Quick Hitters news briefs

Aspen Times names Laudicina new digital engagement editor

The Aspen Times recently promoted Rose Laudicina to a newly created position – digital engagement editor – with the goal to boost online and social media presence. Laudicina began work in late May. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, she was a reporter for the community newspaper the Carrboro (N.C.) Citizen while attending graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill in the School of Media and Journalism.

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Rose Laudicina

Rose Laudicina

She has worked as a copy editor and page designer at the Aspen Times for three years. Now, Laudicina will direct the newspaper’s website and social accounts, “provide readers with more local breaking news and content on AspenTimes.com throughout the day; send alerts and updates via Twitter (@TheAspenTimes); suggest reads, timely stories and add fun content on Facebook; and share pictures on Instagram (@aspentimes) of the incredible scenery around the valley,” noted a Times’ article.

Said Editor David Krause: “Part of our role of being a leader in the community is to let our readers know about stories that affect them. Rose has a great command of social media and has come to know and love Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. We were lucky enough to find the person we needed already in our newsroom.”

CCM buys, revamps Denver Herald-Dispatch

Upon hearing in December that a weekly newspaper in southwest Denver was about to close, Colorado Community Media (CCM) stepped in to make sure that would not happen. The following month CCM purchased the Denver Herald-Dispatch, which has been published for more than 90 years, and began the process of remodeling its newest acquisition.

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Ellis Arnold

Ellis Arnold

The new Denver Herald-Dispatch was recently revealed, with University of Colorado-Boulder grad Ellis Arnold its new community editor. He most recently was editor-in-chief of the CU Independent, CU’s student-run publication, and also interned past summers for both the Daily Camera in Boulder and The Denver Post.

The plan is to have the revamped newspaper offer readers more content, much of it local southwest Denver news, a weekly entertainment calendar, and the benefits of teaming up with Denverite – “an online-only publication covering Denver that will contribute interesting features and news stories.”

The Denver Herald-Dispatch joins 17 other community newspapers in the CCM Denver Metro group, “which makes it possible for us to also include regional news that pertains to your life,” noted a recent article to DHD readers from CCM owner and Publisher Jerry Healey.

News Media Alliance honors two Rising Stars in Colorado

The News Media Alliance recently honored the recipients of its Rising Star Awards at mediaXchange 2017 in New Orleans – the largest annual gathering of industry executives in North America. The program recognizes “young leaders working in every aspect of the news media who are contributing to the future success of the industry,” and provides “an opportunity to showcase the unique energy and knowledge that young professionals bring to news media companies.” Applicants, all under 30, included advertising executives, journalists, photographers, social media experts and more. The awards were previously known as the Top 30 Under 30. Among the winners were:

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Ryan Kanner

Ryan Kanner

Ryan Kanner, WordPress Engineer, Digital First Media – Located in Denver, Kanner performs “backend WordPress development for a network of high-traffic news sites hosted on wordpress.com’s VIP platform.” A graduate of Johnson and Wales University in graphic design and emerging web technologies, he has worked as a web developer since 2013 at companies based in Rhode Island and Denver. He has been with Digital First Media since April 2016 as a WordPress developer.

This summer, he will address the inaugural WordCamp for Publishers conference, focusing on WordPress publishing and sponsored by DRM. It will be held at The Denver Post, a WordPress.com VIP customer, Aug. 17-19. The Denver-based Digital First Media – one of the largest media groups in the United States – is the operator of The Denver Post and 18 other daily and weekly publications in Colorado.

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Alexandra Smith

Alexandra Smith

Alexandra Smith, Content Strategist, The Coloradoan – With the Fort Collins newspaper since June 2014, Smith began as outreach editor, then digital editor and engagement editor prior to taking her current position as of December 2015. She heads up an engagement team, including production and photography, leads a “distributed platform storytelling strategy from podcasts to chatbots and more,” and directs culture and dining reporters to generate “engaging, audience-focused stories and videos,” among other duties.

The Denver Post earns Edward R. Murrow digital sports reporting award

The Denver Post has won the prestigious 2017 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting in the Large Digital News Organization category. The award was announced June 20 and will be presented on Oct. 9 at Gotham Hall in New York City.

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AAron Ontiveroz

AAron Ontiveroz

Director of Emerging Media AAron Ontiveroz and Preps Editor Kyle Newman Aaron Ontiveroz produced the award-winning 13-minute documentary feature on the Justice High School football team’s “fight to beat the odds and contend for a conference championship,” said a release from Digital First Media. Justice is a public charter school in Lafayette, Colo., that services at-risk students. The documentary “highlighted the football team’s attempt to overcome insurmountable obstacles, despite going winless in the 2015 season and dealing with challenging circumstances in their personal lives.”

Said Ontiveroz: “This story really connects us with what it’s like to be human – about getting knocked down, getting back up and not giving in to the circumstances that try to keep you down. While the … team may not have clinched the championship, they achieved something so much more valuable and proved their resilience on and off the field.”

Ontiveroz joined the Post staff in December 2010. After attending Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., (earning an associate of arts degree) and the University of Wyoming (B.A., communication and journalism), he previously worked for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. A 2012 graduate of the Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism, Newman has been a sports columnist for 5280 Magazine in Denver, executive editor for the Colorado Sports Network, editor for The Fan Varsity Sports Network, South Bend, Ind., and sports editor and photographer for the Alamogordo (N.M.) Daily News. He joined the Post staff in September 2016.

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Kyle Newman

Kyle Newman

The awards are presented annually by the Radio Television Digital News Association to recognize outstanding achievements in electronic journalism, radio, television and digital newsrooms around the world. The Denver Post competed this year with prominent news organizations including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Said Post President and CEO Mac Tully: “We are extremely proud to be recognized with this award. Just as Justice High defied the odds, winning this award The Denver Post showed the outstanding quality of journalism we are capable of and consistently producing.” The documentary, “Justice football helps at-risk high school students get back on track,” is available on DenverPost.com.

Heartland Emmy awards go to Denver Post video projects

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Lindsay Pierce

Lindsay Pierce

The Denver Post garnered three honors for work related to oil and gas deaths and Japanese internment camps, including video journalist Lindsay Pierce’s two individual awards, in regional competition at the Heartland Emmys July 15. The Denver Post received nine nominations in the regional competition, which includes television stations, news organizations and other groups from five states.

The Post earned the Community Service Award for videos for its “Drilling Through Danger” project – which “recounted the 51 Colorado deaths from 2003 to 2014 that were related to jobs in the oil and gas industry,” reported Post Managing Editor Linda Shapley.

Pierce won one award for Public Affairs Feature/Segment for one of the stories in that project; her piece featured the family of Matt Smith, who died on a Weld County oilfield in 2014. She also won for a documentary on Bob Fuchigami, who was interned in Camp Amache (aka Granada War Relocation Center, Granada, Colo.) in the southeast part of the state during World War II.

Facebook, online news publishers work on social media platform project

This June, six newsrooms began working with Facebook on a project to establish stronger ties with the social media platform. This first six-month pilot program, with another six to come, includes newsrooms from Berkleyside (Calif.), Honolulu Civil Beat, Texas (Austin) Tribune, QCityMetro (Charlotte, N.C.), Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Homepage Media Group (Nashville, Tenn.) – all members of Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION) and the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN).

Each organization will work on its own for the six-month term, “building a direct relationship with Facebook, undergoing training and learning best practices for using the social network,” reported Kristen Hare in a recent Poynter.org article. Results will be shared, noted Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University’s Center for Cooperative Media, which is coordinating the Knight Foundation project for the program’s work with LION, INN and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

Members of the project come from both editorial and business ranks. Said Murray: “We want to help them have a direct relationship with people at Facebook. That’s something that sounds simple, but for many, many news publishers, trying to get ahold of someone who works at Facebook is nearly impossible.” David Beard, a veteran of The Washington Post and Public Radio International (PRI), is working as a consultant to get a sense of what the newsrooms need, “what they need to do and what Facebook needs to know about them,” noted Hare.