Colorado Daily considering changes in publication schedule?

Thumbnail image for al manzi cropped.jpg
Al Manzi.
Update: Earlier today, we shared information about the Boulder-based Colorado Daily newspaper possibly shrinking its publication schedule to three days per week.

We now have more information from Prairie Mountain Publishing's Al Manzi. According to him, the plan, if enacted, would only be temporary, covering just the summer months.

"The option is being looked at only for the twelve weeks of summer," Manzi writes via e-mail. "We will remain five days during the rest of the year. I have been told this was done years ago."

Indeed, a reduced summer schedule was used by the Daily in the past, during the days when it was seen as the CU Boulder student newspaper -- a designation that fit even though the publication declared its independence from the university during the 1970s. Back in the day, of course, many of the staffers, as well as lots of readers, were students who headed home during the summer months. Now, the employees are largely professional journalists.

Continue reading for our previous coverage.

Original post, 6:48 a.m. April 9: Boulder's Colorado Daily has been through plenty of changes in recent years, and more may be in the offing. A source tells us there's been discussion of shrinking its publication schedule to just three days a week -- and while Al Manzi, the head of the firm that oversees the paper, notes that such a move hasn't been made thus far, neither does he deny the possibility.

As detailed in our 2001 feature "Paper Trail," the Daily has a history that dates back more than 120 years. For much of that period, it was an independent publication that kept the folks at CU Boulder on their toes and treated the Boulder Daily Camera as Print Adversary No. 1.

Wendy Kale.
The war between the papers ended in 2005, when the Daily was purchased by E.W. Scripps, the Camera's parent company. In the years that followed, content sharing became commonplace. In 2008, as pointed out in this Message column, the Daily dropped coverage of most local or national political issues aside from those that dealt directly with CU -- a decision that likely influenced the resignation of three longtime staffers. When Wendy Kale, the paper's longtime music writer, died last August, one of her former colleagues, Peter Fotopoulos, said she was the last link to the Daily that afflicted so many of the comfortable in the 1970s and 1980s, arguably its most fiery period.

Meanwhile, the economic downturn in the publishing business forced difficult decisions on Prairie Mountain Publishing, the outfit that currently publishes the Daily and the Camera. In February, seventeen staffers, most in the ad-design department, were laid off as part of what a Camera article described as a "broader initiative" by Digital First Media, a new entity run by MediaNews Group (the Denver Post's owner and Prairie Mountain's parent) and the Journal Register Co., to "outsource print and digital advertising design operations" to a company called Affinity Express. Although the firm is based in Illinois, it has what are termed "locations" in India and Indonesia. For that reason, as we reported in the piece linked above, it's likely, if not absolutely guaranteed, that the tasks previously performed by the Boulder staffers will be handled overseas after a transitional period. Moreover, pre-press operations for Prairie Mountain's fifteen properties, including the Daily, have become the responsibility of the Post.

And now comes the three-days-a-week report. Earlier this morning, in response to an e-mail on the subject, Manzi wrote, "No decision has been made" -- which suggests that, at the least, a shrinkage of the schedule is on the table.

Thus far, Manzi hasn't responded to a followup question. When and if he does, we'll update this post. In the meantime, fans of the Daily that was have new reasons to worry about the Daily that is.

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More from our Media archive: "Wendy Kale, veteran Boulder music writer, R.I.P. -- and also say a prayer for Colorado Daily."

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