Quick Hitters news briefs

Denver Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Westergaard announces retirement

Neil Westergaard, at the editorial helm of the Denver Business Journal for the past 18 years, will retire early in 2018. DBJ News Director Mark Harden reported the news Nov. 15, noting, “Westergaard has been a Colorado newspaperman for four decades.” After the first of the year, he will stay for several months part-time as a contributing editor and consultant.

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Neil Westergaard

Westergaard was an editor and reporter for The Denver Post for 15 years, taking the executive editor post in the early 1990s. He also previously worked for newspapers in Greeley and Colorado Springs. He is “one of the longest-serving editors with American City Business Journals, the DBJ’s parent company, out of its 40 print-and-digital markets nationwide,” reported Harden.

“Since 2009,” he added, “when Westergaard revamped DenverBusinessJournal.com as a full-service online breaking-news source, the site has tripled its audience and won several awards for news excellence.”

Said Westergaard in the article: “I’ve thought about doing this for several years. I’m extremely proud of what the DBJ has accomplished over the past 18 years with what I think is one of the finest groups of people I’ve ever worked with. But I don’t want to be one of those old codgers who refuses to get out of the way. It’s time for someone new to take over.”

Westergaard is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. He was executive director of corporate communications at what is now Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado in the late 1990s. He joined the DBJ staff in 1999. In 2007 he received the Colorado chapter Society of Professional Journalists’ Lowell Thomas award for career achievement, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.

With his guidance, the DBJ has won many awards for excellence in journalism, including national honors from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and he himself has won many individual awards for reporting and column writing. In addition, Colorado Press Association has named the newspaper the state’s best large weekly for the last five consecutive years.

Digital First Media CEO & President Steve Rossi retires, Guy Gilmore named COO

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Steve Rossi

Steve Rossi, CEO and president of Digital First Media (DFM), recently retired, reported The Denver Post’s Aldo Svaldi, adding that DFM, the owner of The Denver Post, subsequently named Guy Gilmore as the company’s chief operating officer. Said Rossi in a statement announcing his retirement: “I wish to express my sincere thanks to all of you who work so hard to ensure the company’s success … There are many exciting challenges ahead, and the company is well-positioned to succeed.”

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Guy Gilmore

Rossi has been based in San Jose. Gilmore, an executive vice president in charge of DFM’s eastern region, has overseen the company’s properties in Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. He has been president and publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press since 2007. He joined MediaNews Group in 2005 after holding management positions with the Tribune Co. and Gannett.

Digital First Media formed in December 2013 with the merger of Denver-based MediaNews Group and the former Journal Register Co. Rossi was the company’s first COO and added the title of president. He took over as CEO in July 2015 after the departure of John Paton.

Latest staff cuts hit digital Denverite & more

Denverite, a digital news operation, tweeted Oct. 31 that it had laid off three staff members, noting, “Journalism is a tough industry.” Gone are the transportation and real estate reporter, social media and engagement specialist, and sports reporter, according to Corey Hutchins of The Colorado Independent, in a column for Columbia Journalism Review. He said the cuts came eight months after Spirited Media merged with the parent company of Denverite.

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Dave Burdick

Launched in 2016, the Denverite staff now consists of three reporters, a visual journalist, Assistant Editor/Government Reporter Erica Meltzer and Editor Dave Burdick, who previously was a features editor at The Denver Post and Daily Camera in Boulder, and a Huffington Post staff member. His father, Robert, was editor of the former Rocky Mountain News.

Last month, Hutchins reported there had also been layoffs at Swift Communications, including an education reporter and a part-time designer/copy editor at The Tribune in Greeley. Swift newspapers in Colorado also include The Aspen Times, Vail Daily, Summit Daily, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig Press and the Post Independent in Glenwood Springs.

Also this fall, various sources reported staff cuts at Gannett Co., Inc., whose properties include the Coloradoan in Fort Collins. A corporate restructuring with overall cuts of less than 1 percent involved approximately 210 jobs. In October 2016, Gannett is said to have made company-wide cuts of around 2 percent.

In late November, The Denver Post also did another round of layoffs. 

SoftWatch analysis on the job at DFM

Digital First Media (DFM), based in Denver, is using SoftWatch usage analysis to expedite the adoption of a wide range of G Suite services by company employees, noted the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company. DFM first implemented Google G Suite in 2014. SoftWatch will provide an in-depth view into usage patterns of MS office, file sharing and other non-Google tools, and also improve security. Noted the release: “Knowing how employees are using third-party file sharing and other features gave the IT management valuable insights into this aspect of their business.”

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Bob Kinney

Said DFM vice president of information technology Bob Kinney: “The specific information provided by SoftWatch’s analysis gives us the empirical evidence for management and finance so that we can move people back into the supported Google G Suite tools. We now have several software projects that we have lined up, based on (this) analysis, that will help us improve our use of Google G Suite and improve the experience for our employees.”