Media Moves

The Rocky biz desk: Five years later

February 26, 2014

Staff Photo, from left to right: Gil Rudawsky, John Rebchook, Joanne Kelley(in headlock), Jane Hoback, Roger Fillion, David Milstead, Gargi Chakrabarty, Rob Reuteman

Not surprisingly, the shutdown in February 2009 of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver scattered its 14 business journalists to the four winds.

Last weekend, on the five-year anniversary of the paper’s closing, many of them were among the 200-plus staffers who gathered at the Denver Press Club for a rousing reunion bash.

The staff remains a fairly close-knit group. Five years after we last worked together, nine of us showed up to celebrate with each other.

Most of us remain in the Denver area, but one reporter, Gargi Chakrabarty, flew in from Boston. Another, Jeff Smith, has been living in Sri Lanka for the past five years, and he’s been incommunicado for awhile. Jamie Paton lives in Australia and didn’t make it to the paton-1 (2)reunion. But he passed through town in November, and we all got together then.  And Paton did post a photo Sunday on Facebook, drinking a glass of wine while wearing a Rocky T-shirt, a reminder that he was there in spirit.

This was a crack staff, which won a dozen SABEW Best in Business awards during its time together. When I hired, I looked as much for chemistry as anything. How someone might fit in with everyone else was always a paramount consideration. I’d say, five years later, we’re still very much in touch with one another. We’re Facebook friends, we e-mail with each other weekly, sometimes daily, exchanging stock picks, job openings, things we’ve read and shared. More importantly, we offer snide remarks and crude inside jokes about each other.

The other night, we were together again, quickly falling back into established roles, as if it were yesterday that we were a unit. Five years were erased in half a beer.

As with most journalists who got kicked to the curb in the past five years, I sometimes muse about “getting the band back together.” I try not to let the reverie last too long before snapping back to reality. But damn, those were fun times – doing kick-ass business journalism day in and day out, all the while having as many laughs as possible, often and good-naturedly at each others’ expense. We’ll always have Denver.

Where are we now? Here’s where:

  • Telecommunications reporter Jeff Smith, formerly managing editor at The Cambodia Times, is raising his family in Sri Lanka, where his wife worked for International Development Enterprises, a global anti-poverty nonprofit.
  • Energy reporter Gargi Chakrabarty moved to Boston, where she is a marketing research manager for KEMA, a global energy consultancy.
  • Health care  reporter Joyzelle Davis is public relations director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado and Nevada, based in Denver.
  • Finance editor David Milstead is a freelance financial writer and editor, as well as being a weekly columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Airline reporter Chris Walsh, after a stint as business editor for an English-language daily in Seoul, is editor of Marijuana Business Daily, a website covering the burgeoning cannabis industry.
  • Finance reporter Jamie Paton now lives in Sydney, covering Australian energy markets for Bloomberg News.
  • Deputy business editor Gil Rudawsky is vice president and public relations strategist for Denver-based GroundFloor Media.
  • Assistant business editor Jane Hoback freelances, and works as a grant writer for National Jewish Health, a Denver-based respiratory hospital.
  • Real estate editor John Rebchook continues to cover his beat as principal blogger for in Denver, and works part-time at Colorado Real Estate Journal.
  • Reporter Joanne Kelley, who covered nonprofits among other things, is now executive director for the Denver-based Colorado Association of Funders, which represents family foundations.
  • Tech reporter Roger Fillion is a freelance writer, editor and social media specialist in Denver.
  • Designer Steve Haigh is director of student media at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
  • Administrative assistant Marissa Ware is a freelance illustrator and graduate student at the Academy of Art University in Oakland, Calif.
  • Business editor Rob Reuteman teaches business journalism at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and works as a freelance financial journalist.

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