Camera reporter surfaces at Denver startup
Bob Wells | May 26, 2016
Where have all the Daily Camera reporters and editors gone? A reliable source says the head count in the Camera newsroom is down to a dozen or so.
One departed staffer was Camera city-beat reporter Erica Meltzer, who is expected to surface at a Denver-oriented online publication. Some info about that venture is now becoming known. A May 25 article on the website of Harvard’s Nieman Lab reported:
A new media company founded by Gordon Crovitz, the former publisher of The Wall Street Journal; Kevin Ryan, the founder of Business Insider; and Jim Friedlich, a former Journal exec, is launching a line of city-specific news properties under the umbrella of a still-unnamed media company.
First up is Denver. Denverite will launch as an email newsletter in June. According to a release:In addition to breaking news and telling stories worth sharing, Denverite will create resources that help explain the sometimes hidden or confusing systems and rules of the Mile High City and the state of Colorado, and will point to great reporting, writing and storytelling in the metro area, even if it didn’t appear in a Denverite product.
Denverite’s editor-in-chief is Dave Burdick, who was previously the deputy features editor at The Denver Post. “The mission of Denverite is to provide our subscribers, followers, and readers with the finite amount of information that really matters right now,” Burdick said in a statement.
The ultimate plan is to expand the model of aggregation, curation, and original reporting to cities across the U.S. Denverite, with eight to ten writers, will probably be in operation for almost a year before any expansion takes place, Ken Doctor reported in Politico. After beginning as an email newsletter, Denverite will expand to a website and responsive mobile site by the end of June. There will be no advertising for at least the first six months.
Meltzer covered Boulder city politics admirably during a four-year tenure, a beat now being covered by Alex Burness, also with considerable gusto. Another recent departure was Whitney Bryen, who garnered high marks for her East County coverage.
A reliable source explained that the business model of the Camera’s parent company, Denver-based Digital First Media (which is largely owned, in turn, by a NYC-based investment firm, Alden Global Capital LLC) is to seek a 20 percent profit from its owned properties, and to achieve that goal by toting up the revenues, then doing whatever cost-cutting and layoffs are require.
Just for comparison, the Daily Camera newsroom staff — editors and reporters — numbered 70 when I was business editor there in the late 1980s, when newspaper-industry profits were near their zenith.
From 70 to a dozen, the numbers tell a story.