Media

More Messages: Giving Credit

At the height of Denver's newspaper war, the local dailies' habit of not citing their crosstown competitor in stories that were clearly inspired by the work of said rival was unfortunate, but at least there was an understandable rationale for it. Today, the joint operating agreement that links the business concerns of the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News has rendered the all's-fair-in-love-and-battle excuse null and void -- yet the Rocky continues to play the same intelligence-insulting game.

Exhibit A is "Online Academy Reveals Changes," an article the tabloid published today. The piece concerns Hope Co-Op Online Learning Academy, an organization critics charge with funneling state tax dollars to schools affiliated with religious institutions in possible violation of state law. Hope counters that it's doing nothing wrong, and touts curriculum symbolized by the image from its website seen here.

In her piece, Rocky reporter Nancy Mitchell points out that Hope placed one of the 81 learning centers it runs on probation and plans to review the others, but she fails to note what precipitated this action. Why? Because the main motivation was a first-rate investigative story about Hope that appeared on the October 18 front page of, yes, the Denver Post.

Granted, the Rocky has written plenty about Hope in the past. This page on Hope's site contains links for two laudatory offerings from July -- one a news item about impressive test scores, the other a positive editorial. Moreover, the Rocky published another attaboy editorial about Hope on October 17.

Even so, the latest developments are taking place in direct response to the Post's efforts. To not acknowledge this fact does a disservice to readers and makes the Rocky seem both churlish and childish. The war's over, guys, and while it's great that competition remains fierce, that's no excuse for pretending that the other guy doesn't exist. -- 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