The Temporary Return of a Rocky Mountain News Expatriate

As noted in this Message column from April, Rocky Mountain News video game writer Brian D. Crecente (pictured) was one of four members of the tabloid's feature staff who management wanted to transfer back to the news division, in order to fill holes left by attrition. Crecente, who'd built a national reputation as a gaming scribe thanks in part to his work for, decided to resign instead, but he said he'd likely freelance some articles for the Rocky, which he credited with his rise to prominence.

Many months later, Crecente finally found the time to do so; he penned a piece on the introduction of Madden NFL 08 that earned the cover of the August 17 Spotlight section. His enthusiasm for doing so in the future may be in doubt, however, given that the byline of his welcome-home offering misspelled his name as "Brian D. Crecent" -- a botch that still hadn't been corrected online as of this writing.

Bet Mr. Crecent was over the moon when he saw that.

Like Crecente, broadcasting critic Dusty Saunders, the biggest name to take the Rocky's subsequent buyout offer, suggested in a June Message that he, too, would contribute to the paper after departing, and he's kept his pledge. After a gap of a month or so, he began submitting a column or two a week. Nevertheless, his diminished output, as well as the loss of Crecente and movie critic Robert Denerstein, who also accepted the buyout, continues to be felt. The film section is now totally anonymous, which makes sense given that the tab is relying upon a hodgepodge of syndicated analysts, and Mike Pearson's occassional TV updates have not come close to compensating for the consistent coverage that Saunders provided. Moreover, the absence of restaurant reviewer John Lehndorff, who's recuperating from assorted health issues detailed in the second item of a July Message linked here, has exacerbated a bad situation. For these reason, the Rocky's entertainment efforts are less interesting than they've been in ages. The Denver Post's A&E section has been thinned down, too, but not nearly to such a disastrous degree.

Thanks to Crecente, Spotlight shone for a day. But too often, it barely flickers. -- 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