Wake-Up Call: Paula Woodward makes some news

Paula Woodward's departure from Channel 9 is not good news -- except for loafing workers and, probably, Woodward herself. She deserves a break after 32 years at the station, 32 years that have seen some major changes in the television business.

Woodward popped up in one of the first issues of Westword, in a story that long predates our online archives, when she went after an unethical apartment-rental company. And through the years, her name kept cropping up when one of her news investigations turned into news itself -- for example, when the city tried to get its hands on her unedited tapes for "Keep on Truckin'," a series that showed Department of Public Works employees still loafing on the job, a story she'd first broken in 1988.

At the time, the Department of Public Works had bigger things to worry about than Woodward's report -- an unfinished Denver International Airport, for example, then a full year behind schedule. But it still took the time and money to take her, and the station, to court.

I was in the courtroom for that one.

But my best ringside seat for the circus that often followed a Paula Woodward story was last year, when Mike Jones, the masseuse who'd outed Ted Haggard, brought his one-man show-and-tell (complete with the dropping of drawers) to the Bug Theater. Woodward had done an early interview with Jones, as had I, but he'd decided not to go public -- until one morning when he broke the news on Peter Boyles's show. Afterward, Channel 9 got that incredible piece of tape as Haggard was driving his family out of the complex where they lived in Colorado Springs, when he denied gay sex but said he'd bought meth and then thrown it away. And we all know how well that confession went.

When Woodward was around, you never wanted to be caught with your pants down.

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