Yesterday, November 27, the Denver Post set into motion its latest round of layoffs just over a year after shrinking the newsroom staff by 26 employees through the combination of a buyout offer and supplementary dismissals. Seven positions included in the Post's contract with the Denver Newspaper Guild are affected, and another four employees working non-union gigs also appear to have been discharged.
"The Post gave the required two-week notice of layoff in seven union covered positions," notes the DNG's Tony Mulligan, corresponding via email. "Four are in the newsroom and three are in advertising support."
Mulligan points out that "in the newsroom, they are reducing by one Digital Photo Editor, one Digital Producer and two Community Journalists, the YourHub journalists. In the advertising area, they are reducing two positions that work on ad design and an advertising writer."
He adds: "I heard that four advertising managers were let go, but don't know the details."
At this point, the names of the staffers who'll be leaving the Post aren't officially known. According to Mulligan, "The contract allows for bumping back to past positions and allows for others within the affected job titles to resign or retire with severance. So we won't know who is actually leaving employment for at least a week."
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However, some clues about the machinations of the layoffs have surfaced on Twitter. At around 11:30 a.m. on the 27th, Vince Chandler, whose Twitter page describes him as a "Denver Post video ninja," tweeted: "I was informed of layoffs this morning st [sic] The Denver Post when they handed me the letter telling me about mine. Two weeks left in my dream job (if they can make it stick)."
Shortly thereafter, Chandler checked in with a twist on the story: "Proving what a wonderful, loving, family that we have at The @DenverPost (that I hate seeing torn apart btw), the near-retirement @DonPavlin fell on his sword and took my offer, keeping my job in its place. Thanks Don."
At this writing, we've been unable to reach either Chandler or Pavlin, the producer/editor of The Sports Show at the Post. Additionally, Post editor Lee Ann Colacioppo hasn't responded to an email outreach from Westword.
As for why the layoffs are happening, the struggles of the print journalism industry have been well documented, and the impact goes well beyond the Post, whose newsroom staff is now less than a third the size it was at its peak. The development is distressing for members of the journalism industry as a whole, but they should also concern news consumers who need clear-eyed, concise, fearless truth-telling now more than ever.