Denver Post covering Colorado shooting without a copy desk

Journal-isms | The Buttry Diary
In the 13 years since the massacres at Colorado’s Columbine High School and last week’s tragedy in Aurora, Colo., The Denver Post has lost dozens of newsroom staffers, Editor Greg Moore told readers of Richard Prince's Journal-isms.

“I was not here for Columbine, but the other day we were looking at those Columbine papers and marveling at the talent that is no longer here,” Moore said. “My guess is the staff was around 240 or so in 1999. Today we have about 170.”

The Post is also covering one of the biggest breaking news stories in the country without copy editors. The paper announced in May that it was eliminating its copy desk, spreading that responsibility to reporters and editors throughout the newsroom. Moore said:

I believe we have been up to the challenge of handling this huge story. We have had some issues responding to the normal crises of grammatical copy and typos but nothing super embarrassing. I have never seen us more meticulous, something we have to be with the staff losses we have incurred. People have incredible capacity to rise to the challenge and we are. Everyone is using every skill they have to make our newspapers and our website the best they can be. And they are succeeding.

The staff is also making greater use of the Web. In a piece about how the Post used social media to cover the theater shooting, Steve Buttry quotes Post reporter Jordan Steffen:

Twitter was the most efficient and fastest way to keep readers updated on both the atmosphere of several locations and new information streaming in.The ability to quickly share quotes from friends of victims and others at the make shift memorial kept my followers and the Denver Post readers in touch with how the community was responding to the shooting.

How news spread of Colorado theater shooting | How to approach sources on Twitter when covering tragedies like the Colorado shooting

Clarification: This post was updated to more accurately reflect how many staffers the Denver Post has lost since Columbine.

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    Tracie Powell

    Tracie Powell is a senior fellow for Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder-philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that Americans come first in our democracy. Tracie is also founder of AllDigitocracy which focuses on media and its impact on diverse communities. 


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