They’re baaaaaack. It looks like someone pushed that red flashing button and again unleashed a swarm of layoff Langoliers— that flying Digital First Media fleet of mechanical-winged robotic buzzsaws with their GPS signals set to yet another location in Colorado.
This time, “Digital First Media, owner of The Denver Post and nearly 100 other newspapers nationwide, will lay off 107 employees at its Colorado Springs service center after shifting the work to an outsourcing contractor,” reported The Gazette newspaper this week. “Nearly all of the jobs are in finance, including the accounts payable invoice processor and supervisor, billing specialist and supervisor, cash application specialist and supervisor, circulation billing specialist and supervisor in cash and collections, and the customer representative and supervisor.”
Where is the work going? An outsourcing company based in New York that employs people in nearly two dozen different countries, apparently. Westword has the story of how these slated layoffs will impact The Denver Post and its sister papers. Reporters noted on social media how the hedge-fund-controlled DFM owns about a dozen papers in Colorado. “In other news,” a reporter at one of them said, “they disconnected the RH’s conference phone last week as a cost-saving measure… they’ll take every last available dollar.”
The Coloradoan newspaper won’t print election results this year
Whoa, what? Really? Yes. But we’re focusing on the word “print” here.
On Wednesday, the morning after Colorado’s important midterm elections, print subscribers of the Gannett-owned Coloradoan newspaper in Fort Collins won’t find the election results rolled up on their doorsteps like the days of old. This year, Coloradoan readers will have to get that news online at the paper’s website. It’s part of a nationwide corporate strategy by one of the country’s largest newspaper chains to recognize the changing ways in which readers consume the news.
Here’s the national perspective from Ken Doctor at Neimanlab:
When long-time readers of the Des Moines Register, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or Fort Myers News-Press open up their papers Wednesday morning, they’ll see hardly anything in the way of results. They may see stories on voter turnout totals or “wrap-ups on the voting scene” or “a look ahead to what readers can expect in the days ahead.” Even on Thursday, when nearly all vote totals should be in, don’t expect to see newsprint used when cheaper pixels can do the job; the complete election results will be online, Amalie Nash, executive editor for local news at Gannett’s USA Today Network, told me Wednesday.
“It’s a move both to push readers online and to reduce costs,” the good Doctor goes on. “The cost savings come in and around print production.” At the Coloradoan, the paper has already dropped its digital paywall for election-related stories this season, which I thought was a smooth move. Coloradoan editor Eric Larsen published a column about the paper’s new plans.
“Because all of our coverage will be available on multiple platforms online and in real time after the polls close at 7 p.m., we will not be moving our evening press deadlines back to get election results in the Wednesday newspaper,” he wrote. “It might sound like a big change, but even with late deadlines in 2016, the next day’s Coloradoan lacked definitive results of key races such as President Donald Trump’s victory.”
I asked Larsen if the paper will still push back deadlines for sports coverage and he said Gannett has some exemptions to the 5 p.m. regular deadline for professional and NCAA Division I sports covered in the market, so the Coloradoan did have some late CSU football games in next-day print papers earlier this season. “But at the Coloradoan, we’ve decided that we won’t push print deadlines for sports if we won’t push them for election coverage,” he told me. “We’ll always adjust for major breaking news coverage of topics important to public safety, but Coloradoan.com will continue to be our main vehicle for breaking news and sports coverage.”
Speaking of those elections…
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, it will all be over. As of Monday, the eve of Election Day, about 1.5 million of Colorado’s 3.3 million active voters had already cast ballots. If you’re one of the many still holding out — the ballot is long, I know — or unsure, The Colorado Independent has a cheat sheet to consult that rounds up all our coverage of the candidates and issues.
I’ve been watching the website analytics for the past few weeks and it’s always interesting to see which stories start rising to the top of the most-read list as voters get their ballots and begin using the Google. In the final days of this election, judging by our traffic, it seemed voters were most unsure about how to vote on Amendment X, the constitutional question about what Colorado should do with the definition of industrial hemp. Voters also really wanted to know where they could find information on all those judges on their ballots. The campaign finance question — what I call the “millionaire rule” — also appeared to confound voters, as did questions about changing the way we draw our political lines, the Amendment 74 property rights question and Prop. 111 to limit payday lending.
Why Jared Polis apologized for using the term ‘fake news’
On Tuesday, we’ll know if Jared Polis, the tech entrepreneur and Democratic congressman from Boulder, will be our next governor. In the final days of the campaign, he said he regretted using a certain phrase about the press.
Asked by KUSA 9News nightly news anchor Kyle Clark if there was anything he wished he had done differently in the race, Polis said, “I think every now and then you say things you regret. I said ‘fake news’ the other day and it was a very poor— especially given what’s happening and how media is under attack— that was a very poor choice of words that I regret.”
The context here is that during a televised debate when Polis was asked if Colorado should be the first state in the nation with its own carbon tax, he said, “If you’re talking about, would I rather tax polluters than individual, hard-working families earning $50,000, or $100,000 or $200,000, of course, I’d rather that we have a broader tax base and bring down rates for Colorado residents.” When The Colorado Sun set out to report more information about Polis’s answer, the news organization was stuck having to use just what Polis said during the debate. “The details on his proposals are scant — and his campaign could not offer more explanation after the debate — so it’s not clear just how much Polis would increase taxes and who it would impact the most,” the Sun reported.
Following its report, which included in a headline that Polis “proposes new carbon tax,” the candidate pushed back during a Chamber of Commerce forum when someone asked him about it. “It’s not on my agenda, we’ve never talked about it,” Polis said. “It’s kind of fake news.”
The Colorado Sun then wrote that Polis “channeled President Donald Trump on Thursday by dismissing his own words and attacking the media”— and others were quick to call him out. Polis posted a mea culpa on Twitter. “In these challenging times when journalists are under attack, candidates and elected officials shouldn’t make jokes that could be construed as denigrating real media,” he wrote. “I apologize and will try harder to refrain from doing so in the future.”
Lesson here? It’s possible the whole thing might never have happened had the candidate or campaign engaged on the question following the debate in the first place — remember: “his campaign could not offer more explanation after the debate” — instead of having to respond to the reporting after it came out. (The Sun also published a piece today about how, given some actions in the campaign, neither candidate has a promising record of transparency.)
What you missed on the Sunday front pages across Colorado
How to double your donation to a Colorado nonprofit newsroom
So here’s a deal for you: If you donate to your favorite nonprofit newsroom between now and Dec. 31, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar, driven by the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub.
This is the third year of NewsMatch, and the number of nonprofit news organizations participating in the campaign jumped by more than 40 percent since last year. Each organization is eligible to receive a total of $25,000 in matching funds for small-dollar donations from individuals up to $1,000. NewsMatch is designed to help fuel a surge in giving to local and investigative reporting and strengthen nonprofit newsrooms through training and shared resources.
“Now more than ever, nonprofit newsrooms across the country are filling information gaps in communities,” said Sue Cross, Executive Director and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News. “This year’s NewsMatch campaign will enable organizations to raise critical support, which will ensure they have the resources necessary to continue to provide fact-based, local quality journalism for years to come.”
This is possible because of support from Democracy Fund, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation (via the Colorado Media Project), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation and The Miami Foundation. “NewsMatch added several major donors in 2018, including a $1 million contribution from the Facebook Journalism Project and $250,000 from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, which supports investigative journalism around the country,” the group said in a news release.
Find the list of Colorado nonprofit newsrooms who will get the match for your donation here.
“NewsMatch is excited to support the nonprofit news organizations that Coloradans know and trust by matching donations this giving season,” said Jason Alcorn, NewsMatch program manager. “And we’re grateful the Gates Family Foundation is once again helping NewsMatch make a difference in Colorado.”
KDNK is looking for a news director
Want to live and work in Colorado’s backyard? KDNK public radio in Carbondale is looking for “an experienced journalist, open to risk-taking and innovation, who will lead editorial decision making and digital content strategy.” The full-time job pays $40,000 to $44,000 depending on experience, according to the listing. “Eligible for partial health insurance and dental benefits. Paid time off includes escalating vacation time, personal leave, sick leave, and paid holidays.”
Colorado Public Radio hired two non-metro reporters
For the first time, Colorado Public Radio will have reporters “embedded in communities outside the metro area,” the station’s spokeswoman Lauren Gamba says. That’s because the station recently hired a reporter based in Grand Junction and in Colorado Springs. “The reporters are part of CPR’s vision to grow its newsroom by a third,” Gamba wrote in a statement. So meet Dan Boyce, CPR’s new reporter covering Southern Colorado, and Stina Sieg who will cover the Western Slope.
#IndySUPCOwatch: A hurdle cleared
“The Colorado Independent has cleared an initial hurdle in its bid to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its First Amendment case,” The Indy’s Alex Burness wrote this week.
What’s that mean? The nation’s highest court has asked for Colorado’s attorney general to respond to the news outlet’s petition that the U.S. Supreme Court hear its case for why Colorado’s Supreme Court got a decision wrong about access to court records in our state.
From The Independent:
Supreme Court justices were originally set to conference about the petition on Nov. 9, at which point they might have denied the petition outright (statistically, that would have been the most likely outcome), grant it and put the case on the court’s docket, or request a response from the Colorado attorney general’s office. That the court took that third route eight days ahead of the scheduled conference indicates at least some interest from the justices, though it far from guarantees they’ll ever hear the case, said Steve Zansberg, a Colorado attorney with the firm Ballard Spahr who is representing The Independent pro bono.
*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.