Media

More Messages: Further Examination

At first blush, the classified ad recently posted on the Denver area of Craigslist.com seems pretty unexceptional. The main copy, which appears under the slug "Get Paid to Blog," reads: "Examiner.com, a progressive news and information website, is hiring professional bloggers. If you have an edgy, unique writing style that attracts and engages users, this is a great gig for you. Compensation is based on usage. For consideration, send your resume and URLs of your active blogs. We'll check them out — so you'll get at least one extra pageview just for applying."

An interesting offer -- but what it might portend is more intriguing. After all, Examiner.com is the online arm of Denver gazillionaire Phil Anschutz's Examiner newspaper project, which got its start in 2004, when Anschutz purchased the venerable San Francisco Examiner. Since then, Anschutz has launched Examiners in Washington D.C. and Baltimore as free, home-delivered daily newspapers.

Could Denver be next for a similar product? The city isn't the likeliest choice for such a launch, since it already has two daily newspapers, the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, that remain viable, if not as profitable as they once were. (As noted in this article by the News' Roger Fillon, Scripps, the Rocky's parent company, lost $3 million bucks on the Denver tab during the second quarter of 2006.) Then again, Anschutz has trademarked the Examiner name here, as well as in more than sixty other cities, and Denver remains his hometown.

Besides, there's already a Denver page at Examiner.com; it's one of twenty cities without a print-edition Examiner to be so honored. There's not much local content yet; today's home page lists six top Colorado stories, all ripped from the Associated Press wire -- and one of them, about Governor Bill Owens signing an immigration bill, dates back to July 31. But the infrastructure is in place to do more with this page -- like, perhaps, add blogs specific to Denver.

It's impossible to know for certain what's next on the horizon, since Anschutz, despite owning a newspaper chain, is notoriously press shy. Still, the ad above is certainly worth further examination. -- Michael Roberts

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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.
Contact: Michael Roberts