Even by the grim standards of the many staff and budget cuts forced upon the Denver Post over the last few years, the news that broke Wednesday afternoon was a devastating shock: executives announced plans to cut 30 positions from the newsroom, almost a third of the paper’s remaining staff.
When this latest round of cuts is complete, the number of journalists at the Post will have shrunk from over 200 to less than 50 in just seven years, according to the Denver Newspaper Guild, the union that represents Post employees.
It’s important to understand that the Denver Post isn’t dying; it’s being murdered. Despite consistently posting annual profits in the tens of millions, the paper is being slowly stripped for parts by its owner, the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. More than 200 newspapers owned by Alden subsidiary Digital First Media (DFM) are suffering much the same fate, as they see their budgets cut and assets sold off to fund the firm’s other, riskier investments and the lavish lifestyle of its reclusive founder, Randall D. Smith.