More Messages: Symbiosis

Because Denver continues to have a severe shortage of celebrities, the gossip columnists at the dailies regularly create their own -- and the results can be awkward. Today, for instance, the Denver Post's Bill Husted devoted a third of his column to the impending departure of Lisa Herzlich, who's handled public relations at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center for the past fourteen years. Yet Husted's treatment was modest and proportional in comparison with the gushy hagiography composed by Penny Parker, his counterpart at the Rocky Mountain News. All but a few sentences of Parker's space were filled with tributes to the "marvelous marketing maven," including one from Mayor John Hickenlooper, who surely must have better things to do. Doesn't he?

Okay, Herzlich's shift to Los Angeles, where she'll serve as senior vice president and marketing director of L.A. Live, a multi-billion-dollar entertainment project owned by AEG, one of gazillionaire Phil Anschutz's many firms, is newsworthy. The Post published an article in today's business section on the topic, and the Rocky ran a similar piece -- and both were perfectly fine. But just because Herzlich has dealt with stars via her work with Cherry Creek's Mask Project (an extremely successful annual benefit for the Hospice of Metro Denver) doesn't mean she would qualify as one in New York, Chicago, Miami and so on. Pretending otherwise makes Denver seem about as cosmopolitan as Hooterville.

Still, Parker and Husted do have difficult tasks. They've got a lot of space to fill and not nearly enough famous people to help them fill it. No wonder these scribes are so fond of pros like Herzlich. Without such symbiotic relationships, they'd be stuck writing about where members of the Denver Broncos eat after games.

Oh, wait a minute. They do that, too. -- 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