How Trump’s budget could affect public radio in Southwest Colorado

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting makes up about .01 percent of the nation’s nearly $4 trillion federal budget, which, The Durango Herald pointed out this week, adds up to about $1.35 per person in taxes each year. So, not much, you might say. But the money helps keep public radio on the air across the country, and Southwest Colorado is no different.

From The Herald:

In Southwest Colorado, the CPB funding benefits three radio stations: KDUR, Fort Lewis College’s community radio station in Durango; KSUT, based in Ignacio; and KSJD, the community radio station for Montezuma County.

KDUR Station manager Bryant Liggett told the paper scrapping CPB funding would cut about 30 percent of the station’s $400,000 operating budget and cause layoffs. The paper runs down what the cuts would mean for other stations in the area, too. And, it attempts to get Colorado’s federal lawmakers on record about it. GOP U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner told The Herald, “we cannot continue on the same trajectory and must identify spending priorities.” Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet didn’t immediately respond. A spokesman for Republican Congressman Scott Tipton, however, said he “has been and will continue to be supportive of Colorado’s radio stations, which he believes serve an important function in rural communities.”

Colorado journalists represent in Editor & Publisher’s 25 under 35

Give a hand to Summit Daily News publisher Meg Boyer, 35, and also Eric Lubbers, 33, who directs innovation at The Denver Post. The two Colorado journalists were named in a recent feature by E&P magazine for their work. Boyer got a nod for community engagement after she “initiated a monthly community meeting hosted by the newspaper, which has since grown from a small gathering to a popular event that draws more than 150 local residents.” Lubbers got kudos after he revamped “a daily newsletter that was floundering in subscribers’ inboxes.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an expanded free speech law— without letting the press in to watch

Last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a new law abolishing free speech zones on public college campuses in Colorado. You know, those restricted areas where you can protest during candidate rallies and such (here’s a picture). In an in-depth piece for The Colorado Independent I explained what this means in practice and how Colorado became a state that chose to ban so-called free speech zones as similar laws pass and fail around the country.

Yay, more free speech in Colorado, right? Sure, but the governor’s bill-signing highlighted a potential public-access blind spot in the executive branch. When the governor signs bills into law, he allows lawmakers, public officials and activists in the room to bask in the august glory of this bureaucratic ceremonial procedure. But he doesn’t allow members of the media in the room. What this means is “the public is not allowed to know what’s being signed into law,” said Associated Press capitol reporter Kristen Wyatt in a video she posted to Twitter. “We’re all kept on a need-to-know basis and we’re told after what the governor has already signed into law. They don’t make it public in this state, I think that’s unusual, I think that’s the public’s business. That’s my two cents. I think they should open this up to the public.”

A Colorado congressman dissed a HuffPo reporter as ‘not a legit journalist’

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Aurora is in the news this week because of his much-anticipated town hall event Wednesday night that was a raucous affair. (Here’s my write up on it in The Colorado Independent.) But for all the talk about his facing constituents— some lawmakers aren’t holding town halls on the congressional break—you might have missed this: He apparently refused to talk with a Huffington Post congressional reporter because of the outlet the reporter works for.”Rep. Mike Coffman asks what outlet I’m from,” Mike Fuller tweeted last week. “I tell him Huffington Post. He refuses to talk to me and says I’m ‘not a legit journalist.'”

Progressive consultant Jason Salzman had this take on his BigMedia blog:

This prompted former Coffman deputy Tyler Sandberg to tweet that “Huffpo is a left-wing blog, not a bastion of journalistic legitimacy.” That might be true for some Huffpo writers, but not for Fuller, as you can see from his resume. But even if it were true, Coffman doesn’t use “journalistic legitimacy” as his litmus test for talking to media figures, as demonstrated by the fact that he’s been on conservative talk radio shows at least seven times this year alone. … I have nothing against KNUS 710-AM’s Craig Silverman, Krista Kafer, Steve Kelley, and Jimmy Sengenberger— all of whom Coffman’s talked with just this year. Ditto for KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky. But none of them is a “legit journalist.” I’m not saying Coffman shouldn’t chit chat with conservative talkers, who usually, but not always, scratch his back. He just shouldn’t offer fake excuses to avoid reporters like Fuller.

I reached out to Fuller about the circumstances but didn’t hear back.

A 9News reporter released a year-old video he took of his confrontation with an attacker in a park

Denver KUSA 9News reporter Jeremy Jojola has a personal blog where he posts about things not always related to his job, although, he says, “the topic of my work and what I encounter will likely dominate this site.” He posts about once a week, and this one was a doozie: A video he shot upon coming across a young man attacking a woman in a park.

“I debated with myself about posting this story and the raw video (see the bottom of this post) because, admittedly, I act a bit douchey in the footage and this incident happened nearly a year ago,” he wrote. But he published it anyway. It’s quite remarkable. And he follows up on the man in question. Watch and read about it here.

What you missed on the Sunday front pages across Colorado

The Longmont Times-Call fronted an enterprise feature about felons in Boulder County struggling with housing and jobs. The Greeley Tribune reported how Weld County is the fourth least-affordable in the nation. The Bureau of Land Management HQ might not come to Colorado, according to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The Pueblo Chieftain reported heroin use in the area triples the state average. The Steamboat Pilot & Today reported on the legends of Steamboat and how the town got its name.The Boulder Daily Camera captured a town hall by Democratic Congressman Jared PolisThe Gazette in Colorado Springs looked at the potential agenda for a more moderate city council. The Coloradoan in Fort Collins took readers inside the state’s K-12 funding crisis. The Boulder Daily Camera reported how a CU World Affairs conference had trouble finding pro-Trump speakers. The Denver Post looked at Denver’s airport “train to the plane” one year later. The Durango Herald covered the dropped charges of a local professor who went to a protest.

The Gazette wants to show its work, and to answer reader questions about reporting the news

Vince Bzdek, editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, has been writing columns about the journalism business lately, and in his latest he lays out the principles of journalism, the problems with “fake news,” and the merits of media literacy.

“In the weeks and months ahead, we at the Gazette are setting out to better explain what we do that sets us apart from so much of the media, social and otherwise, that’s out there competing for your attention,” he writes. “How good journalism is different than tweeting and talking heads and fake news, and why good journalism is more important now than ever. Because times change, information changes, soapboxes change, but good journalism doesn’t. Send me your questions about what we do, why we do it, and I’ll do my best to explain our reasons and the rigor of our reporting. Let’s talk.”

This is a good idea. Growing up, the editor of my hometown newspaper, The Times Union in Albany, New York, used to run a column about how the paper chose the stories it did that week. It’s also a chance to do some public ombudsman-ing if and when necessary.

Warren Buffett’s newspapers are deploying a familiar playbook as their fortunes dim

Last week journalists at several local newspapers run by Berkshire Hathaway’s BH Media Group were met with news that their owner was slashing nearly 300 jobs companywide. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett was told about the cross-country layoffs, but “his opinion was not sought or offered.” The company owns 31 dailies and 50 weekly papers around the country— none of which are in Colorado. I wrote about the layoffs and what it means for BH Media Group papers going forward for Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project this week.

An excerpt:

Buffett’s reputation—as the Oracle of Omaha, a billionaire investment wizard whose buy-low-sell-high long-hold strategy is legendary—made the acquisition seem like a bright spot in a struggling industry. At the time, CJR asked, “Does Warren Buffett see something the rest of us don’t?” During the past four years, however, Buffett changed his tune. “Newspapers are going to go downhill,” he told Politico’s Playbook last summer. “Most newspapers, the transition to the internet so far hasn’t worked in digital.”

I checked in with some of the papers affected across the country to see what they’ve done in the past four years to ensure their own sustainability and what they might do differently now that the stakes are higher. Read the whole story here.

Did Boulder Weekly fall for an April Fools prank, or was it a Boulder Weekly prank on us?

Each year, someone sends out a fake news release around April 1 to news outlets in Boulder, ostensibly to see if they can get someone to publish it. “I don’t know if it’s the same individual or not, but they do a spoof press release using our letterhead,” city spokeswoman Sarah Huntley told me. This year, the spoof item was that Boulder had designated the cat as its official pet. Boulder Weekly ran an item about it under a headline “You can’t make this stuff up.” The city noticed Boulder Weekly printed it. “I don’t know if they did that tongue-in-cheek or they actually thought it was a true press release, you’ll have to ask that publication,” Huntley said. So I did. With all this talk about “fake news,” it seemed a worthy question, April Fools Day or not.

But Boulder Weekly editor Joel Dyer points out the item ran in a humor section of the paper called In Case U Missed It, which is denoted up top as “an irreverent and not always accurate view of the world.” Based on Twitter, Dyer told me, “it seems that the only people who don’t grasp the point of ICUMI work at the local daily paper and apparently don’t read us very often.” Fake news is a problem, he said “Clearly marked humor columns are not a problem.” They publish, you decide.

CU Boulder journalism conference this week: ‘Reporting in the age of alternative facts’

“How can journalism succeed despite denial of access, censorship, media blackouts and attempts to delegitimize the press? As journalists, documentarians, reporters and editors, we are in uncharted waters, and our profession [is] under fire like never before.” That’s the tease for a daylong April 15 conference at The University of Colorado Boulder put on by its journalism department. The conference promises to “kick off lively discussions on accountability through access and archives, leveraging community media, the rise of Trump and the facts on fake news, the impact of citizen journalism, and safety and storytelling on America’s new front line.”

ProPublica’s senior editor, Joe Sexton, will do the keynote. The Colorado Independent’s Editor Susan Greene will join a panel called “Enemy of the People? The Free Press Under Fire.”  Other panelists will be from The New York Times, The Nation, KGNU, Rocky Mountain PBS, The Denver Post, and more. Read the schedule and register for it here.

Now for some news on the local media front from CJR’s United States Project

My colleague Jackie Spinner reported what it’s like for Chicago journalists covering the city’s violence during the Trump era. Adam Ragusea wrote how a reporter’s firing shows the real threat to public-media independence. CJR’s press freedom correspondent Jonathan Peters wrote about how Kansas high school journalists exposed a principal’s puffed-up resume. Brendan Fitzgerald explained how Tampa Bay Times reporters weren’t the first to probe police shootings, but they wanted to ‘do it better.’ Trudy Lieberman covered how the fight over a state healthcare transparency bill went mostly uncovered. And I reported how even Warren Buffett is having trouble saving newspapers.

*This roundup appears a little differently as a published version of a weekly e-mailed newsletter about Colorado local news and media. If you’d like to add your e-mail address for the unabridged versions, please subscribe HERE.

Photo by Robert Ashworth for Creative Commons in Flickr.