Wall Street Journal Beats Denver, Boulder Papers on Conservative Profs Story -- But Not Longmont Times-Call

Updated May 14, 2008 2:40 p.m.

Denver and Boulder newspapers take pride in being one-stop shopping places for the latest information about Colorado -- and reporters and editors there despise it when a nearby competitor scoops them. The ire runs even hotter, though, when they're beaten by outsiders, as seemingly took place in regard to a plan by University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson (pictured) to raise $9 million to bring big-name conservative professors to the historically, and perpetually, liberal university in the coming years. The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Boulder Daily Camera wound up following a story on this topic that appeared in the May 13 Wall Street Journal, little realizing -- as I didn't, until I was informed by a reader several hours after this item went live -- that the Longmont Times-Call had actually broken the story nearly three months earlier.

The Journal's piece, "Help Wanted: Lefty College Seeks Right-Wing Prof," by Stephanie Simon, wasn't exactly buried. It appeared on page A1 of the printed paper, leaving area dailies to scramble. The Post took the easy way out, simply placing Simon's article on its website; if the affixed time stamp is accurate, the offering went live at just after 10 a.m. on the May 13. In contrast, the Rocky chose to assemble its own take, assigning reporter Julie Poppen to the chore. Her version went up later on the 13th and also appeared in the May 14 print edition. Still, the saddest performance was turned in by the Boulder Daily Camera, which devotes a considerable number of pages in each edition to CU happenings. The item on the Camera's site at this writing is a synopsized variation on Poppen's Rocky report; the Rocky and the Camera are sister publications, both owned by E.W. Scripps.

Apparently, though, none of the folks at the aforementioned papers perused the February 17 Times-Call. If they had, they would have stumbled upon "University Creates a Position to Promote Conservative Thought," in which reporter David Accomazzo laid out all the basics of the Peterson proposal months before the rest of the journalistic world took notice.

How about that? The little Longmont paper not only bested some of the state's top publications in this instance. It also topped the mighty Wall Street Journal. -- 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