The National Association of Hispanic Publications chose Denver for its annual conference and the group’s 40th anniversary.
From Wednesday to Friday, nearly 100 members of the organization met at the Double Tree Hilton for a series of panel discussions. President Joe Biden on Friday sent a letter to the NAHP, calling the free press “our best guardian of truth and an integral part of our democracy.” And he congratulated the organization on four decades of ensuring Hispanic publications have “the resources they need to thrive, get the recognition they deserve, and deliver dependable news to people across our nation.”
I attended the conference on behalf of Colorado Media Project, which underwrites this newsletter and covered registration and accommodations. Some takeaways:
- Jesús Luis Sánchez Meleán, editor of El Comercio de Colorado, and an NAHP board member, said it was Denver’s strong half-century tradition of thriving Hispanic publications, and Colorado’s statewide ecosystem that supports ethnic media, that led the organization to choose the Mile High City to host the convention this year.
- On one panel, Sánchez Meleán spoke about the power of collaboration, saying his outlet on the Front Range shares content with Enterate Latino on the Western Slope and in turn is able to run content from that publication. (This kind of collaborative spirit among publications, with support from groups like CMP and COLab, might seem somewhat blasé these days in Colorado, but multiple attendees from outside the state mentioned how pioneering it seems.)
- Álvaro Gurdián, NAHP’s president, said he felt members could learn a lot from Colorado’s media scene because of its creativity — particularly on the collaboration front. While such partnerships might not be the norm for some NAHP members, he said he senses things are changing. That could also include for-profit media outlets seeking out grants and fundraising from the community.
- In a presentation about audience survey results, Kirk Whisler, president of Western Publication Research, Inc., said his firm’s research shows that “at a minimum there are 12 million Reader Latinos in the United States, which is 28% of the Latino adult population.” He calls “Reader Latinos” people who spend a significant amount of time consuming meaningful content.
- Steven Waldman of Report for America and the Rebuild Local News Coalition said he thought the NAHP and its membership “has the capacity to be quite influential” in wrangling legislative support for the federal Local Journalism Sustainability Act during a lame-duck Congress. Waldman said about two newspapers die each week. (One Colorado lawmaker took note of that statistic.)
- Hector Paniagua Morales, editor and publisher of Enterate Latino, said his Spanish-language newspaper serves readers in about six counties on the Western Slope. “I’m an immigrant in Colorado,” he said on a panel. “And for me to be able to publish a paper, it is a big deal, and it allows me to put [out] content that is relevant to our readers.”
- The NAHP, with support from the Google News Initiative, launched a national news aggregator, HispanicNews.us, that shares “journalism from publications and outlets that serve Latino communities in the US.”
- On a panel titled “Pathways to philanthropy for Hispanic publishers,” attendees learned from Duc Luu at the Knight Foundation how they might pitch the national funder for financial support. It’s rare that Knight funds individual outlets, Luu said, but what they do fund is aimed at bettering the journalism community. “The question I will come back to ask you with is: What do you know that others do not about informing and engaging communities,” he said. “What is the thing that you do better than someone else that I need to make sure that you have the funds to continue doing so that other journalists and other newsrooms can learn from that and make it a more sustainable ecosystem for everyone?”
- Asked for a show of hands during one panel if the audience of publishers charged their readers for subscriptions, I did not see any go up. Asked how many ran any kind of year-end fundraising campaign or something, the only raised hand I saw came from a Coloradan who participated in the #newsCOneeds campaign. The idea of charging readers for content or asking audience members for financial support is something some NAHP members said they have been reluctant to do. “It’s not in our culture to donate,” Paniagua Morales told me. “Our culture is very generous but in a different way.” Multiple presenters urged publishers to consider it, though, even if just by adding a voluntary donate button to their news sites.
- Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said during a presentation that Hispanics make up 19% of the U.S. population and are the workforce of the future.
- A Hispanic man in Denver in the 1930s was the first person federally arrested for cannabis, Thomas Mitchell of Westword told attendees during a luncheon panel about pot and publishing.
- One Colorado publisher said an immigration lawyer recommended not publishing cannabis advertising because it could encourage use by people who might be in the country illegally.
- Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, appearing virtually during a Thursday dinner reception, called journalism the foundation of democracy, and thanked the state’s Spanish-language press. “We know how important your work is,” he said, “which is why we’re deeply committed to Spanish-language communications from our administration.”
- As Colorado moves past the pandemic, Polis said the role of Spanish-language media continues to be essential, and he outlined his thoughts about the role of the press in general. “These days, the media is critical to really be able to inform the electorate about the importance and the consequences and decisions people make, and democracy itself,” the governor said. “You truly help shine a light on the issues, the challenges that we face. Your stories spread awareness, hold institutions accountable, elected officials accountable, and keep our democracy alive and thriving with an informed and educated public.”
Read El Comercio de Colorado’s local coverage of the conference here.
Denver North Star scrapped its entire print run — after the paper went to press
A Denver Public Schools plan to close 10 schools didn’t just rile residents and lead to an hours-long public roasting this week. The superintendent’s timing with a decision to pare back the controversial proposal wound up costing a newspaper its entire 34,000-paper print run.
A printed edition of The Denver North Star that its readers won’t ever see carried a front-page story about how multiple schools in its coverage area were on the chopping block.
“After we print, prep for mailing — inserts, ads, everything — DPS, last minute, changes course, pulls all five of those off the list — half their list of what’s going to be closed. All of the ones in our area,” publisher David Sabados said this week.
“Front-page piece about North Denver schools to be closed,” he said, shaking his head at the thought of 34,000 now-irrelevant newspapers sitting at a printing plant in Cheyenne, Wyoming, carrying news that was no longer news. (The school board ultimately voted down closure plans.)
The discarded print run cost The Denver North Star about $5,000, particularly because of the advertising inserts, Sabados said, and it marked the first time in three years the monthly paper came out late. The relatively new publisher who also oversees the bilingual G.E.S. Gazette never even got his stop the presses! moment. “It was too late,” he says. “It was already printed.”
Sabados can’t even hold a fundraiser to sell commemorative copies of the irrelevant issues to try and make his money back. The papers have already met their pulpmaker. If you want to help him out, though, you can make a contribution to the paper here.
Producer’s ‘poor word choice’ led Denver TV station to say Dems ‘steal’ the Senate
“DEMOCRATS STEAL CONTROL OF THE SENATE.”
That’s what on-air text told viewers of Denver’s KWGN during a TV broadcast about the midterm elections this week. Such text is known in broadcasting as a chyron.
A viewer captured a video clip of the bizarre language and posted it to social media. A writer for the liberal Daily Kos published a post about it, calling it “pretty damning” that such a thing “made it to the airwaves.”
In an email, Brian Gregory, news director for KWGN and KDVR, called the development a “simple case of a producer making a poor word choice in a chyron,” adding there was “no malicious or political rhetoric intended.” Once the station learned of it, he said, they immediately stopped using the chyron.
“We handled it internally by educating the team about the importance of being thorough in every aspect of their jobs,” Gregory said.
‘Greeley Gadfly,’ a local news Substack newsletter, will launch next month
Trenton Sperry will become the latest local newspaper employee to start a hometown Substack newsletter.
The Greeley Gadfly, he writes, will cover “local government and politics news and commentary for Greeley and northern Colorado.” From this week’s announcement:
I live in Greeley, where I’ve worked in professional journalism since 2013. I currently design the layout for The Fence Post, an agricultural magazine that serves the High Plains area, so I’ll be pushing out this newsletter in my own free time. Because of that, I’m going to state from the outset that the timing of the newsletter and posts will be a bit sporadic at first as I get used to things.
Sperry is set to launch Greeley Gadfly on Dec. 16. Subscribers can pay $5 a month.
Greeley Gadfly joins outlets like Boulder Beat, The NoCo Optimist, and The Colorado Switchblade as small-scale entrepreneurial newsletters or digital sites filling gaps left by retrenching newspapers in their cities or regions. Each of those are staffed by former local newspaper journalists. Like them, the Gadfly’s success will be worth tracking as others might be able to learn from the model and whether it might work elsewhere.
How a CPR host responded to a listener who wanted her to sound ‘normal’
Colorado Public Radio news host May Ortega, who hosts the podcast “¿Quién Are We?,” got some unsolicited advice from a listener who suggested Ortega speak in a “normal tone” and not fluctuate her cadence. The way the news host speaks, a woman told Ortega in an email this week, “doesn’t sound natural.”
Ortega responded by pointing the listener to a 2019 NPR piece by Liana Van Nostrand titled “Sounding Like A Reporter — And A Real Person, Too.” The story noted that “voice is personal” and “reporters strive to sound clear and concise on air. And their voices reflect indelible features of their backgrounds — where they’re from and the voices they grew up with. Criticizing someone’s voice often seems to be a criticism of their identity.”
In a thread on social media, Ortega said her overall point to her emailer was: “because our voice is part of our identity and that is something that is ever changing, something I believe continues throughout your whole life, you’re hearing that self-discovery and evolution live as it’s happening. Remember this!”
More Colorado media odds & ends
⚖️ “Billionaire Phil Anschutz will get another chance to pursue an $8 million tax refund after the Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a lower court judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit seeking the money from the Colorado Department of Revenue,” The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul and Elliott Wenzler reported this week. The Sun added his “Colorado assets include … several media outlets, including The Gazette, based in Colorado Springs, The Denver Gazette and Colorado Politics.” (Those news outlets have not reported on the lawsuit since their 82-year-old owner filed it last year.) “The case could have big implications for taxation and government revenue in Colorado, as others could file for refunds if a ruling is eventually issued in the Anschutzes’ favor,” The Sun reported.
🎙 The Colorado Matters show on Colorado Public Radio is hiring a Western Slope producer it will pay $61,100 to $76,300.
🏔 The Society of Environmental Journalists this month elected Coloradan Luke Runyon as the organization’s new president. “I am currently the managing editor and reporter for KUNC’s Colorado River Reporting Project, where I focus on the Southwest’s water scarcity from my home office in Grand Junction,” he wrote in a welcome letter. (Boulderite Michael Kodas is the group’s second vice president of membership, which means Colorado has 25% representation on the SEJ’s leadership committee.)
🗣 The Coloradoan newspaper held a public event at a local library and asked residents: “What are your hopes for the future of news in Northern Colorado, and how do you see the role of local news providers playing out today?” Find out what people said here.
✄ Outside Inc., based in Colorado, cut 12% of its staff, reported Nikki Wentling this weekin The Denver Business Journal. “To achieve profitability and control our destiny, we have no choice but to reduce headcount,” CEO Robin Thurston said, according to the journal, and adding that the company spent “too freely” on ambitious growth projects.
😬 The Greeley Tribune ran an incomplete A1 headline above the fold, and
💨 As some people leave Twitter to join Mastadon, University of Colorado Boulder professor Nathan Schneider talked to 5280 magazine about “the concept of decentralized social media, and its potential and pitfalls.” Brian Keegan, a professor of information science at the University of Colorado Boulder, explained Mastadon in Colorado Newsline, arguing that it “won’t be a new Twitter.” (The item originally appeared in The Conversation.) Meanwhile, Hamed Qahri-Saremi, a professor of computer information systems at Colorado State University’s College of Business, spoke to CSU’s SOURCE about “what Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover might mean and why even non-users should care about the acquisition.”
📌 Check out the Colorado News Mapping Project and fill out the form to add a source to the map or let us know if we should update something already on it.
☀️ “Tens of thousands of news outlets — including the most prestigious in the world,” reported on a warning from the National Park Service about the perils of licking toads found in the southwest. But The Colorado Sun’s Jason Blevins filed an open records request of agency employee reports “detailing any and all interactions between park property visitors and the toads” and it “yielded zero records.”
🔬 A new in-depth analysis by the Media Insight Project, which includes The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute, shows “how Gen Z and Millennials get information on essential topics.”
🤐 “Colorado Republicans are saying they want to improve themselves, and a good way to move forward would be for the state’s top-money Republican, Phil Anschutz, to stifle the Colorado Springs Gazette’s impetuous and extremist editorial board, led by editor Wayne Laugesen,” wrote Jason Salzman, founder of the progressive Colorado Times Recorder nonprofit news and commentary site.
🗳 Westword’s Michael Roberts asked this week whether media are “already picking winners and losers” in Denver’s sprawling race for mayor.
📺 Colorado political reporters Caitlyn Kim, Sandra Fish, Marshall Zelinger, and Jesse Paul recorded a video in which they talked about the 2022 election season, “their experiences, stories and perspectives.”
📍 Bookmark this: “Reimagining the public square: What’s happening in Colorado’s information ecosystem right now.”
❌ KUSA 9News anchor Kyle Clark’s Nov. 9 tweet saying, “Adam Frisch is poised to upset Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in CO-3, based on a 9NEWS analysis of remaining ballots, which are largely in counties where Frisch holds strong leads,” might have offered a dump truck of dopamine to liberals on Twitter at the time, but it turned out incorrect. Frisch conceded to Boebert Friday after more than a week of ballot counting.
🎬 Several big-budget films and TV shows are “either currently filming in Colorado or will be soon,” John Wenzel reported for The Denver Post.
🆕 Kelly Clark is the new director of public relations and publications for the Archdiocese of Denver. “Kelly will also serve as Associate Editor for both the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Católico,” read an announcement. She was previously an executive producer at CBS4 in Denver where she managed the morning and weekend teams.
🎯 A handful of Colorado journalists will participate on a media roundtable Dec. 1 in Denver for the Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. “They’ll discuss tips, tricks and best practices for successful pitches – no matter who you are trying to reach,” the invite states.
I’m Corey Hutchins, co-director of Colorado College’s Journalism Institute. For nearly a decade I’ve reported on the U.S. local media scene for Columbia Journalism Review, and I’ve been a journalist for longer at multiple news organizations. The Colorado Media Project, where I write case studies, is underwriting this newsletter, and my “Inside the News” column appears at COLab, both of which I sometimes write about here. Follow me on Twitter, reply or subscribe to this weekly newsletter here, or e-mail me at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.