Saccone talks Colorado journalism with Salzman: ‘The show goes on’

Colorado Independent contributor Jason Salzman has been tracking down veteran Colorado journalists who have exited the field, at least temporarily, to talk about local journalism in the era of the Great Transition. This week he exchanged emails with Mike Saccone, who was a writer and blogger covering criminal justice and politics at the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction from 2006 to 2009. Saccone also wrote for Cox News Service in Washington, DC, and the American Lawyer Magazine, among other publications. The Q&A after the jump.

What are you doing now?

More than a year ago, I left my perch as chief political writer and blogger for The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction to become communications director for the Colorado Department of Law. I am responsible for coordinating our public relations efforts as well as responding to the daily needs of the media throughout Colorado. Having covered the legal profession in New York and our nation’s capital, I have always been fascinated with the law. My current job allows me to continue to learn about the law and to see state government from the other side — the inside — of the fishbowl.

How do you view the present state of Colorado journalism?

All things considered, I think Colorado’s journalism scene actually is all-in-all fairly healthy. Though larger newspapers might be going through a rough patch, smaller, local outlets such as my former newspaper, The Daily Sentinel, along with The Durango Herald, The Longmont Times Call and too many others to mention are doing great local and regional coverage that at times bests the work of their larger peers. For example, Bob Moore at the Fort Collins Coloradoan blows his competition out of the water when it comes to covering the 4th Congressional District.

Colorado broadcast media also is doing some really strong work. From the investigative pieces coming out of the Denver market to the local and regional coverage of outlets like KUNC in Greeley, KREX in Grand Junction and Aspen Public Radio, Colorado’ broadcast outlets do some great work, even if the smaller stations don’t get the notice they deserve. Just as an example of broadcast media expanding, Colorado Public Radio stationed one of its reporters at the Capitol this year to cover the legislative session.

On top of all of this, Colorado’s online media also is flourishing. From the Colorado Independent to Face the State to the work Westword is doing with its blogs, there is decent competition emerging for the traditional print and broadcast media. Do I think they will eclipse the traditional media? Probably not in my lifetime, but they do add another layer to Colorado’s journalism landscape. That can’t hurt.

Will every print, broadcast or new media outlet still be here in five years? Probably not, but Colorado overall is in great shape. Obviously losing the Rocky was a major blow to Colorado journalism, but the show goes on. From The Denver Post, 9 News and KOA on down, there’s still great journalism being done. And from my perspective, I think great journalism will continue to be done in Colorado, even if it’s coming from new outlets or existing outlets being repurposed or reoriented.

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