30 March 2009

The Mixed Bag At the Denver Post

The Denver Post has done a couple of fine pieces of original journalism recently, but is sometimes mediocre.

It has done some solid reporting on the Denver Sheriff's office pattern of leniency towards deputies who have been dishonest or committed other abuses. Today's coverage features a deputy who Maced a rabbit for no reason, and was convicted of animal cruelty, but was permitted to continue guarding prisoners in the jail. The City has stepped up efforts for reform, and has noted publicly suspected perjury by police officers in a criminal trial against an officer who was charged with using excessive force,

It also did some good computer assisted journalism describing increasing racial integration in the Denver metropolitan area, supplemented by multiple personal stories of individual to flesh out the story. The transformation, tracked with birth records, since I moved to Denver in the 1990s, has been phenomenal.

On the other hand, the Post covered the run up to the vacancy committee race in Colorado State House District 3 in a couple of medium length stories, but then dropped the ball. The individual selected this past Thursday with the results known by 10 p.m. (about four hours before the deadline for the Friday print edition) appeared only in an exceedingly brief sidebar note which first appeared in the print edition on Sunday. Even worse, the brief story that did get printed is almost deceptive by implying that far more people were involved than were in fact there. The fact that the winner was sworn in this morning has not yet shown up in their coverage, nor has a profile of the winner. Broadcast journalists and internet journalists, on the other hand, promptly covered the news and provided far more detail about how the decision was made and what happened in this rather extraordinary vacancy committee meeting.

One of the reasons I originally switched to the Rocky Mountain News from the Denver Post, before the Rocky shut down, was that the Denver Post is consistently late on the draw when it comes to breaking news, and was less complete in its Denver metropolitan area coverage. Alas, consolidation has not improved the Post's product outside its now double sized comics page.

No comments: