Denver Post Announces Mass Layoffs

The Denver Post announced last week that it plans to lay off approximately 30 employees, or roughly a third of its staff.

The publication, which is the 10th largest newspaper in the country, is owned by Digital First Media, a subsidiary of the hedge fund Alden Golden Capital LLC, a fund known for investing in distressed assets.

This is not the first time the Denver Post has faced layoffs. According to the Denver Business Journal, the Denver Post cut 10 positions in 2017, and more than 20 staffers also took buyouts or were laid off in 2016, according to Westword. The most recent layoffs come just weeks after the Post began instituting a paywall on their digital content.

Following the most recent announcement of layoffs, The Denver Newspaper Guild, a union that represents over 200 of the workers at The Denver Post, was denied the ability to publish an advertisement in the paper itself, urging community support. According to Tony Mulligan, the Denver News Guild’s administrative officer, “Alden’s model is to cut in order to achieve expected profit there, but there is no long-term plan. We prefer that these owners sell to people with civic community with long-term business.”

The difference this time,” said Tamara Chuang who writes for the technology section of The Denver Post, is that it’s not just about money, but the number of bodies in the newsroom.”

“In the past, the editors could shuffle things around and were smart about cuts,” Chuang said. “We left our enviable downtown newsroom, and moved the newsroom to the printing plant on the edge of the city. That was depressing, especially since the new newsroom has no windows, but we did it to save jobs.”

Several reporters took to Twitter to express their opinions regarding the lack of transparency and of proper management from Digital First.

“We’re told we missed the budget by 11 percent,” said Chuang. “They won’t tell us what that budget was, but the end result is the loss of 30 jobs.”

Citing similar occurrences at Mercury News, the Orange County Register and other papers that are owned by Alden Capital, Chuang said, “a good chunk [of those laid off] aren’t just reporters who write the local stories, but are editors, designers, photographers, digital editors, etc. who make the stories better.”

Other reporters have taken to Twitter as well to raise awareness of the management issue occurring at The Denver Post. According to Dana Coffield, senior news editor at the Post, “People here have grown accustomed to bad news, and it is upsetting.” One reporter tweeted that he may lose his job and jokingly asked his followers to Venmo him money for beer. Shortly thereafter a GoFundMe was launched which raised $1,205.

“You realize we aren’t bad at our jobs, and our community values what we do,” said Coffield.

“The amount of support I’m receiving from companies, readers and strangers in the community is overwhelming. It’s also fueled a new sense of urgency that it’s no longer just the paper and staff trying to survive, but the community,” said Chuang.

When asked what makes The Denver Post worth fighting for, Coffield said, “We think of ourselves as the voice of the Rocky Mountain empire. There’s always a story to be told here, be it our crazy politics or our environmental stories, and it’s our mission to figure out how to continue to tell these stories with the resources we have left.”

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