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Tue Jun 4, 2019, 03:43 PM

The newsroom mood is 'pretty dark' as cuts hit The Pueblo Chieftain

Last year, Colorado’s oldest daily newspaper, which at the time was under family ownership, was, like many newspapers around the country, bought by GateHouse, a company managed by a private equity firm that had in turn been bought by a Tokyo-based conglomerate.

The paper has filled some vacant positions, I’m told, but since the sale, the Chieftain is down a handful of editor and newsroom leader positions, its design team had been asked to potentially relocate to a hub in Austin, or be laid off, and the paper added a publisher but let its general manager go. The newsroom staff had “shrunk considerably” after GateHouse bought the Chieftain, one reporter told me around then. (Two years prior to the sale, the paper had already let multiple people go and stopped delivering newspapers west of Cańon City, east of Las Animas, and in the San Luis Valley, citing declining advertising revenue.)

Just last week, after about a year under the new ownership, things got worse. Across the country, dozens of axes fell in GateHouse newsrooms, and The Pueblo Chieftain was not immune. Longtime business editor Dennis Darrow caught the blade, and longtime reporter Mike Spence took an early retirement deal, essentially a “voluntary layoff,” says reporter Luke Lyons, the Chieftain’s labor union chair. “The mood here in the newsroom is pretty dark,” Lyons told me last Friday. “Facing an uncertain future doesn’t really translate to more productivity.” Prior to the GateHouse sale, Lyons says there were 30 people in the newsroom, including clerks, photographers, reporters, designers, and editors. “By my count now, we’re down to 18,” he says.

Meanwhile…



Corey Hutchins

@CoreyHutchins
"Pueblo Chieftain reporters Zach Hillstrom, Anthony A. Mestas and Ryan Severance present a monthslong investigation into the resurgence of methamphetamine in Pueblo." https://www.chieftain.com/news/20190531/chieftain-examines-resurgence-of-meth-in-pueblo

9:49 AM - Jun 1, 2019
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The devastation hedge-fund ownership has wreaked on local journalism has been well documented in Denver; what’s happening in Pueblo, less so — mainly in this newsletter and in Pueblo’s PULP newsmagazine. Kara Mason, a journalist from Pueblo who now lives and works in the Denver area, pointed out this week how journalists at The Denver Post helped focus national attention on their plight while those in Pueblo have not.

Read more: https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/05/31/a-weekly-column-about-the-news-behind-the-news-in-colorado/

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