Denver Post execs on in-print, web changes, status of Colorado Rockies stake for sale
Update: Yesterday, we shared our views about changes at the Denver Post, including new, smaller dimensions for the print edition, a website redesign and the departures of Broncos specialist Jeff Legwold and Jeff Bairstow, president of the Post's parent company, Digital First Media; see our previous coverage below.
Big photos below.
Since then, we've corresponded with two of the paper's most powerful executives -- president and CEO Mac Tully and editor Greg Moore -- to get their takes on the latest developments at Colorado's largest news operation. Here's what they had to say.
Tully has only been a part of the Post braintrust for a relatively brief period. The former president and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News came to Denver in May to fill the slot vacated by Ed Moss, who left the previous month.
Digital First is now undergoing a similar shift in upper management, with Bairstow, who'd served as president of the company for less than two years, splitting in favor of a gig as chief financial officer at Time Inc. However, Tully doesn't believe local readers will feel the impact of Bairstow's exit.
"Although we will miss Jeff, his departure will not impact the day-to-day operations of the Post," he notes via e-mail. "The operating committee and their reports make those decisions."
Among the moves that preceded Tully's arrival was the decision this past November to put the Post's small ownership stake in the Colorado Rockies baseball franchise on the market. At the time, an inside source told us the strategy was dictated by dire financial problems at the Post -- ones serious enough that they could lead to bankruptcy. But Moss denied this assertion.
"There couldn't be anything further from the truth," Moss said about Chapter 11 fears -- concerns likely stoked by the September 2012 bankruptcy filing by the Journal Register Company, a sister firm of MediaNews Group, the Post's owner. "The attempt to potentially sell our stake really has everything to do with what I stated in our press release, and what John Paton" -- MediaNews Group's CEO, as well as the Journal Register Company's top dog -- "has been talking about, which is that we're focusing on our core business. And we're actually making great strides at improving our position overall."
More recently, another story about baseball and newspapers has thrust its way into the national journalism conversation -- Boston Red Sox majority owner John Henry's agreement to purchase the Boston Globe. Some observers worry that Henry's influence will result in a softening of the Globe's often tough Red Sox coverage, which has occasionally gotten under the new boss' skin. But that hasn't been a major point of controversy in Denver given the modest size of the Post's share of the Rockies -- just 7.3 percent, an asset obtained by the paper upon the 2009 death of the Rocky Mountain News.
What's the status of the Post's piece of the Rockies?
"We are still a partial owner of the Rockies," Tully notes. "We also recognize the increased value of our position, as the overall valuation of major league teams continues to rise. Accordingly, we remain open to a reasonable offer for this non-core asset."
In other words, a transaction can still happen, but there have been no takers over the better part of a year.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned loss of sports reporter Legwold, who left to become an ESPN Broncos specialist, comes at a particularly difficult time; the team is touted as a Super Bowl contender and its season is just starting to rev up. Is editor Moore concerned?
Continue for Denver Post editor Greg Moore's comments about changes at the paper, plus our previous coverage.