Denver Post moving out of town
The Denver Post has confirmed it will move out of the city of Denver this year. According to a statement cited by numerous media outlets, Publisher & CEO Mac Tully said the newspaper will move most of its news and advertising staffs to its printing facility in Adams County, located at 58th Avenue and Washington Street.
The statement came May 8, when it was also reported that Tully had told the staff at a meeting that day that all or most of the move would take place by the end of the year. He also said that The Post will continue to maintain some office space in downtown Denver, “so that our reporters and photographers can respond quickly to the news.”
The news surfaced May 5 during a hearing in Denver District Court concerning a lawsuit The Post filed against three former advertising employees – former senior vice president of advertising Reid Wicoff, former senior digital sales strategist David Staley and former director of digital advertising operations Nicole Brennan. A Denver Post article said the suit alleges “the three conspired to use the newspaper’s trade secrets and confidential information to set up a competing advertising agency.”
The facility already is home to all Denver Post printing operations, some of the business department, and several other departments as well. The newsroom and a portion of the advertising division have been housed at the downtown building rented by The Post at 101 W. Colfax Ave., across the street from Civic Center Park.
In the statement, Tully noted: “While we would like to stay in our current building, the move offers a considerable cost savings during this difficult period in the newspaper industry, and allows us to keep the most important part of our newsroom and advertising: The people.”
According to tweets sent out by Post city hall reporter Jon Murray, Tully also told staff that although no big layoffs were planned, “small targeted cuts” might occur. He added that there would be some “investments” in areas such as political coverage.
World Journal aims high with new office digs
The World Journal has had a lot of changes in the 10 years that Brian and Gretchen Orr have owned the southern Colorado newspaper. The most recent was the move to a new office that can be described as both unique and quite fitting with the nearby Colorado mountains the newspaper covers.
The Orrs started the newspaper in 2007 under the name Huerfano Journal, up against “the long-established local newspaper, the Huerfano World,” wrote Brian in a recent article. Three years later, the Orrs bought out the 126-year-old World, combined the two papers, and renamed it the Huerfano World Journal.
Five more years, and the couple expanded their coverage from just Huerfano County in southeast Colorado to encompass Huerfano, neighboring Las Animas County “and next-door Colfax County in New Mexico.”
And that meant another name change. People outside the county didn’t really connect to Huerfano, so the newspaper became the World Journal. The business grew and branch offices opened in Trinidad, Colo., and Raton, N.M., to accommodate reporters and sales staff.
But as the newspaper grew, the home office in Huerfano seemed to shrink. Said Gretchen in that same article: “When we started, there were just three of us, one for each of the three rooms we rented on Main Street. (By 2016) we were up to six full-time employees and two part-timers in those same offices. When we had staff meetings on Fridays, when all of our extra freelance writers would show up, we were standing room only.”
So, noted Brian, when a new office building “just four doors away” opened up last summer under new owners “who were more than happy to customize the interior layout to a newspaper’s specifications,” the Orrs signed a new lease and got ready to move to bigger and better digs.
What makes the new space unique is that “because the dramatic mountains in the territory are such an important cultural touchstone,” the Orrs decided to model their geographic shapes in the office walls. “The first two offices have walls shaped like the east and west peaks of the Spanish Peaks mountains,” said Gretchen. “Farther back we have Blanca Peak and Fishers Peak on the other side.”
By the end of November the mountain scenery dividers, new paint, and newly-polished 100-year-old wood floors – plus wiring to handle a heavy phone load and internet needs – were ready for the new tenants. Moving began Dec. 1 with help from the Orrs’ two college-age sons home for the holidays.
A month later, some unpacking still remained, but the staff was settling in to the larger, “echo-y feeling” new space – having gone from an office where everyone was separated to one in which “you can hear everything everybody is doing,” said Gretchen.
But overall the move was a smooth one, with no disruption in publishing. “It’s nice when you have a small, dedicated staff willing to go the extra distance to make a stressful time work. They’re one of the reasons we’ve been so successful overall,” she added.
Plus, in an age of downsizing, it’s nice now and then to hear a success story of a newspaper moving onward and “upward.”
Cost-cutting targeted to boost bottom lines in 2017
“You can’t cut your way to prosperity” – so goes a favorite truism about the news business pointed out by Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for The Poynter Institute. But the columnist for Poynter Online also noted that in one case, the company saw other major benefits.
Tronc Inc., formerly Tribune Publishing, is a newspaper print and online media company that includes the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and more. On June 20 of last year, the company changed its name to “tronc,” short for “Tribune online content.”
But the company was also short on profits, operating at break-even levels in the last quarter of 2015. But after implementing cost controls, tronc posted a $19.4 million profit in the final quarter of 2016. “Expenses were down 14.2 percent for the quarter, about double the decline in revenues,” reported Edmonds. “It’s not quite cause-and-effect, but tronc is now in good enough shape to be considering a big acquisition.”
Edmonds recently spoke on “Thriving in Digital Transformation” at the Mega-Conference for media executives in Orlando, Fla. “Talk at industry meetings … appropriately focuses on innovation and new revenues,” he noted.
“But back home in the C-suite,” (among a corporation’s senior executives), “pressure to operate more efficiently and on a smaller scale is unrelenting, especially amid indications 2017 will be as difficult a year for ad revenue as was 2016.”
Still, planning can alleviate some shortfalls. Tronc achieved their success by trimming staff, reducing real estate to house operations, outsourcing IT and other services, and reducing newsprint and ink expenses (including smaller print editions).
The company now says further cuts would be “focused on the non-people side of things,” according to CFO Terry Jimenez, to keep content and sales efforts strong. He also said better sales training and retention could help counter lower ad revenue.