OLD Media Moves

The issue of writing about someone

March 4, 2009

Michael Roberts of Denver Westword interviews former Rocky Mountain News finance editor David Milstead about his coverage of the paper’s demise and whether he considered going to work for the rival Denver Post.

Here is an excerpt:

WW: As you know, shortly after the announcement about the sale of the Rocky, we published a feature article that included the five folks we thought it made the sense for the Post to bring aboard, and you were among the five. In thinking about why you weren’t hired, one thing keeps coming to mind. You, out of every reporter I know of in the country, was toughest on MediaNews and Dean Singleton. This is sheer speculation on my part, but do you think it was a factor?

DM: We’ll never know. What I know for sure is that I was approached the week of January 12 by Greg Moore to gauge my interest in working for the Post. I met with him very briefly — and when I say “briefly,” it was three or four minutes in total, I think. My message was twofold. At that time, I wasn’t soliciting my sources in the financial sector for jobs, because I didn’t want the issue of writing about somebody and also trying to get a job from them. And it occurred to me that the same should apply to the Denver Post. I told Greg Moore — and this seems funny in retrospect — “I don’t want anyone to accuse me of going soft on MediaNews in order to curry favor to get a job at the Post.” And I think he understood that explanation. But then I also told him it had not occurred to me in the past to work for the Post, because I really didn’t like the quality of their business coverage, and I was unclear about his commitment to the quality of their business coverage. I told him that while a lot could change and I wasn’t going to say I’d never speak to him, I was not going to have any conversation at that time. And I think he was gracious. He said he understood that, and that’s where we left it.

Of course, over the subsequent weeks, I wrote a column and a number of stories that I know were disliked by the leaders of MediaNews. That’s obvious because the statements they issued.

Read more here.

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