Friday, April 20, 2018

Colorado Journalism Week, Denver Post editorial board war with hedge-fund owners, remind us why journalism matters

Today wraps up Colorado Journalism Week, a celebration whose importance is made clear by the recent tension between the Denver Post and its hedge fund owners Alden Global Capital. After Alden announced 30 newsroom layoffs--about a third of the staff--the editorial board declared war on its owners with a full page of editorials decrying "vulture capitalists" and urging readers to remember why news matters.

"The public tension between the Denver Post’s hard-working staff and managers of a soulless hedge fund is symptomatic of broader issues that cut across Colorado and the country. It reflects the state of journalism and how it is practiced in these turbulent times," Kevin Duggan writes for The Coloradoan. "It should be no surprise that the Coloradoan editorial board knows journalism matters. We believe thoughtful, fact-driven, accurate, unbiased reporting is a key component of our democratic society. We believe that as we mark Colorado Journalism Week on our calendars that the work of a free press remains necessary, relevant and worth fighting to preserve.

Why? Because it's important to keep readers informed, and the best way to do that is with trained journalists who know how to get the story. "How would you know what hides in the dark corners of our government agencies if journalists were not around to notice and ask questions?" Duggan writes.

Another reason journalism is so important: in the digital age, there are plenty of biased bloggers and activists pushing an agenda, Duggan writes. But trained journalists work with the facts and adhere to strict ethical standards, and when they get it wrong, they say so. That honesty is the cornerstone of readers' trust in journalists, and helps readers become more media literate.

But good journalism comes at a cost, and readers have to pitch in somehow to keep newspapers going, Duggan writes. Journalism "will survive and flourish because readers who care about their communities see the value in quality journalism, and will do what it takes to help keep it alive."

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