The Denver Post isn't only losing thirty newsroom staffers via layoffs dictated by its "vulture" hedge fund owner, Alden Global Capital. The broadsheet is also bidding farewell to Nicki Jhabvala, Nick Kosmider and Nick Groke, three prominent sportswriters and Denver Broncos specialists who are leaping to The Athletic, a rapidly growing online sports website whose apparent interest in wiping out daily newspapers Jhabvala chastised in a tweet sent out mere months ago.
On October 23, Jhabvala, the Post's lead writer on the Broncos beat, tweeted a comment attributed to The Athletic co-founder Alex Mather from "Why The Athletic Wants to Pillage Newspapers," a New York Times article. "We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing," Mather is quoted as saying. "We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them."
In response, Jhabvala wrote, "Failing to see why The Athletic needs to destroy us in order to be successful."
This take made a March 26 tweet from longtime Post journalist David Migoya even more surprising. "Today we learned the @denverpost has lost valuable teammates @NickiJhabvala @nickgroke and @NickKosmider not to layoffs but to competitor TheAthletic that's making a Denver presence. Won't be the same w/o them," Migoya wrote.
A short time later, Jhabvala confirmed the accuracy of Migoya's revelation. Her tweet reads, "It's true. I'm so grateful for my time at the @denverpost and for the opportunity to work...with so many talented and amazing journalists. And I'm incredibly excited for my next journey, covering the Broncos for @TheAthleticHQ."
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Corresponding with Westword via email, Jhabvala echoed these observations. "I'm incredibly grateful to have worked for The Post the last four years," she writes. "Enjoyed every minute." Kosminder, for his part, declined to comment, while Groke has not responded to an interview request at this writing.
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Viewed collectively, these departures from the Post continue what has become a tradition of other news agencies luring away its sportswriters — particularly experts on the Broncos.
Examples? In April 2015, reporter Mike Klis became the fourth Broncos-beat writer to leave the Post in three years, following Lindsay Jones (who left for USA Today), Jeff Legwold (he went to ESPN) and Joan Niesen (she inked with Sports Illustrated). He was followed the next year by Troy Renck, who took a new position at Denver7. And that's not to mention longtime sports columnist Woody Paige, now opining for the Colorado Springs Gazette in addition to a regular gig on ESPN.
No surprise that Jhabvala, Kosmider and Groke weren't earmarked for layoffs: Sports coverage in general and Broncos reportage specifically remain the Post's primary cash cows. But as noted by outdoor writer Jason Blevins, who announced that he would be voluntarily leaving the paper after the downsizing news broke, the morale among Post workers "can't be good. It can't be that cheerful of a place after they moved us into the back corner of the printing press [in Adams County] and started hacking at the limb with a dull blade."
In other words, it's the Post's owner that looks to be destroying the paper. The Athletic is simply taking advantage.