Political reporters for Fox affiliates across the country often have a difficult time establishing themselves as objective and journalistically credible owing to the slant associated with the Fox News cable channel.
But that's never been a problem for Fox31's Eli Stokols. From the beginning of his run in the Denver market, he's been seen as among the smartest, sharpest, most dogged investigators working political terrain — and he does't give a free pass to anyone, no matter their ideology or party affiliation.
As such, local viewers will likely feel mixed emotions upon learning that Stokols will be leaving the station in order to take a position with POLITICO, the influential magazine and website.
Here's how Holly Gauntt, vice president and news director for Fox31 and CW2, announced the development to her staff late yesterday afternoon.
I am fairly certain it comes as a surprise to no one that Eli’s aspirations and dreams have long involved our nation’s Capital!
He has been our political reporter for the past 7 years and in addition to reporting and anchoring for KDVR/KWGN, he’s been hosting our political show COpolitics. Eli has built a reputation as one of the best local political reporters in the country. In fact, the last few years he has been honored by the Washington Post’s political blog, “The Fix”, as one of the best in the country. And now he has the opportunity to live in that part of the country!
Both CNN and POLITCO have come knocking, each wanting Eli to join their political team. After much soul searching, Eli has chosen to accept the job with POLITICO. It is one of the most well respected political websites/blogs in the country.
Please join me in congratulating Eli on landing his dream job! Eli will be with us for a few more weeks while we look for his replacement. When we’ve settled on his last day, I’ll let you know.
Contacted via e-mail, Stokols confirms the move while stressing the difficulty of the decision to take the leap.
"For a political reporter, Colorado is fertile soil," he writes. "I've been lucky to have had strong support from Peter Maroney and my bosses at KDVR Fox31 to focus on that beat year round, even when it wasn't campaign season and a lot of producers would probably have preferred to have me chasing snowstorms or shootings."
"I couldn't have asked for more in this job: opportunities to launch a weekly show that has devoted serious air time to serious, substantive conversations about politics, policy and broader issues; opportunities to anchor newscasts five nights a week, something I've actually had a blast doing alongside Aristea Brady on KWGN Channel 2; and opportunities to write longer pieces about Colorado politics for other outlets," he points out.
"After nearly a decade here, I'm excited about a chance to re-plant myself in a way," Stokols goes on. "POLITICO has offered me an opportunity to take my journalism in a different direction, to cover the 2016 presidential race on a national platform and to be part of a team of reporters and editors that is second to none. I'm so grateful to POLITICO editor Susan Glasser for this opportunity and thrilled to have the chance to learn from her and so many others.
"My girlfriend, Ellie Atkeson, and I are excited about what's ahead for us and our chihuahua, Jasper, in DC," he adds. "The hard part is starting to say goodbye to Colorado and so many friends, Fox31 colleagues, politicians and all the politicos who've made this work so fulfilling and so fun. Building real relationships is what enables a journalist to get information, to get at the heart of the story. It's also what makes a transition like this bittersweet."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.