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The Monday Squeeze Play at the Denver Post

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The last item in the February 7 Message found Denver Post editor Greg Moore explaining the decision to combine the broadsheet's Denver & the West and Business sections Monday through Friday. However, Moore didn't mention another squeeze play -- one that's on display in the February 11 issue. In that edition, the main news section contains Denver & the West and Business. In other words, the five sections that were part of the paper just one week earlier (including Sports and the Monday entertainment/feature offering, Fitness) have been reduced to three.

Post managing editor Gary Clark, who answers questions via e-mail in Moore's absence, confirms that this shift will be a regular part of Monday papers for the foreseeable future; Tuesday through Thursday, the A-section will stand alone, while Denver & the West and Business will be paired. "This is part of an effort to save newsprint," he writes, adding that "we've also tightened up elsewhere." For instance, the national weather map has been eliminated from the Post's regular weather package -- a move that's made quite a few readers unhappy.

"I can't quantify the number of calls or e-mails, because they're being picked up by several different editors, editorial assistants and even the circulation call centers," Clark notes. "Probably a few dozen to the newsroom yesterday and today that I can be sure of." While the map switch caused the most consternation, he continues, "we've also had a few complaints about this morning's combination section and the elimination of Colorado Sunday," a section that's been reduced to a single page in Denver & the West on Sundays.

Not so long ago, increased sectionalizing was a major trend -- but the current newspaper slump has brought an end to it. These days, the Post appears to be moving toward a variation on the Three Musketeers' motto: all for one, and one for all. -- Michael Roberts

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