Denver Dailies Internal Memo Roundup

As has been regularly documented in this space, change is a constant at the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News these days, with staffers switching titles and, often, careers at a steady clip. Below, find a batch of memos from the past month or so, all of them intended to keep employees informed about the latest alterations. They involve veteran Poster Ray Rinaldi, who recently returned to his longtime arts editor position after a foray into other responsibilities, and three Rocky types who are moving on for a variety of reasons: senior editor Carol Hanner, assistant photo editor Brian James and prolific reporter Chris Barge.

First up -- the Rinaldi scenario, which is spelled out by Post editor Greg Moore:


You all know the cliché "Absence makes the heart grow fonder?" Well, it turns out to be true in the case of Ray Rinaldi.

After about a month of being back in Arts and Entertainment filling in for Ed Smith, Ray has asked to return there permanently.

While I will miss his leadership of the Anchor Team, I could not be happier. As you know, Ray ran both Arts and Features before teaming up with Lee Ann last July.

In a nutshell, Ray missed his first love: the arts and culture. And after a year of being away, he is bursting with ideas for improving an already strong section.

The decision comes just as we were about to begin interviews with an impressive group of internal and external candidates for the A&E job. That search is now over, but I want to publicly thank all of the internal candidates for their interest.

Ray will take over A&E immediately.

Greg Moore Editor The Denver Post

Next, a note about Hanner penned by Rocky managing editor Deb Goeken:

Everyone: Carol Hanner, our senior editor who has headed projects, pioneered the Content editing role that focuses on both the Web and print, and took on the all-important training function in recent months, is resigning. Carol, as you know, has been on leave the past five weeks so she could go to North Carolina and help care for her mom, Emma, who is in declining health. Carol has decided she needs to be with her mom full-time. She and her husband, Dave, will be moving there. (Dave, luckily, is a computer whiz whose bosses will let him work from home, and don't care where home is. Or what home is, for that matter, considering that this adventurous couple is going to be living in their new 40-foot travel trailer!)

Carol first worked for the Rocky as an assistant city editor, joining the paper on the day of the Broncos blizzard in October 1984 and leaving in 1988 to become managing editor of the New Haven Register in Connecticut. She then worked as AME/projects at the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, was a fellow at the University of Michigan, became managing editor of The State in Columbia, S.C., and managing editor of Phoenix New Times. Carol rejoined the Rocky in September 2002.

Carol is a first-rate journalist, smart, tenacious and focused. Her standards have always been set at the highest level. She edited Kevin Vaughan's Pulitzer-finalist series, "The Crossing," as well as countless other award-winning projects while at the Rocky.

We will miss her, and we wish her well.

Goeken also weighs in about James, whose own farewell letter follows:

Everyone: Assistant Photo Editor Brian James is leaving for a new job as production editor at a Boulder-based publishing and web company. Brian has contributed to the Rocky in so many ways, from his top-notch design skills to his ability to transition to the photo department as an excellent editor. Most recently, he's been assigned to the news desk to help us do a better job of integrating breaking news photos onto our web site. Brian is a great guy, a talented artist and a committed journalist. We were happy when he moved west and joined the Rocky, and we wish him well in his new venture. (Along the way, he also managed to pick up Holger as a father-in-law, but that's another story.) We will miss him.

Here's his good-bye, in his own words:

I have a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. I spent five years as the lead sports designer at the Detroit Free Press before realizing that I could have just as much fun at a newspaper AND be able to ride and slide down mountains on the weekends. So it was with much anticipation that I moved to Denver in 2000 and joined the Rocky as a designer. Some of the most memorable and satisfying times here came when I was assigned to work on in-depth projects with reporters and photographers. Fish Story, Chronic Wasting Disease and Russia's Rocky Flats were a few of the more notable series with which I was involved, not to mention the numerous drought, water and wildfire sections. It was that work that helped transition me to the photo desk in 2004, replacing Sonya as features photo editor. I particularly enjoyed helping out Ellen and others with photo shoots in the studio, and I'm fairly certain I hold an unofficial record for most body parts modeled for Spotlight covers. In summer 2007 I moved to sports photo editing just in time to catch the Rockies' run to the World Series, which included a few frenzied yet unforgettable evenings that Ahmad Terry, Sonya and I spent poring over and editing thousands of baseball photos. I am credited with having transmitted the very first cell-phone video for the Rocky before Game 1 at Fenway Park, documenting the last moments before the Rockies imploded.

I am leaving to become the Production Director at University Parent Media, a Boulder-based company that works with universities nationwide to create guides and web sites for parents and students.

After more than 7 1/2 years at the Rocky, it's tough to say goodbye. I truly appreciate the support from everyone and the lasting friendships I have made. My last day will be May 22.


Finally, Goeken breaks the news about Barge's departure. Barge, too, adds some thoughts of his own:

Everyone: Reporter Chris Barge is leaving us to join a Boulder non-profit (details below from Chris.) Chris most recently covered the Colorado legislature, breaking a number of stories during the past session and writing smart, in-depth enterprise pieces that added context and depth to our coverage. He joined Alan Gathright to create a memorable team that launched our legislative blog. If you haven't seen their session-ending video, check it out on our site. Pretty funny stuff for a couple of serious political reporters. Chris has always been willing to jump in and help. I remember the day of the Georgetown tunnel deaths. Chris had already worked a full day, but jumped in his car and drove up to Georgetown and wrote that story. We'll miss him, his passion for journalism and his ambition to push himself to be the best. We wish him well in this jump to a new career.


Dear colleagues,

It's with fond memories and some sadness that I leave the Rocky and close a chapter in my career that I've spent 10 years writing.

Hired in 2005 to report on the north metro suburbs, I've covered a range of topics here, including a U.S. Congressional race, the city of Aurora, Washington politics, the governor and the statehouse. Some of my favorite stories, however, didn't have much to do with those beats. They include yarns about a CU student who accidentally killed himself after turning a construction crane into a giant swing; a gun-loving family that ran away to Canada after having their "Poppa" shot by a sheriff's sniper; a high school basketball team that came to Denver from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation; and a transgendered Aurora cop.

Before joining the Rocky, I was an editor and reporter at the Boulder Daily Camera for five years. There I covered several news beats and edited the outdoors page. Prior to that I spent a year as a reporter in Grand Junction after a year as an editorial assistant at the Boston Herald. I graduated in 1998 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I studied the Psychology of Religion and Creative Writing and wrote for the Daily Tar Heel.

Newspapers have allowed me to make a living building relationships and listening to people tell their stories. My new job as Director of Philanthropic Services for the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County will allow me to continue that, though in a very different capacity. My primary responsibility now is to ensure the Foundation reaches its fundraising goals, matching private donors to the wide range of nonprofit causes they and the Foundation care most about. I'm excited about this new chapter in my work and life.

I will miss the many friends I've made here.

Best regards,

Chris Barge

There have been a lot more goodbyes than hellos at the local papers in recent years -- and given the continuing struggles of the print-journalism industry, that's likely to continue. In other words, change won't be changing anytime soon. -- Michael Roberts