| Media |

Possible Fallout From the Denver Post's Front-Page Editorial About Bill Ritter

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The November 8 Message column about an editorial attacking Governor Bill Ritter discusses Post owner/publisher Dean Singleton's role in shaping the piece's message and placing it on page one. But it doesn't detail the item's possible repercussions in the newsroom -- one of several topics concerning staffers according to Post editorial page editor Dan Haley.

"Everybody comes at it from a different angle," Haley says. "Some reporters worry that readers won't know the difference between the editorial and news articles. And reporters who have to cover the target of an editorial are worried they're going to be iced out on something."

This last point is key. If Ritter's handlers want to provide a reporter with, say, an exclusive heads-up about a new appointment or policy decision, will they give it to someone at the Post? Or will they punish the paper for the editorial by handing it to a representative of another news organization? Retribution like this is difficult if not impossible to prove, but most journalists either suspect that they've been a victim of such payback or have heard from colleagues who say they've experienced something similar.

Evan Dreyer, Ritter's spokesman (and the Post's former city editor), insists that nothing of the sort will happen in this case. He feels that straight news reporting about Ritter's executive order allowing state employees to join unions if they'd like (the move that so upset Singleton) "was fair and balanced" -- including the November 4 article that ran alongside the editorial. And because, as Dreyer puts it, "we don't take any issue with the way the coverage was portrayed on the news pages," there's no reason to treat scribes on the Ritter beat any differently.

Will these reassuring words calm anxious Post reporters? It's too soon to tell -- but if the paper scores fewer Ritter-related scoops over the coming weeks, few journos will be surprised. -- Michael Roberts

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.