The sports departments at local media outlets are working overtime right now in preparation for the Colorado Rockies' first trip to the World Series. Yet journalists with other specialties continue to do good work that's all-too-often obscured by purple haze.
Take the Denver Post. The broadsheet's Sunday, October 21, front page was dominated by sports, as has frequently been the case over the past couple of weeks, at least. (The above-the-fold story was a better-than-average Rockies tie-in profiling team owners Dick and Charlie Monfort, while the main offering took a less-than-fascinating look at athletes over age 40.) Meanwhile, the business cover presented "Nacchio Affects Spy Probe," an excellent piece by Andy Vuong, which cites documentary evidence that the National Security Agency asked Qwest to cooperate "in a program the phone company thought was illegal more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to court documents unsealed at the request of The Denver Post." Given that this development could have national repercussions, the report certainly deserved page-one play -- but amid Rockies mania, it was overlooked.
So, too, has been the Post's new cold cases blog, a spin-off of the paper's impressive "evidence" series, published under the banner "Trashing the Truth." Staffer Kirk Mitchell has assembled plenty of intriguing material on the page, including information about a still unidentified man who was found near U.S. Highway 285 in 1977; the clay model seen here represents authorities' attempts to reconstruct his features. Yet despite a front-page announcement earlier this month about the project's launch, the cold cases blog isn't even mentioned on the Post's main blog page. In all the Rockies hoopla, the web folks apparently forgot about it.
And if they aren't paying any attention to such material, why should anyone expect readers to do so? -- Michael Roberts