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The Journalism Fates of the Boulder Brauchlis

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The Denver Post recently noted that Marcus Brauchli, the just-named executive editor of the Washington Post -- easily one of the highest-profile journalism jobs in the country -- is a Boulder boy. He freelanced for the Boulder Daily Camera while attending Boulder High School and briefly worked for the Post in 1981 during a break from his studies at New York's Columbia University. The piece also quoted Brauchli's Boulder-based father, Christopher, pictured here, who was identified as an "attorney and former syndicated columnist."

In fact, Brauchli the elder wrote a column for the Camera for nearly fourteen years -- and his late 2004 departure from the paper, recounted in this Message column, was particularly unhappy.

Editors who replace columnists tend to be vague in their reasoning and almost never put down their rationale in writing. But when it came to Brauchli, Camera editorial-page editor Steve Millard made an exception. In a January 2005 letter, he declared, "Your writing has become chained to a formula. You tended to rely on the same techniques, the same sources, the same narrow range of topics and the same stock responses, week after week. More and more, you also tended to make your points by looking down your nose rather than arguing."

Brauchli felt differently, of course, and he was peeved that the Camera only published a couple of letters from readers upset at his axing; he provided yours truly with nearly a dozen supportive missives that the paper skipped. In addition, he felt supervisors erred in not explaining his disappearance in print. "To my way of thinking, sharing their reasons is preferable to saying 'We're not telling you what they are,'" Brauchli said at the time. "That makes it look as if they figured out I'm a shoplifter or who knows what -- a hint of dark things."

Supporters of Brauchli, including current congressional candidate Jared Polis, signed an advertisement asking that the columnist be reinstated, but it didn't happen. Still, he continues to write regularly at his personal website, HumanRaceAndOtherSports.com. In his July 9 offering, this consistently liberal voice actually champions a proposal by John McCain to offer incentives to citizens who come up with creative ideas for things like "a better car battery."

Perhaps Marcus can help raise his dad's profile. Given his impressive new gig, he's certainly in the position to do so. -- Michael Roberts

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