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Denver Post changes include new city editor Kevin Vaughan, new columnist Chuck Murphy

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Clearly, change was in the offing for the Denver Post, which confirmed last week that nineteen staffers took buyouts. But the scope of shifts among those who remain is still surprising.

Among the most notable: the naming of longtime reporter Kevin Vaughan as city editor and veteran editor Chuck Murphy as the paper's latest metro columnist.

Vaughan came to the Post after the February 2009 shuttering of the Rocky Mountain News, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for "The Crossing," a massive series about a 1961 schoolbus-train accident that took twenty lives. Since his arrival at the Post, Vaughan has frequently been assigned to cover the biggest stories of the day -- like, for instance, the shocking fall of ex-Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan. His move behind the scenes will require others at the paper to step up and into the spotlight.

Murphy will be making a similar transition, but in the opposite direction. He's spent the past eight years as an editor; most recently, he's operated under the title of public affairs team leader. As such, readers have seen relatively little of his writing. One exception: an April 2010 slice of life focusing on Monroe, Louisiana, where Murphy attended college at what was then called Northeast Louisiana University.

The Vaughan and Murphy moves are accompanied by more than a dozen other job swaps and the like. They're laid out in an internal memo by editor Greg Moore that's on view below.

When asked via e-mail about the changes as a whole, Moore replied, "I do think people like that there is movement and promotions after the trauma of buyouts and a little stagnation. We were determined to use the buyouts to create movement, momentum and opportunity, which is always exciting."

Here's the memo:

Hi Everyone:

It's been a busy day of announcements. A number of our colleagues will be taking on new leadership responsibilities and we're excited. It's great for The Denver Post.

The news has been shared with the various departments. This is to make sure everyone knows.

First, there are important changes in the local news operation.

Public Affairs and Sunday editor Chuck Murphy will become our new Metro columnist. Chuck joined The Post in 2003 and has been a force on the City Desk ever since. He is excited about his new challenge and we expect big things from him.

Kevin Vaughan is our new Senior Editor/News, supervising our Metro and YourHub teams. Kevin has extensive experience as a journalist and is eager to take on the challenge of expanding our journalism on the web and helping reinvent our print product. His instincts, acumen and enthusiasm will make The Post even better.

Lee Ann Colacioppo will become our Senior Editor/Investigations. Lee Ann has been running our investigative team for more than a year and the team has produced impressive results. She will have other special projects in her bailiwick, but we expect our investigative work to get even better.

I am also excited to announce that Kristi Arellano is being promoted to Business Editor. Since 2007, Kristi has been the deputy business editor to Steve McMillan. They have done a great job producing prize-winning business coverage and we expect that success to continue under her leadership. Her promotion creates an opening for deputy business editor. We will post that job shortly, but let Kristi know if you're interested. We will announce Steve's new duties in coming days. Steve has produced an excellent business section and under his leadership, staff stories graced page one frequently. We're looking forward to his continued contributions in a new role as we move forward.

Kevin, Lee Ann and Kristi will report directly to News Director Kevin Dale and will work together to deploy our resources to maximize impact and ensure a steady stream of exclusive journalism on all of our platforms.

There's more.

As a result of the buyout, we are reloading the leadership on the visual and copy editing side of the equation.

Jonathan Boho is being promoted to the position of Art Director. We will combine the considerable talents we have remaining in features design and graphics to form one department, simply called Art. As director, Jonathan will be responsible for spearheading our interactive graphics and design work across our various electronic platforms and coordinating graphics and illustration requests across the newsroom.

John Ealy will become our next Copy Desk Chief, replacing the great Joe Hudson. John will oversee a newly formed universal copy desk. At The Post, John has worked in sports, on the news desk, the editorial pages, as restaurant critic and in features, where he has been copy desk chief since 2007.

Matt Swaney becomes our Director of Design, responsible for the day-to-day look of the paper, and leading and mentoring our team of designers in sports, news and business. Matt joined The Post as a news designer in 2004, became lead designer earlier this year and has been a force in a our visual report.

TJ Hutchinson is being promoted to Lead Designer, responsible for handling administrative duties, systems management and assisting with continued development of our online interactive efforts.

Ray Rinaldi, who has overseen our Features content for nine years, will move to writing, working as a critic and reporter covering fine arts and the cultural scene in Colorado. Ray is a lifelong arts journalist and already writes many stories for our newspaper and website and is eager to take that on full-time.

Tucker Shaw will become Senior Editor/Features. Tucker came to the paper as restaurant critic five years ago and has been editing the Food section since 2008. His resume is vast and varied; he has written for many national magazines and has authored at least eight books. Our Food section is among the best things we do at the Denver Post. It's lively, full of great storytelling and has a keen sense of Colorado today. Tucker will bring that same vision to the new position.

Finally, on my end of the room, I am happy to announce that Monica Brewer, my able assistant virtually since I arrived, will become my Senior Administrative Assistant/Executive Secretary absorbing some of Joyce's duties.

Linda Shapley, formerly Director of Design, will become Director of News Operations, replacing the inestimable Jeanette Chavez.

Vickie Makings, who has supervised our library for years, is taking on additional responsibilities overseeing DenverPostU, our internal training/development operation. Our latest sessions on Twitter will be held the rest of this week and next. Stay tuned for more.

Whew! That's a lot. Like I said, we are happy about the new team and confident we will keep this place moving forward and, along with other changes, attack the digital challenges with gusto.

Please join me in congratulating all of our colleagues on their new roles.

Thanks Greg

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