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Opinion Denver post, gutted by layoffs, prints a rebuke of its owners

The Denver Post is in open revolt against its owner.

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Denver post, gutted by layoffs, prints a rebuke of its owners

(NY Times)

Angry and frustrated journalists at the 125-year-old newspaper took the extraordinary step this weekend of publicly blasting its New York-based hedge-fund owners and making the case for its own survival in several articles that went online Friday and were scheduled to run in The Post’s Sunday opinion section.

“News matters,” the main headline reads. “Colo. should demand the newspaper it deserves.”

The bold tactic was born out of a dissatisfaction not uncommon in newsrooms across the country as newspapers grapple with the loss of revenue that has followed the decline of print.

The lead editorial pulled no punches, describing executives at Alden Global Capital, the paper’s hedge-fund owner, as “vulture capitalists.”

“We call for action,” the editorial continued. It went on to make the case that “Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom. If Alden isn’t willing to do good journalism here, it should sell The Post to owners who will.”

The Post has a weekday circulation of an estimated 170,000 and 8.6 million unique monthly visitors to its website. Alden Global took control of the paper in 2010, after acquiring its bankrupt parent company, MediaNews Group, and runs it through a subsidiary, Digital First Media.

Chuck Plunkett, The Post’s editorial page editor, masterminded the package of articles. He did not warn executives at Digital First Media before posting it, Plunkett said. The Post’s news and opinion sections are separate fiefs, and he also did not inform the paper’s chief editor, Lee Ann Colacioppo.

Digital First Media did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Readers inside and outside the newsroom met the articles with an outpouring of support.

“Denver is so proud of our flagship newspaper for speaking out,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a statement.

Sunday’s print opinion section comes one day before more than two dozen employees at The Post say farewell to the newsroom.

Already devastated by staff reductions made since Alden Global Capital took over in 2010, The Post was ordered last month to slash another 30 jobs from a newsroom whose count was already below 100.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

SYDNEY EMBER © 2018 The New York Times

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