| Media |

Rocky Reverses Caucus Ban For Employees

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

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

Here it is: Super Tuesday, February 5, when politically active Coloradoans will gather to caucus in greater numbers than ever before. And thanks to an eleventh hour agreement with the Denver Newspaper Guild, Rocky Mountain News employees will be able to join them in a personal rather than professional capacity.

This January 30 More Messages blog includes a memo from Rocky editor/publisher/president John Temple that's hard to misinterpret. "Because caucuses are party activities that involve expressing your political position in public, you should not attend them, unless you’re covering them for the Rocky," he wrote. In the days that followed, the Denver Newspaper Guild raised objections to this dictate, as well as to a less sweeping one issued by Denver Post editor Greg Moore that can be accessed here. "We found that there is a state law that appears to prevent employers from precluding employees from participating in caucuses," Guild representative Tony Mulligan said -- and after some back and forth, the Post's Moore modified his policy in a note published in a February 4 More Messages item. At that time, the Rocky's Temple still hadn't capitulated, but he subsequently did so in a memo that portrays his previous missive as a mere suggestion rather than an order -- spin worthy of any serious presidential candidate.

The latest memo reads as follows:


As you may know, the Guild has filed a grievance and threatened to file an injunction against the News over the memo I sent out about the caucuses. The guild is citing a Colorado law and is contending that the law gives everyone the right to participate in a caucus.

Because neutrality and the absence of the appearance of a conflict in reporting on political events is critical to the credibility of any news organization, my memo was intended to remind employees about the News' ethics policy for journalists. The News did not intend to abridge the rights of its employees; merely to remind everyone of our policy on political activity. To clear up any confusion, if you participate in a caucus, you are doing so in a personal capacity, and cannot hold yourself out during the caucus as an employee of the Rocky Mountain News. Further, if you participate in the caucus, within 48 hours you must notify the newspaper management so it can make future political coverage decisions and protect the integrity of the newspaper.

John Temple

Well done, sir. Give that man a hand. -- 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.