Denver newspapers failing to cover local news?

What is the problem with Denver’s competing daily newspapers and their coverage of Colorado?

A former Denver Post managing editor addressed that question Tuesday on a leading journalism industry blog with an editorial critical of The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.

(Photo Illustration/Jason Kosena)

In a rare guest column on Alan Mutter’s blog “Newsosaur,” Joe H. Bullard, the former managing editor of The Denver Post, blasts the dailies for largely covering the same stories each day and for ignoring communities in Colorado outside of Denver.

He’s dead-on in his assessment, but his editorial missed a key point: local newspapers.

They are out there and they are reporting news The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News largely ignore.

Case in point is the example Bullard uses of lacking coverage of Jeffco Public Schools, the largest school district in Colorado.

Bullard accurately criticizes Denver’s dailies for ignoring the school district, as both papers largely only cover the troubled Denver Public Schools system. But, the Post and the Rocky are not the only sources for news in the Denver metro area, a fact Bullard, a Lakewood resident, ignores in his commentary.

In fact, the Mile High Newspaper chain in Golden, which publishes The Lakewood Sentinel, covers the Jeffco School District with a beat reporter.

Sure, the reporters at local community papers tend to be inexperienced and are paid peanuts, but they show up to school board meetings the Denver dailies ignore and often break important stories.

As the Internet continues to cripple daily newspapers, the role of the news consumer is growing more important and should not be overlooked. The Web, with its myriad of links, blogs and Web sites, should encourage people to look beyond traditional newspapers and other mainstream media for information, not focus on it.

If they do, consumers might find the coverage they want of their local school district and city council meetings –- coverage they will not find in the News and Post, which are cutting costs, jobs and resources by the year.