This week, the local journalism community is mourning the loss of Wendy Kale, longtime music writer for the Colorado Daily, who died at age 58 of still-undetermined causes -- although her death is not seen as suspicious. Her passing ends an era for the Boulder music community -- and for the Daily, which is hardly recognizable as the paper where she began writing a quarter-century ago.
Such enmity officially came to an end in 2005, when the Daily was purchased by Scripps, owner of the Camera and the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. In subsequent years, cost-cutting turned into content sharing with the Camera. Note this 2008 Message column, which revealed that the Daily had been ordered to no longer cover most local or national political issues unless they dealt directly with the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Daily's main beat.
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Around that time, three longtime staffers resigned, but Kale survived, in large part because her passion for music, and for journalism, never ebbed. Yesterday, I spoke with Bronson Hilliard, a friend who once edited Kale at the Daily and is now spokesperson for CU. He talked about her love of music from Boulder and beyond, but also about her doggedness as a reporter -- a quality that's as important in entertainment journalism as it is in any other branch of the medium yet is frequently overlooked. Hilliard said that once Kale got her teeth into a story, she wouldn't let go. And because she'd been around so long, she knew and was trusted by everyone in the scene. That sort of institutional knowledge is impossible to replace.
Peter Fotopoulos, another one of Kale's onetime Daily colleagues, believes she was the last link to the Colorado Daily that was -- a scrappy, defiantly independent publication that took tremendous pride in afflicting the comfortable. Fortunately, that era of the Daily, detailed in our 2001 feature article "Paper Trail," continues to live on in the memories of a great many locals.
And so, too, does Wendy Kale.
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