Denver Post loses third Broncos reporter in a year-plus just before championship game

Back in October, the Denver Post laid off several people, but quite a few others are leaving voluntarily, with the sports department, a key to the paper's pageview prowess, being especially hard hit.

Three Broncos reporters have left in a span of just over a year, including Joan Niesen, who split amid the team's ongoing playoff run -- and numerous notable staffers are going or gone, too.

Editor Greg Moore comments on the departures and reassures readers below.

While many journalists leaving newspapers have had a hard time finding new gigs in the profession, the Post's departing Broncos reporters haven't suffered this fate. Indeed, all three have been cherry-picked by national outlets.

First, in October 2012, Lindsay Jones was snapped up by USA Today. Then, this past summer, Jeff Legwold jumped to ESPN. And now, Niesen, who's only been on the job at the Post for a few months, has inked with Sports Illustrated.

Likewise, deputy sports editor David Krause signed up with 9News not long ago. And now, Moore confirms that John Henderson, who was shifted to a focus on CU-Boulder football in a sports department shuffle at the start of this past season, is retiring and moving to Italy.

The timing of Henderson's life change is just as potentially problematic for the Post as is Niesen's. That's because Henderson also has a specialty in Olympics coverage, and the start of the winter games in Sochi, Russia, is only a few weeks away.

When we reached out to Moore, he not only confirmed all the info shared above, but mentioned two additional folks who are moving on: artist Tom McKay and Michael Booth, a longtime staffer and past columnist who has most recently been serving as a health reporter. "They will be missed," he writes via e-mail.

Still, Moore doesn't think the goodbyes suggest a lack of faith in the future of the Post among its employees.

"The economy is getting better and people are feeling confident about trying new things," he notes.

Moore adds that "there are great opportunities for talented journalists working for very good publications. I have no problem with people doing what's best for themselves."

Regarding the Broncos beat, and this weekend's AFC Championship game, he stresses that "there will be no change in coverage plans or ambition" as a result of the numerous scribes who've parted ways with the paper. "We will be fine" -- and he points out that "we will be at the Olympics," too.

Lately, the Post hasn't always brought new journalists aboard when veterans leave. But in this case, Moore reveals that "we will fill the openings we have. There is no shortage of talented people applying for those openings."

No wonder, given how many Broncos reporters have used the Post as a stepping stone to high-profile gigs.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Media archive circa November 2013: "Denver Post CEO Mac Tully on new paywall, taking over from Dean Singleton."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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