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Denver Post journalists call for hedge fund to sell after latest resignations; rallies planned Tues.

Posted at 11:18 AM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-07 13:21:56-04

DENVER – Employees of The Denver Post plan to rally against the paper’s hedge fund majority owner, Alden Global Capital, Tuesday at its New York headquarters and at The Post’s printing plant in Colorado.

The rally comes after three of the paper’s top editors and its chairman and former owner resigned late last week and after 30 of its newsroom employees were laid off just weeks earlier.

It also comes as more than 50 Post employees issued a letter to their readers about the resignation of Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett, who was among the three who resigned last week.

“It has become vividly clear that they are undeserving of owning The Denver Post and of serving you,” the letter reads. “It has become vividly clear that they must either invest in the newspaper or sell it to someone who cares about Colorado, and they must do it immediately. That is the truth.”

It also says that Plunkett resigned when Digital First Media chief operating officer Guy Gilmore blocked an editorial he sought to run that criticized Digital First and Alden. Digital First Media is The Post’s parent company, and Alden is the hedge fund that controls the majority of the company. Plunkett organized a package of anti-Alden editorials that ran last month.

That editorial was published Monday by the Columbia Journalism Review, and Rolling Stone published a Plunkett op-ed titled “I Stood Up for 'The Denver Post' and Was Forced to Resign” in which he laid out what led to his resignation.

“As journalists and as good public citizens, we cannot agree to remain silent about clear threats to our communities,” Plunkett ends the piece. “The stakes are too important. Now that we've placed the vultures on notice, let's keep them there until we win.”

Several of the paper’s news staff flew to New York City over the weekend ahead of Tuesday’s noon protest at Alden headquarters. They say they will demand that the owners invest in the paper or sell it. There will also be a rally at The Post’s printing plant at 59th and Washington in Adams County.

According to a Nieman Lab report, Digital First in FY2017 saw a 19 percent profit margin of $36 million from its Colorado papers, which also include the Boulder Daily Camera and several others. But the latest cuts at the post will leave the newsroom with fewer than 60 journalists – about a fifth of the newsroom’s size just a few years ago.

Alden hasn’t said what it plans to do – if anything – with the paper. A group of Colorado investors has already pledged $10 million toward buying The Post, and it’s unclear what the price tag would be for the 125-year-old newspaper.

But many Post journalists on Monday tweeted their support for the rallies, and for the newsroom leaders standing up to the hedge fund owners. And Plunkett wrote that he was grateful.

“To everyone who has tweeted support for my continuing stance re the #NewsMatters situation and what’s happening @denverpost and across Digital First Media papers: Enormous heart-felt gratitude!” Plunkett tweeted. “Thank you all SO MUCH! I feel honored to have your appreciation.”

Editor's Note: Denver7 is a news partner of The Denver Post's, but is not owned by Digital First Media.