Post's soldier story made for the web

Unlike most Denver TV stations, the Denver Post leads its offerings today with a report inspired by 9-11. Blessedly, though, it's not another roundup of anecdotes from people recalling where they were or what they were doing eight years ago today. Instead, the paper offers the first segment in a three-part series about Ian Fisher, a Bear Creek High School grad who the paper has been following since 2007, when he volunteered to join the Army. It's a fresh way to cover the subject, and the Post deserves credit for devoting the resources necessary to make it happen, particularly given the shrinkage the newspaper industry has undergone of late. But while the spread in today's physical edition is impressive, part one truly lives and breathes on the web, where the paper supplements text with plentiful videos, interactive maps and many more memorable photographs taken by Craig F. Walker. Last night, Channel 9, the Post's broadcast partner, teased the report by focusing on Walker, and that's appropriate. His lens is undeniably eloquent.

Of late, the Post's Dean Singleton has been talking about charging for online content, and Fisher's tale is certainly worth the price of admission. At the same time, though, one of the primary reasons to construct a pay wall is to prevent print circulation from deteriorating, as Post publisher and de facto owner Dean Singleton confirmed in a wide-ranging May Q&A. Subscribers would have access to online material, of course, but managers need to make sure they maintain the quality of the paper itself -- a symbol of old technology, sure, but one that continues to drive the Post's operation as a whole. That's a war Singleton needs to win to survive.

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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