The buyout packages accepted by sixteen Denver Post staffers don't become official until June 15 -- but the broadsheet is already taking steps to reduce its staff by the equivalent of 21 more positions. As noted in an e-mail sent out under the signature of Post editor Greg Moore on the afternoon of June 11, five individuals whose employment isn't governed by newspaper guild contracts were given their walking papers, including a pair of prominent names: columnist Jim Spencer and longtime scribe Todd Engdahl.
Here's the memo:
To the Staff:
As you have probably already heard, some very good journalists lost their jobs today. This is always difficult and today was no exception. We did involuntary separations for five exempt employees: Jim Spencer, Todd Engdahl, Regina Avila, Kay Jarvis and Carla Kimbrough-Robinson. All have contributed much to this paper and we will miss them. Their last day is Friday, June 15. These departures are on top of the 16 voluntary ones we announced Friday. In coming days, we will be reviewing remaining staffing, the budget and the newsroom reorganization. It is clear that we will be changing how we do business. Your patience is appreciated. More details to come.
The other three folks let go toiled behind the scenes at the Post. Avila served as a librarian, Jarvis was a news editor, and Kimbrough-Robinson handled recruitment -- a task that's of less importance at the paper now than at any time in recent memory. Indeed, just last month, as documented in this blog, Kimbrough-Robinson sent a note to staffers promoting a June 1 job search seminar whose first line read, "Thinking of making a career transition?"
The speed with which Spencer and company are leaving suggests that the paper wants to get all jettisoned workers off the books by July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. That makes editor Moore's promise of "more details to come" seem particularly foreboding. -- 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.