Quick Hitters news briefs

Colorado Politics, Colorado Statesman announce June wedding

A longtime political newspaper in the state and a new digital publication are joining forces to create an entity that aims to: “Drive the political conversation in Colorado every day, in every way. And have fun doing it.”

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Vince Bzdek

So says Vince Bzdek, editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “We see it as a perfect match of speed and substance, immediacy and insight,” noted Bzdek, himself a former political editor at The Washington Post. He will oversee the combined website and print magazine for Clarity Media, now the Statesman’s new owner. Bzdek also oversees the editorial staff of The Gazette.

The move combines the 118-year-old Statesman with the new ColoradoPolitics.com, which was launched by The Gazette last November. Clarity Media is the owner of The Gazette and several weekly publications in Colorado Springs, as well as the Washington Examiner, Weekly Standard and Red Alert Politics in Washington, D.C.

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Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch, a Pulitzer-Prize winner, former Denver Post political writer and onetime CNN contributor, is the lead correspondent for the site and new magazine. The websites of the two media companies were combined into one on June 1 under the Colorado Politics banner. Reporters for Colorado Politics and the Statesman also will team up to boost The Hot Sheet, a daily newsletter and blog for the new site. Clarity expects to add more staff members in the future.

The new, combined website will feature free and exclusive subscriber-only news stories on a daily basis. Subscribers will also receive the print edition of the newspaper in the mail every week, with additional subscriber-only content planned in the future. The print edition will also be available on newsstands around Denver in the coming months.

The Statesman print newspaper, published nonstop since 1898, will continue as a weekly until a complete redesign and relaunch is completed later this year. At that point, the Statesman will be rebranded Colorado Politics.

Said Bunch: “From the start, Colorado Politics has been an exciting venture, and the reception in the political community has been tremendous. The Statesman’s history and resources are welcome additions and should raise people’s expectations of us as the political news source that has it first, has it right and treats both sides fairly. Our readers tend to be folks who are the most engaged in state politics. This merger helps ensure they’re the best informed.”

The staff includes Jared Wright, a Statesman veteran who will run the business, advertising and circulation operations as general manager of the new publication; Peter Marcus, twice named one of the nation’s top state-based political and legislative reporters; and Dan Njegomir, a 25-year veteran of Colorado politics as an award-winning reporter, Gazette editorial page editor, legislative staffer and political consultant.

Also on staff are Ernest Luning, a longtime journalist and news editor who has written for the Statesman and The Colorado Independent; Erin Prater, a multimedia journalist whose work has appeared in The Denver Post and The Gazette, as well as national publications and websites; and Jim Trotter, a Pulitzer winner and longtime Colorado editor, who will help edit the site in conjunction with his duties as managing editor at The Gazette. The staff will report to Ryan McKibben, CEO and president of Clarity.

Colorado Community Media makes online access changes

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Jerry Healey

Jerry Healey, president and publisher of Colorado Community Media, recently announced to readers that a change was on the horizon – spurred by “a major shift” in the industry due to the internet.

In a column in one of the group’s newspapers, the Lakewood Sentinel (a west Metro Denver suburb), Healey explained the new online policy to readers: “Community media, like the Sentinel, has the unique ability to connect residents in this often fast-paced world,” said Healey. “It’s our job to give you our content in the format you prefer, and we spend a lot of time and resources on our online version.

“Lately, more of our online readers are also shifting to reading us on their phones. Because our websites are optimized for a smart phone, it’s a pretty good read there, too. To continue to offer the variety of ways people can read us, we will begin charging a small annual fee on June 1 for those who want to read us online.”

Added Healey: “If you are a subscriber or voluntary-pay contributor, online access is included for no additional charge. For others, we will begin charging $20 per year.” Without an online subscription, readers will be able to access two articles per month and the online e-reader (flipbook) for free.

“We call this our metered paywall – metered because you get two free articles per month. After that, you must subscribe to gain access to additional stories,” he noted. For a limited time, the Sentinel will offer readers a $5 discount, making the initial charge $15 for a full year of online access.

Veteran editor Martinez returns to Swift Communications

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Thomas R. Martinez

Thomas R. Martinez is back at work, with Swift Communications, that is. Previously serving as an editor with Swift for both its Greeley and Glenwood Springs newspapers, Martinez is the new editor of the Craig Daily Press. He replaced Noelle Leavitt Riley, who, after four years, left the newspaper in May.

Said Daily Press Publisher Renee Campbell: “We are very excited to welcome Thomas to the Craig Daily Press team and back into the Swift/Colorado Mountain News Media family. He brings many years of journalism experience and is the perfect candidate to lead our talented newsroom into the future.”

Martinez said he believes in a newspaper being both a watchdog and a provider of community news at a micro level. “As editor, I want to provide balanced and thorough news coverage of the Craig community,” he said. He also believes in a strong online presence, and looks forward to enhancing the newspaper’s website and social media channel efforts.

Martinez has more than 20 years of experience across all platforms and in different roles in the newsroom. Among other jobs, he has been an award-winning sports editor for The Tribune in Greeley and an award-winning columnist in Fort Morgan, a police reporter in North Platte, Neb., and a digital editor in Victoria, Texas.

Craig Daily Press changes publication days, adds distribution

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The Craig Daily Press recently announced changes in its publication schedule as well as distribution numbers. Beginning Aug. 2, 2017, the northwest Colorado daily will publish twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and increase distribution on both days to 5,000.

Said Advertising Manager Sheli Steele in a note to advertisers, “Through this additional free distribution, we are excited to better serve the market and you, our valued advertisers.” The move also means that the final publication of the Saturday Morning Press, Craig’s Saturday edition, will be July 29, 2017.