Musical Chairs

Since editor Greg Moore arrived at the Denver Post in 2002, his staff has been shuffled more times than cards at a Texas Hold 'Em tournament. For the most part, though, the folks switching seats have been in the reporting ranks. Now, Moore has given several supervisors similar treatment, as he outlined this week in the following memo:

There has been a lot of speculation about staff changes and today I want to make official a series of new assignments for key personnel that will make the paper stronger.

Jeff Taylor, who has done a terrific job honchoing the metro section for nearly four years, will shift his focus to business news and investigative projects. Those of you who have worked with Jeff know him to be a creative and enterprising editor with superior technical skills. As the AME for Business and Projects, Jeff will combine two passions that I believe will serve the paper well. As AME for Local News, Jeff has led metro to terrific performances on a number of breaking news stories and had a hand in some of our more successful projects: A series on the troubles at Qwest in 2002, the reconstruction of the imploding of United Airlines in 2003 and an examination of Newmont Mining in 2004. Qwest and Newmont won the prestigious SABEW business award and United was recognized with the Morton Margolin prize for distinguished business reporting. Stephen Keating remains as business editor and will report to Jeff. Stephen has done a fine job remaking the staff and broadening the range of topics covered in the section. Under his direction we have refocused beats, produced more stories for page one and pumped up the presentation of news in that section. In 2005, we copped another SABEW award for Greg Griffin's terrific piece on Steve Farber's quest for a new kidney. Stephen's keen knowledge of the local business scene and players, combined with Jeff's experience dating back to his days at The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune, gives us an extremely strong team that should produce a solid combination of hard news and enterprise stories for the section and page one.

Chuck Murphy takes over as AME for Local News. In the three years that Chuck has been here, he has developed a reputation for being savvy and hard charging. As an assistant metro editor, he led the enterprise team and produced some memorable stories, none more so than David Migoya's piece on the Denver Police academy class dubbed "The Animals." Numerous reporters seek his counsel on public records and investigative enterprise. For nearly two years, he has been the projects editor. His team produced a revealing examination of water purchases in Colorado, spending practices in Jefferson County that resulted in the departure of a purchasing director, the Juvenile Justice series that produced legislative changes this year and the recent Toll Road series. Chuck's intensity and investigative instincts will build on the enterprising nature of our metro operation.

Joining Chuck in Metro will be Mark Rochester who for nearly four years has overseen the Sunday paper. But besides handling Sunday duties, Mark simultaneously served as national/foreign editor and projects editor -- a very heavy load. On his watch, we covered the start of the Afghanistan liberation and the war in Iraq. Both stories were handled with distinction. As projects editor, he oversaw the much-touted Betrayal in the Ranks series as well as one on children who died after coming in contact with state children services. As Sunday editor, Mark has done a very good job of putting processes in place to give us a more planned product with contributions from all over the building.

Mark's role in Metro has not been finalized, but his background as a projects editor and his well-known ability to identify and plug holes in stories will help the metro operation produce more in-depth and well reported news and enterprise. Along with Lee Ann, we have added more firepower to the heart and soul of our operation.

Taking over the Sunday paper is Kevin Dale, who has been the AME for Sports for nearly six years. Every night is election night in sports, and Kevin has handled the pressures with aplomb. He has a reputation for thinking through stories well and has demonstrated an uncommon creativity in coverage and special sections, some produced on the run. Kevin, who as been a managing editor in Fort Worth and led our on-the-ground coverage in New York after 9/11, is an excellent team leader whose background and skills will mesh well in his role as conductor for our Sunday paper.

Scott Monserud, Kevin's number 2 in sports, will take over as the top guy, in that section. Scott and Kevin have worked together in Fort Worth as well as here and have truly been partners. We will not miss a beat with Scott at the helm in sports. Scott enjoys a stellar reputation for conceptualizing and editing stories. I expect him to put his stamp on an already fine section.

There are sure to be some other changes down the road. Why now, you might ask? The answer is simple. These editors have been in their same roles for a long time now. It is important that everyone understands that there are a series of assignments one may have over the course of a career at this or any newspaper. The goal with these moves is to create new challenges and opportunities for individuals while invigorating the journalism we do.

Please join me in congratulating everyone. The changes take effect July 10.


Moore's comments about role-shifting reaffirm his philosophy about the positive aspects of shakeups. He clearly believes that comfortable journalists aren't always the best journalists. Meanwhile, the specific changes offer hints about his opinions of the Post's assorted sections. By asking the well-respected Taylor to oversee business editor Keating, Moore appears to be expressing dissatisfaction with coverage in this area, as well he should; the Rocky Mountain News' business department hammers the Post's on most days. Likewise, new blood at the helm of the Sunday Post suggests that Moore doesn't think this marquee edition has earned its time in the spotlight of late. Dale, whose work in the sports section has been consistently outstanding, is a good choice to improve the erratic track record chalked up on Rochester's watch.

And if he doesn't? Then he, like the rest of his colleagues, should be ready at any moment to move to another part of the newsroom. Because Moore disapproves of standing still.-- Michael Roberts