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Denver Post Takes A Page From Argentina

The newspaper doesn’t think much of hedge funds, either. One specific hedge fund, actually. Specifically, the one that owns it.
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Not empty yet, but working on it. By David Shankbone [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Not empty yet, but working on it. By David Shankbone [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Cristina Kirchner is no longer the leader of a sovereign nation, and her successor quickly made peace with Paul Singer, so it’s been a while since we’ve heard the epithet “vulture” thrown in the general direction of a hedge fund with real feeling. So it was refreshing to see Sunday’s editorial in the Denver Post.

Alden has embarked on a cynical strategy of constantly reducing the amount and quality of its offerings, while steadily increasing its subscription rates. In doing so, the hedge fund managers — often tellingly referred to as “vulture capitalists” — have hidden behind a narrative that adequately staffed newsrooms and newspapers can no longer survive in the digital marketplace.

Alden is Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund run by Randall Smith. And the above is extra-spicy because when he’s not buying every house in Palm Beach, Smith also runs… the Denver Post. And into the ground, according to… the Denver Post.

At The Denver Post on Monday, more than two dozen reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, page designers, digital producers and opinion staff will walk out the door. Our marching orders are to cut a full 30 by the start of July…. This cut… follows so many in recent years that our ranks have shriveled from more than 250 to fewer than 100 today…. The smart money is that in a few years The Denver Post will be rotting bones. And a major city in an important political region will find itself without a newspaper.

As of this morning, no one has been fired or hauled into a court room over this act of lèse-majesté, and Smith hasn’t taken the Joe Ricketts approach and just shut the paper down in a fit of pique. Which is perhaps unfortunate for editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett, as his goal is to get where Gothamist circuitously got.

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…. It’s time for those Coloradans who care most about their civic future to get involved and see to it that Denver gets the newsroom it deserves.

So there’s another Post casting about for a billionaire with a sense of noblesse oblige (or something else). Maybe a Colorado weed mogul wants to play Patrick Soon-Shiong on the Front Range, or just set up a non-profit to run this very non-profitable enterprise. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it is, you know, the future, or whatever.

As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved [Denver Post]
Denver Post Rebels Against Its Hedge-Fund Ownership [NYT]



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