Refocusing the Camera

With buyout offers and other efforts at staff shrinkage taking place at the state's two biggest newspapers, the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, little media attention has been given to happenings at Boulder's main broadsheet, the Camera. However, sources inside the paper (which, like the Rocky, is owned by Ohio's E.W. Scripps firm) have been saying for months that changes were coming -- and over the past several weeks, the picture has gotten clearer.

Some of these alterations have been purely cosmetic. As noted in this April article by editor Kevin Kaufman, the paper was recently redesigned and its name was shortened from Daily Camera to what Kaufman describes as its original name. (The fact that the Colorado Daily, a quasi-rival of the Camera for decades, is now its sister publication was likely a factor.) However, information about staff departures only appeared in the Kaufman-penned memo reproduced below, which was sent to editorial types on May 10. Those splitting are Louisville and Superior reporter Eric Schmidt (pictured), business reporter Greg Avery and librarian (and wife of bluesman Otis Taylor) Carol Taylor. In addition, science and environment reporter Todd Neff is off on a one-year leave of absence.

The buyout deals at the Rocky and the Post are aimed at staffers age 55 and over. This proposal wouldn't have worked at the Camera, an operation with a much younger overall workforce. Hence, rumors have been flying that two or three layoffs would be taking place soon -- and as a result of this buzz, numerous folks at the Camera have been considering other options. That made things easier on Kaufman, who bid farewell to the aforementioned group in breezy style. Here's his memo:

All --

Wow, it's been a week.

Really great newspapers, lots of wonderful stories in all quarters, nice photos, layout, web updates, etc.

Thanks all for all the good, hard work.

We're also seeing a lot of staff mobility this week.

If you see Todd Neff, tell him congrats on being accepted to the Scripps Fellowship for Environmental Journalism. Todd's done a great job and is so very deserving of this opportunity. He'll be taking a one-year leave starting the first of June.

We'll be keeping that FTE open.

Carol Taylor also will be leaving us June 1. I haven't had a chance to chat with her yet, but I know it's been a challenging time in the library biz here and, well, I hear Carol plans to travel the world with her famous musician husband -- who has reached such status he's now in the NYT crossword. What an awesome opportunity. I'm jealous. Congrats Carol -- you have done such a wonderful job here. Thanks.

We'll be training some other folks on updating the electronic archive, shuffling some duties, etc.. As I figure out the future of our hard copy archive, I'd ask everyone to please take care of it, treat materials back there kindly, refile files you use, etc.

Eric Schmidt has taken a job with the Children's Hospital in Denver. His charming wife works there and I suspect he really just wants to hang out with her all the time . Actually, he'll be doing a bunch of writing for their Web site, which I understand they're overhauling. To think Eric started with dirt writing the music beat, until he came to his senses and took on a real beat -- Louisville/Superior/Transportation. I'm bummed, but I know Eric is stoked. His last day is May 23. Congrats Eric.

We're looking at resumes starting today. Know any kick butt journalists who can crank out a done [ton?] of copy day in and day out? Let me know.

Finally, (wow, it has been a week) ...

As Greg Avery prepares to become a new and first-time dad, he's also taking on a new career challenge. Greg has accepted a job with the Denver Business Journal. Tons more money and straight 9-5 days, apparently swayed him. Oh, and it is a dandy publication that will provide him some terrific opportunities. Greg has had a wonderful run here and we'll miss him -- like the other three -- very much. His last day also will be May 23. Best of luck Greg -- on both the job and baby.

We'll be evaluating the best course in replacing Greg. More to come.

So, if you see Todd, Carol, Eric and Greg, please tell em congrats and thanks for all they've done here to make the Camera such a terrific paper and place to work.

And yes, things will be a little tricky for a bit but we'll get through this stretch . hang in. We've got such fantastic momentum, let's not let that slip out of our grasp.

Godspeed. And Rock On.

. kk

Unlike the Rocky and the Post, which have chosen not to fill the positions of most staffers who go elsewhere, the Kaufman message implies that the Camera may actually do some hiring. The exception seems to be Taylor's job. With her on the road with her gifted husband, those she leaves behind at the Camera may soon be singing the blues. -- 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