Fort Collins Coloradoan publisher/president Kim Roegner talks about the decision to close the paper's printing facility
As pointed out in the first of today's blogs about the closure of the Fort Collins Coloradoan's printing facilities, Kim Roegner, the paper's publisher and president since last June, didn't return a call on the topic yesterday. Following the issuing of a press release confirming a new partnership between the Coloradoan and the Denver Newspaper Agency, however, she reached out and answered a handful of questions. But she also responded to a number of inquiries -- like how much money the Coloradoan thinks it will save by shuttering the plant -- by suggesting that I check in later and read coverage of the move available at the paper's website.
Unfortunately, the piece about the pact on the Coloradoan site at this writing doesn't answer the cash query or provide much data beyond the initial press release linked above. Presumably, more will follow -- but here's the information Roegner provided to yours truly.
"We met with all the employees" who were to be laid off, Roegner said; the press release calculated their number at 48. In her view, "they all took it very professionally and very admirably. I have great respect for them." She adds that "they are all eligible for severance, and they will receive that immediately upon their last day of work" -- May 11.
As for whether conversations about the Coloradoan/DNA hook-up had begun before or after the February 26 announcement that the Rocky Mountain News would close, she was less specific: "Conversations with Denver have been going on for a long time," she said. She confirmed that USA Today, a Gannett publication (like the Coloradoan), will now be printed at the Denver plant along with "all of our related products." She didn't specify what those items were, however, referring me to future Coloradoan articles.
Regarding the press itself, she wasn't sure how old it was or how many years it had been in operation, and she wouldn't speculate about how easy or difficult it might be to peddle such a device in an extremely difficult time for the print-journalism industry. "I haven't sold a press before," she noted, "so I"m not certain how that will play out."
From there, I asked about the editorial workforce at the Coloradoan -- an operation, like so many today, that appears to be running lean. The broadsheet's staff box lists just four people with "reporter" in their job description, and one more listed as a "writer," under the main news heading -- not many considering that the Coloradoan is a sizable daily newspaper serving a growing college town. But Roegner had no interest in going down this particular road. "I don't really think your question has anything to do with this story," she maintained. "I think if you look at our product, you'll see we have the resources we need to put out a quality news publication."
In an attempt to demonstrate that this last subject wasn't as radical a tangent as Roegner seemed to think, I asked if cost savings from closing the printing facility might be used to beef up the editorial staff. Her reply? "I would just ask that you follow the rest of the details on updates on our website," she said, before adding, "I hope you will cast this in a reasonable light."