As noted in this June 11 blog, Denver Post editor Greg Moore announced to his staff that sixteen people had decided to accept a buyout package offered to workers age fifty and older -- but he also conceded that these individuals had the right to change their mind prior to a June 15 deadline. In the end, two employees -- longtime reporter Mike McPhee and columnist Diane Carman -- chose to stick around, while fourteen left the building. According to a memo penned by Jeanette Chavez, the paper's managing editor/administration, the departing journos are Jack Cox, Dick Kreck, Greg Henry, Jerry Cleveland, John Aloysius Farrell, Mark Harden, Linda Castrone, Joe Watt, Ellen Sweet, Gary Yunt, Jerry Williams, Bonnie Gilbert, Peggy Hoffman and Paul Simon (no, not that Paul Simon -- although he may look upon the deal as a bridge over troubled water).
Strangely enough, however, no mention of these changes have yet appeared in the Post, with the bizarre quasi-exception of a June 17 piece by sports columnist Woody Paige.
Although "We're Left to Sadly Turn the Page," the column in question, name checks long ago Post sports editor Otto Floto, it's only tangentially sports-related. After running through a roster of past notables who scribbled at Denver dailies, including Damon Runyan, Paige points out that "buyouts, encouraged retirements, involuntary separations, mergers and a declining economy, and changes in reading habits have stripped both newspapers of spirited souls and beating hearts." He then pays tribute a slew of newspaper types, including former Rocky Mountain News toilers Dusty Saunders, Robert Denerstein and Lou Kilzer, as well as folks from the Post such as Henry, Yunt, Cleveland and Hoffman, a sports administrative assistant whom he calls "the constant, consummate professional presence in a world of chaos and scores."
Nice sentiments, but they exist in a vaccum, since the Post hasn't bothered updating readers who still read it the old-fashioned way. An Associated Press effort that cites the original sixteen figure can be found on the broadsheet's website, but nothing's turned up in print to date, and there's no telling when it will. In response to questions about the fourteen takers, editor Moore told Westword via e-mail that he won't be able to address the subject until he's completed "this difficult process."
Meanwhile, folks at the Post remain in limbo, not knowing if further layoffs are coming, or if the paper will find enough savings through newsroom reorganization to protect everyone else's position. No doubt many of them found irony in one of feature writer Jack Cox's last contributions prior to exiting -- a June 19 roundup bannered "How to Retire and Really Enjoy It."
In the article, Cox doesn't mention how personal this subject is to him -- and the only readers who'll make the connection are those who caught Paige's column two days earlier. The Post does a fine job revealing bad news at other companies, but it's stumbling when it comes to reporting about itself. -- Michael Roberts