Last September, the Denver Post was officially put on sale.
Since then, rumors aplenty have circulated about an impending purchase. And even though the status quo remains in place at this writing, plenty of staffers have been getting out while the getting is good.
The latest: Mike Klis, the paper's lead Broncos writer and one of its biggest names. He's making the leap to 9News, which was once the Post's TV partner. That's no longer the case, though (7News is the current spouse), and his exit from the paper was uncommonly quick. A note from editor Greg Moore confirmed that "his departure is effective immediately" — on the same day Klis live-chatted with readers about a pre-draft press conference held by Broncos exec John Elway.
Make of that what you will.
Whether or not the Post, and Media News Group in general, has a hiring freeze in place is a hotly debated subject in these parts. Plenty of journalism insiders are certain this is the case whether the paper acknowledges it or not. But in a piece encouraging the paper to hire a replacement for opinion writer Alicia Caldwell, Jason Salzman of the Big Media blog assembled a list of comings and goings that suggest the paper's staffing levels are close to where they were a year ago.
Here's Salzman's list:
List of Denver Post Departed and Hired Editorial Staff over the Past Year or So
Kristen Browning-Blas from features
Adrian Dater from sports/hockey
Mary Idler, an editorial assistant
Kristen Painter from business
Ryan Parker from police
Howard Pankratz from business
Tim Rasmussen, photo editor (replaced from within by Meghan Lyden)
Allison Sherry in D.C.
Zahira Torres from education (replaced from within by Eric Gorski)
Andy Vuong in business
Kyle Wagner from features/travel
Dave Krause (filled the opening when Dana Coffield was named business editor)
Molly Hughes for DPTV
John Frank, politics
Jon Murray, politics
Mark Matthews, (replaced Allison Sherry)
Alicia Walace (replaced Pankratz)
John Aguilar, general
Noelle Phillips, general
Jesse Paul, general
Tamara Chuang in biz (replaced Andy Vuong)
Jean Fields, Features
Brent Lewis, Photography
A replacement for Mary Idler
Meanwhile, as SportsJournalism.com confirms and we've documented, Klis is the fourth Broncos beat writer to leave the paper during the past three years, following in the footsteps of Lindsay Jones (USA Today), Jeff Legwold (ESPN) and Joan Niesen (Sports Illustrated).
On his Twitter account, which has more than 34,000 followers, Klis sent out several tweets about his new gig. Here they are:
I did mention @SusieWargin didn't I? (I'm already off to a bad start).— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) April 24, 2015
Looking forward to working with terrific video/journalists in 9News Brian Olson and John Kuhrt. They are about to be challenged.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) April 24, 2015
It's a testament to Klis's prominence that the Post chose to publish editor Moore's announcement about the move. It reads:
It is with a note of sadness that we report Mike Klis, our Broncos beat reporter, is leaving the Denver Post to join Channel 9 in a sports reporting role, focusing primarily on the Broncos. During his 17 years here, Mike has excelled. He has won numerous APSE national writing honors since he's been on the Broncos beat and is one of the hardest working journalists we've ever known. Mike covered the Colorado Rockies when he first joined the newspaper. Mike loves The Post, but at this stage of his career it was enticing to take on this new challenge. He has been an incredible force at The Post and he will be missed. His departure is effective immediately. Please wish him well in his new endeavor.
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Gracious words, certainly. But this development won't make those who remain with the paper rest easy, particularly given the uncertainty about the paper's future that's been lingering for months.