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tv   News Matters  PBS  July 27, 2021 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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(growing crowd noises) all of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left democrats, which is what they're doing and stolen by the
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fake news media. that's what they've done. (crowd chanting) usa! usa! we will never give up we will never concede it doesn't happen. you don't concede when there's theft. (crowd noise) we will not take it anymore. and that's what this is all about. (crowd chanting) the police are now running back into the capitol building. we have cheers from the protesters that are watching behind the scenes. (crowd noise) this is incredible. (crowd noise) our democracy is in in a very dangerous place right now. there's so much anger. there'so much distrust. (screaming crowd) our very democracy depends on access to
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reliable information. ( screaming crowd ) we've lost more than 2,000 newspapers in the united states. where do you go for information when your newspaper is gone? ( crowd noise ) when you have a vacuum, it gives rise to question facts and question convention and create confusion, in this country, we've seen a real decline in the levels of truat in the press. ( crowd noise ) journalists are being called the enemy of the people. what causes people to be fearful? a lack of information, they don't really know what's going on. they don't trust what's happening. i'm more worried about our democracy today than any other time in history. there's a very old saying that democracy dies in darkness. and when the lights go out, we all suffer. ( screaming crowd ) there's a gun! there's a gun!
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and it's happening. we're seeing it before our eyes. ( gun shot ) ( music into ) the past couple of weeks are showing once again, just how tough the business of news is right now. over the last decade and a half, we've seen 1800 newspapers disappear off the landscape of the u.s. and you need newspapers or journalists of any kind to hold these people to account. i think the days of newspapers being printed on paper in these communities is pretty much over. all of this has led to the growth of so called - news deserts, places where there is limited access to news outlets. i think it's undeniable, local reporting is really going the way of the horse and buggy. the average newspaper is going to be like passenger trains. they're going to be many, many important cities that just don't even have those. the real tragedy of this
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is the coverage of local governments and state governments has really diminished if not evaporated. there is no democracy without a free and independent press. there never has been and there most certainly never will be. i never wanted it to come to this. (sound of paper dropping) we were going to call them out one way or the other. we were in open revolt against our owners. i started writing it. and i read about the first three paragraphs of the editorial. and i just pushed back from my desk and -- whoa! he jumps up out of his chair runs into my office shuts the door, makes sure that no one is listening. are you sure? are you really sure? you know what you're doing here? right? you know what's going to happen if you publish this editorial?
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and so i said, "so you like it" (laughter) if they fire you for this i will proudly walk out that door with you. ( music ) the hedge fund managers often tellingly referred to as vulture capitalists have hidden behind the narrative that adequately staffed newsrooms and newspapers can no longer survive in the digital marketplace. the smart money is that in a few years, the denver post will be rotting bones. and a major city, an important political region will find itself without a newspaper.
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denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom. if alden isn't willing to do good journalism here, they should sell the post to owners who will. it just finally felt like well, this is what we've all been saying but haven't been able to put out there. i'm walking around thinking, well, in about 30 minutes i'm not going to have a job anymore. on sunday morning, i get the times i go out to pick up the paper. it's on the front page on a sunday, and it's above the fold. that night on cnn, the new york times editor, dean baquet talked about what we had done, the biggest crisis in journalism is not donald trump's attacks on the washington post and the new york times. we're big, we can stand it, we can even thrive and it can even inspire us.
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the biggest, the biggest crisis is the, is the decline of local newspapers. this is a major city, denver that now is on the verge of having fewer than 100 journalists. that's astounding. this is a crisis in american journalism. and i think everyone assumed that the digital a would bring in new competitors who would pick up the slack. that has not happened. i mean, how often does a news organization, a newspaper, actually publish an editorial that is contrary to the wishes of their owner? and that's not only extraordinary, that is courageous. the denver post is in a really tough spot. a newsroom, a very proud newsroom, that once numbered 250 to 300 journalists is now down somewhere around 60.
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they've been cutting down beyond the bone. i mean, they're they're deep into the bone now. marrow's spilling all over. the news matters. that's the rallying cry from workers at the denver post who marched in adams county today. supporters of the post are fed up with cutbacks by their owner. leading the way, chuck plunkett. he had been the editor of the editorial page. some call him a hero. (cheers from the crowd) i can't believe i'm in this situation. and i never would have been in this situation if it hadn't been for you. i really need alden global capital to come around and either start reinvesting in it's newsrooms and start looking for a way to preserve local journalism across all it's ldings, but particularly at the denver post. or they need to sell us to more responsible owners, i try not to use profanity. i'm tired of watching people walk out our doors, good quality people like you.
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(cheers) how do you get out into the public mind, an "enough," or #metoo or that kind of a story narrative so that people understand, "oh, that's why it's terrible if my state paper collapses." i could have kept my job as the editorial page editor. i didn't, i didn't take that route i resied. we had photos from like our pulitzer prize winning photographers and our other - just all the photographers that work at the denver post, and they were all over the lobby, like an art exhibit. and it was really beautiful. and it captured a sense of what it was like living here just by walking around. and, um when i walked through the lobby
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all the photos were gone. and -- it just made such a statement. good to see you. i don't even think of it as the denver post building anymore. no, it's not. it's absolutely not this is, you know a housing for corporations. man, i miss it. (laughter) i really do.. i played high school sports here. i was. i still have clippings when i was in the paper back in 1990 - 91. wow so i mean, there's nothing like a hometown newspaper. you t get local information
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anywhere else, like you can a hometown newspaper. it's impossible to cover a major metro area like denver, with only 60 people. it's just not, it's just not possible. and so a lot of things will not get covered. (recall! recall! recall!) schools won't get covered the way they should. law enforcement won't get covered the way it should. step away or be arrested for interfering. ow! stand up and act like a lady. there you go. now you can go to jail. environmental issues won't be covered the way that they should, and politicians and others will know that nobody is actually looking, nobody's paying attention. these are people who live in this area tell me they heard about a dozen gunshots... and pick the things that are most important and most urgent. and we do have
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really tremendous reporters still left. i mean, it's not like everybody is a three-legged dog in our shop. this is not, this is not what we have. we have really skilled, really devoted, really diligent reporters who can get out there and get any story that we want them to get. but we do have to choose our battles. and sometimes i feel like i'm going to be sick because i know that i am not able to fight all of the battles that need to be fought. (birds chirping) i'm leaving, i'm just worn out. when they announced that they were laying off 30 people, it was heartbreaking. that's not good for me. keep trying to get back into running and trail running , but that kind of stuff. it's just at the post, it's been so... time? (people talking) and they put out
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chees and crackers. i was at the post for 13 years. and i started out covering higher educatio i covered politics, health, and for the last six years, i was on the investigative projects team. and at the time, there was a big push to invest in investitive reporting and to take a group of reporters who would really be watchdogs for the community and delve into longer term projects or issues that just required more than a couple of days, or even a couple of weeks of reporting, or not spending the time that we used to spend talking about how to make a story better. instead, we talked too much about corporate goals and pageviews. and whether we're selling enough digital subscriptions, and i just miss the old days when you could sit down with your editor and really go over a story and be working for your community.
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(traffic sounds) one of the ideas that's floating around right now is should you stop subscribing to the denver post? i get that. you want to take it to the man, you want to hurt the man where it hurts. i don't support a subscription boycott at all. let's get the community involved. let's try to find a way, some of you guys are super plugged in. many of you guys are super plugged in, you know how to do this kind of thing. let's get the governor to come. let's get the mayor of the city of denver to come. well, thank you for the opportunity and thank all of you. (applause) good evening, everyone. i support good, strong independent journalism. and i support the denver post. and i've done everything i could in the last couple of weeks to help grow your circulation. (laughter) (applause) not always with the headlines i want, but just i thought 'd share that with you. (laughter) i's not always about how the post reports on me,
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it's about the fact that every one of us have access to independently, independent, verifiable standards in reporting that's important for the growth of our city, and the growth of our democracy. (amen!) what can you do to help find different ownership to help put pressure on alden? i was actually going to try to meet with them when i was in new york last week. and i think this is when i was in new york when i got word about chuck's resignation, which was really disappointing. anso we backed off on it at that point in time . we just heard the mayor say he backed off from calling alden because chuck plunkett resigned. to me, that is when when you f--ing call alden. nothing to me, indicates that the post is savable. i don't know that there would be a groundswell in the community to save anything other than the broncos. the mayor can make a call to john elway. and the broncos should start taking up, take a knee for local journalism. if we caget those types of influentials
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behind us. we need to save this paper. i don't think that's going to happen. i'm sorry to say that. i think the villain of the moment is alden. but the real thing in front of us is change. i think that we are going to see an evolution of journalism that may leave newspapers behind. and we need to start thinking about what that looks like. (slow dramatic music)♪♪ denver was a two newspaper town, the rocky mountain news and the denver post, for over a century. for most of that time, the rocky mountain news was a morning newspaper, the denver post was an evening newspaper. ♪♪ fast drum music i worked for the rocky mountain news, which was, you know, bitter enemies with the post for years.
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that's why i came here, to be in the newspaper war. that's why i came here from baltimore, to be in this newspaper war. i fought in it. ♪♪ fast drumbeat music it was a great newspaper reading community. probably a million newspapers were thrown in driveways in denver. ♪♪ we were just fast, we were nimble. we were smart. we embraced all types of technology. we understood video. hello, i'm molly hughes in the denver post newsroom. colorado is one of only six states... we were just really really, really good. ( music ) we had about 250 journalists they had about 250 journalists. sure there were turf battles and tensions ( music ) well, i left the boston globe
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in part because i had been passed over for editor. i started opening myself up to other opportunities. but when i came, there were just some things i wanted to do. i wanted to sort of speed up our metabolism. i wanted to change some processes. i wanted to improve the planning. i wanted to elevate the writing and i wanted to elevate the ambition. ( background talking ) scripps, the cincinnati based owner of the rocky mountain news, they competed on price for circulation, and they competed on price for advertising. and it got to the point where the papers were selling annual subscriptions for $3.65. a penny a day. ( tv ad - rocky mtn news) scripps thought it could win against dean singleton, the owner of the denver post, because dean was a ivately held company that had financed his company through debt.
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but ultimately, the big problem was that scripps was traded on the new york stock exchange and had public shareholders they had to answer to wall street analysts. and they had to explain quarter after quarter why they were losing money in denver for the long term. ( tv ad rocky mtn news ) ultimately, when scripps didn't win that newspaper war war as quickly or as easily, as they thought they could, they decided to throw in the towel and they went to dean singleton and negotiated what's called a joint operating agreement that allowed newspapers to collaborate on the business side and set prices in order to preserve two separate newsrooms, two separate editorial voices. they built that beautiful denver post rocky mountain news building right across from the civic center. perfect placement. it seemed like the future was bright for the two papers. they were very optimistic about the future. but two or three things happened.
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( background news report ) oh my god. that just exploded. i just saw another plane coming in from the side. the second explosion major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse. and some have failed. ( somber music ) colorado went into that recession later than the rest of the nation and stayed in it longer than the rest of the nation. by the time colorado got out of that recession, you started seeing what we call the secular problems of the newspaper industry. of the newspaper industry. ( music) advertising on on the web for newspapers has been a disaster. i don't know why i don't understand that. but looking at a, an ad, a full page ad in a newspaper, somehow when you're turning the pages of newspaper, you stop and you look at
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that full page ad. but when you're online, when you see that ad, it bothers you. the things they tried to do like pop ups and all those things. i mean, people couldn't stand that. and advertisers don't want to offend people. that's not that's not good advertising. the idea of taking the shotgun approach to having a big full page newspaper ad, and not really knowing who's reading and who's responding to it is somewhat archaic. you couldn't grow the digital advertising platform to replace what you were losing on the print platform. right? and so you couldn't charge the same rate. and so we were losing money, year over year, every year for 10 years. (music) the classified advertising is what really killed the newspaper industry. craigslist, herel you could advertise for free, wanting to sell your refrigerator.
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put the ad in for a week it costs - ack, i can't remember what it costs you, but it costs your more bucks than you thought it would. not only is craigslist free, you can put photos of your refrigerator on there. classified advertising in newspapers couldn't do that. people were getting their news for free online, which was provided basically, by the newspapers, that's the original sin is sort of giving your content away for free. and it's really hard to make people pay for something when you've given it to them for free for long, long, long time. but that isn't the whole story. what happened truly was the subsidy for the newsroom got taken away. the newspaper used to be subscribed to by people who might have wanted to learn where the yard sales were on on saturday. maybe they want to do the jumble every single day. others need the tv book. and the people who enjoyed news suddenly realized that the true cost of a newsroom and it wasn't getting paid for anymore. they ran out of ways
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to grow revenue. i think all of you know, rich boehne and mark contreras, rich is the president and ceo of the e.w.scripps company. and of course mark is the senior vp of newspapers. i'm going to let rich speak and talk to you and answer any questions. good morning, we won't take long we want to answer your questions. tomorrow will be the final edition of the rocky mountain news. (booing) certainly not good news for any of you, and certainly not good news for denver. let me try to be just as straight as i can denver can't support two newspapers any longer. just can't happen. (music) it was a very sad day. this is the end of this newspaper
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149 years, we didn't even get her to 150. ♪ dean singleton is a , sort of an outlaw owner. he was in his youth. ♪ he was known as lean dean and not for his stature. he was known because he bought newspers and but he reduced the staff to those papers. and a lot of those papers went out of business. ♪ he had a reputation for being vicious in cutting costs. he's one of the most persuasive people i've ever known. he loved being, hearing the real facts of what, how decisions were being made and what was going on. and the othepart of it was, i benefited tremendously by his wisdom and experience. ♪♪
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media news was centered in denver, and the denver post is where his offices were. this became his baby and he was completely invested in the post. he borrowed money and bought newspapers and was a great business model as long as the wspapers were as profitable as they were. ♪♪ media news group which is what dean singleton's company was called at the time. and it was long regarded as an advantage that it was a privately held company. dean singleton, his business partner and a handful of other people owned all the stock in the company. it did notrade on the new york stock exchange. when the rocky mountain news closed, people said, oh, isn't it great, that dean singleton is a private company, he doesn't have shareholders, he doesn't have wall street, that's why he won. and that may well be true.
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but it didn't take very long for us to see the downside of that situation. and that's what's playing out today. i can cut costs with the best of them. i've got a lifelong reputation for cutting costs. for most of my career, i cut more than anybody did. i bought a lot of money-losing newspapers in my career, and had to put them together with other newspapers. and we had to cut a lot of cost. and we laid off a lot of people. and so i was the villain. (printing press sounds) newspapers are a business. the newsroom hated to hear this, but consistently 57%
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of our readership read us for the ads. when the revenue picture of newspapers started to decline rapidly, we knew that you really couldn't have debt. we had debt. so you couldn't have debt and fight the battle. as he cut and did efficiencies, and was forced to do more efficiencies, because of all the secular pressures around him. he cut too deeply. as many newspaper owrs, most newspaper owners have done, hurting the product itself. what the thinking was, is, you know, while our advertising base is shrinking with the papers we have, if we go out and buy other newspapers that have more stable advertising bases, we can hold on to more of our advertising revenue. so they we out and overpaid for
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newspaper properties and all of a sudden, next thing you know, they're in debt. and it's just a miscalculation. and it was exacerbated by the recession in 2008. lots of chains folded around this time. famous chains. like there's no more times mirros. there's no more knight ridder. these were the best chains of newspapers in america and the chains themselves collapsed. when people ask, why did dean singleton choose to sell to alden? , that's not quite the way that it worked. what was really not appreciated at the time was that he made a choice to finance his company through debt, hundreds of millions of dollars in debt floated to the public and public bondholders. if a company gets into financial trouble, bondholders have more power than stockholders do.
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back in'08, 09 and 10, we still thought we could win the battle. and we still had some fight left in us. but we couldn't do it and have debt. so we negotiated with our 60 or 70 lenders to convert their debt to equity and become our partners. (music) i didn't expect somebody to go buy up the shares, but they started buying shares. you could see the handwriting on the wall. (music) what happens to you if the business you're in, doesn't make theeturns that it once did? and there's not a lot of good options when you get into that position. (music) i mean i would have probably fought until the end if i hadn't struggled with multiple sclerosis. but if i had stayed, the result would have been the same.
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i mean, i would have cut as many costs as alden's cut. the only people left that would buy a newspaper, were wall street firms who wanted to take a mature business and liquidate it over time. alden global capital is a hedge fund. they're located in new york city at the top of the lipstick building. and it's a small group of folks who understand financial markets in really sophisticated ways and are able to invest large amounts of money in businesses that they see as struggling and they've got a business strategy to milk profit out of those companies over a period of time so that their investment makes sense. it's all just, you know, cut and dry capitalism. it had to have been after a previous layoff starting to look at well, who is this alden global? um, hey, they own all these other companies.
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whoa, they just bought payless. they just bought fred's pharmacy, you know, the some retailer on the east coast. and those were both near bankruptcy. what happened? holy cow. all the money's gone. and now th're shutting those things down. from the outside looking in, they have little faith that a newspaper like the denver post, or their other properties can actually increase or maintain their revenue if they spend on the product. this is the business they're in. they just have one playbook. to alden, you've only got one constituent and that's the shareholder. the ct that alden is so secretive, that they won't return phone calls, they won't answer questions just sort of makes me more stubborn. i'm a freelance investigative reporter but i investigate alden global capital. i have worked for many years at a newspaper- the monterey herald
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that ended up getting bought by alden global capital. so i've experienced firsthand what happened. to alden it's all the same whether you put out cheap shoes or you put out a newspaper, it's just another commodity to them. we have about 80 newspapers across the country, things like the denver post, san jose mercury news, the orange county register, the boston herald. so now i was really stunned one day to open up my email and find this chart here. on a story by ken doctor, and of course, i follow all of ken's writing on this. he's great. ken came out with this earth shaking data from all the dfm papers throughout the chain, they were making 17% profit in some areas were making a 30% profit margin. i was amazed by the level of profit of almost a billion dollars in revenues, and profits of about $160 million a year at about a 17% margin.
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and essentially, 17% is about twice of what most newspaper chains are making. the claim is that we need to have more layoffs, because you know, the economy's so bad, because the company just has to tighten our belts. you know, we're just barely making it and ... i'm sorry, 17% margin is not just barely making it. that is thriving. they're solidly profitable, they're cutting their core product the newsroom, the thing that you have to have, if you're going to have a newspaper. you know, i'm no expert on hedge funds, but it's clear that alden has a plan, double digit returns year after year. that's just, that's not sustainable. it's to me a reckless disregard for the institution itself. that's the pain and the penalty of having a hedge fund owner like alden owning the post, because it makes it easy
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to make cuts, you don't care about what the impact is, you don't understand what the impact is, and allows you by having that distance to just look at the dollars like you don't have to look at the consequences because you don't know and you don't care. 19% returns that the owners are demanding from properties like the denver post. there's on one way that you can produce 19% returns year after year. and that's to cut people. we got dragged into more and more meetings with representatives of alden who were questioning just basic tenets of journalism, like, why do you have photographers? our owners announced that we were going to have to move out of the iconic denver post building downtown, and that for the first time in its history, there'd be no denver post in denver. now we are in our printing press which is in unincorporated adams county, basically directly next to refineries, and all these other factories. it smells like dog food all day.
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(music) we describe this one meeting in december as defending your life, where you come into this meeting and you have to defend everything you do. you've got to explain every dollar you spend, and why you spend it the way you do. and can you find a way to do it cheaper? and can you find a way to do it without as many people and why can't you be the same size as some pis*ant paper in new jersey? here's the message. i'm not doing any of that. i'm not making any cuts. because to me, that was just evidence that they didn't care. and that was it. i mean, i knew then i was done. you don't need me. (music) when greg resigned, he didn't specifically say that more cuts were coming. but we all kind of assumed that that's the reason he was leaving.
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and sure enough, not long after he was out the door they cut another 20 or so. we cut people in november. and, you know, it was just awful. i felt like i was floating out of my body and like not even attached to the real world. and like i had this very clear thought. this is where the denver post dies. (music) the entire journalistic ecosystem is suffering right now. news deserts, as others have said are emerging and spreading accross the country. we've lost more than 2000 newspapers in the united states. that means towns, that means entire counties that have no newspaper. and when that happens, the soundtrack of a community just gets muted. like you just don't know what's going on.
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what's it gonna be like when there isn't that voice anymore that steps in and like plays, a referee in a certain kind of way. welcome to the revolution! you' one of those people who is prepared to fight who said 'm not going to let this happen to america either w're going to go with american values or we're going to go with socialism. we're going to have extremeism and radical you want to say that if any white people ever own slaves, the muslims still run the slave trade, you wicked whore! i's just this ocean of information, it is just washing over all of us. mixed in with all of those wonderful nuggets of factual information is all of this other stuff all of this noe. all of this misinformation and disinformation. (noisy montage) the best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset s by telling them
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the truth. we can choose to accept the truth, or we can choose to reject the truth. but the problem is, a lot of people don't want to hear it. and they don't want to believe at it's the truth. why aren't you supporting president trump? i do... support.. ahh the things president trump does... you're not supporting him! i do you agree with many of the things he is for and i support those things. are you going to support him in ahh, the fraudulent vote system? the election? no. you're a joke! an absolute joke, a disgusting shame! it's dangerous for our democracy when we have millions and millions of people. who don't want to hear the truth who believe that there's an agenda behind facts. the role of journalism is it's just absolutely central to civic life. we need the public to be engaged and we need the public to sort of make an assessment as to what are reliable sources of information and what aren't. you can say what you will about bias in mainstream media.
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but there are, and were, ethical standards that a lot of alternative voices have little or no interest in adhering to. if one person tells you it's raining, and one person tells you, it's sunny, it's not your job to quote both of them, it's your job to look out the f---king window and figure out which one's right. we're all still trying to put out a paper every single day, which is hard in itself, but we have all these other obstacles. and we have colleagues packing up their desks and leaving. i did make a big decision recently to leave the post after 13 years, and it was really a hard choice. and i just miss working for your community. and it just doesn't feel good anymore. it's not like that in the newsroom.
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i mean, it's hard to work somewhere for 13 years, and not leave on the best of terms, i feel like even though my colleagues understand, and a lot of them are considering leaving as well. i felt like some guilt. whether you get your news on the phone, or on a tablet, whether it's called the denver post, or whether it's called some newfangled name, that doesn't bother me so much. i's just, i want to make sure there are credible journalists of sufficient size and scale in a newsroom to do the job that fills that paper of record roll. it can do a tremendous amount of good. in particular, for people who don't have power, who don't have a voice, who wouldn't be heard, unless journalists actually listen to them.
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local news needs to be saved because this is how people make informed decisions. and this is how you keep a community going, is to tell stories that matter to people, about their neighborhoods and their cities and keeping an eye on what those in power are doing. i do not want district funds spent on a program that as of today has been found to be illegal and unconstitutional. (cheers) local government can really corrupt and we need to watch it. and as one lawmaker joked when they heard about the 30 cuts to our newsroom, "now we can do whatever we want." (crowd noise) who is an independent voice, who isn't beholden to the government, who isn't beholden to some other powerful institutions. that's the press. and we all lose if you don't have those independent voices. you know, this is not about a bunch of poor journalists, you know, boo hoo, journalists are losing their jobs. i mean, that's sad, too. and i'm sorry to see my friends and colleagues who've lost their jobs.
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but this is much bigger than just a group of journalists this is about a community that loses every time another experienced reporter walks out the door. (printing prs) in a business that's dying, those who really understand that don't want to be there to conduct the funeral. (printing press) somebody is going to have to turn off the lights on all these newspapers. and i didn't want to be the one that did it. (printing press) all right. we need good journalist right now. and yeah, there's some real challenges in the industry. and we all know that those of us who have been working in it.
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but that's not to say there's not cause for optimism and energy and enthusiasm, because there's much to do. i'm excited, i'm ready to go. i'm looking forward to it. i can't wait for class to start. all right, welcome class to senior news corp. my name is chuck plunkett. i'm really glad that you guys are in this class. it's very exciting to see young people interested in journalism. it's a really interesting and exciting time, although one that's full of challenges. the 21st century newsroom has to have people that think about the money. they think, well, how are we making sure that what it is we do is going to be valuable enough to our readers and viewers we're on our way, from lafayette down to civic center in denver, where we'll have the official announcement of the colorado sun. (rain)
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i'm expecting that it's gonna be raining. and we can script everything. it'll be cruddy like this out, and then we'll all be like, ah, here comes the colorado sun and the real colorado sun will burn off all of the bad weather and we can emerge in light or something crazy like that. you know, there's a lot of different types of publications that are being affected by this massive change in the business of journalism. definitely, we took advantage of that momentum. i don't know whether we would have seen the same response if chuck had not fallen on his sword in that way. but, you know, thank god he did, because now the public can, you kn, get over this narrative that journalism is somehow broken. and it's not journalism that's broken, the business model is broken.
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and so perhaps we can find a different way to do the journalism business. woo hoo! look at this colorado sun! thanks for coming. i'm wired up six ways to sunday. i said i've been to a lot of press conferences but never quite like this. that's not a gun in there. good. (crowd noise / greetings) this is jo-lee. she's seven and this is lucy she's ten. i sent the older one for donuts. is the sun obscured? do i need to step down a few steps? is this better? thank you for joining us this morning. it's a bit strange to be on this side of the microphones.
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the colorado sun is an online news organization that will cover the news that matters in colorado. the journalists you see up here today are the owners of the colorado sun, and we will be the ones calling the shots. the need for news coverage by professional journalist is only going to be more important as society tries out these new ways of supplying the news. with the newspapers themsees getting smaller, and a lot, too many operations that are onesies and twosies starting up, that they can't really stand up to the demands of the times of covering the institutions that need to be covered. not just government, but business and labor, and any sources of power and wrongdoing in the community. the colorado sun has no future, in my opinion. it doesn't have a long term funding model,
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and they do a good job, but there's no busess model there. we're doing our best to prove them wrong. we think we can make it work. and we're working really hard to make it work. i appreciate the skepticism. but, you know, till those skeptics come up with something better then, why don't you help us figure out how to get it done. you know, it's become real. and we're building a business. there's been a lot of learning to do that had little to do with journalism. at this point, there are a lot of unknowns. and those are the kinds of things that keep me up at night, sort of business structure wise, that's really where we're at now... ...really pushing hard to get a subscription and place for people to we do sit in these meetings of the ten of us, sometimes i wonder like, what huge thing do we not even know that we're supposed to do. you know, we've had conversations of, we need to hire like a business person. a business person could be a lot of things, but we just put it in one category like a grant, you know, writer,
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or who is this you know, mysterious business person that can help us solve all these problems of making sure that we make money. it was one thing to run a newsroom. i know how to do that very well. it's quite another to start up a new business and, and that's a new experience. you know, part of this is it was an opportunity to make a change in the business, not just with reporting, but changing the whole business model. it's a big risk. it's exciting and scary. but if it doesn't, at least i'll feel like i tried to work on a solution for journalism. when you say he did his statement, do you mean for the federation? or did you send them to the blm? it's terrifying really to, you know, when you think about 80% of startups fail or whatever, i mean, that's a scary thing to leave your job that, you know, was fairly secure. i had a lot of seniority there, and start something that might not pan out.
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and we're really just banking on colorado to want to give us money to read good journalism. we don't know what we don't know. we need to, kind of like your head is spinning with okay, i gotta focus on landing all these great stories. oh, but wait, like, we have to set up a night at a brewery to sell colorado sun t-shirts. i'm jennifer brown, i'm also a writer at the colorado sun, i'm just feeling overwhelmed right now that you took abit of your night to come out here and support journalism, that means so muchcto us, so thank you. i am certain that we're going to create products that deserve success. it's up to us to make sure that the business model is successful and that the sun itself is successful.
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and i don't think it's gonna be easy. it's ours to mess up, i guess is what i want to say. it's ours to screw up. (explosion protestors screaming) these are unprecedented times. (chanting) i think that we're having our berlin wall moment. this is an uncomfortable moment for everybody. and in order for us to be able to coexist, we have to get uncomfortable. (chanting) newspapers and joualism are needed more than ever. the need has only grown. it isn't less of a need. there's more of a need.
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this boy posed with a picture of a little black calf calf with his knee on its neck and said this was my pet george. so, in my case action is trying to report the truth and make sure people know what the truth is. it's measured. it's thoughtfully reported, it's not reactive. when i look back in the last two years, i realized there's so much that i didn't know. so what you have to remember is that the 10 of us were journalists, editors, reporters, no business experience. (laughing) so far this year, we have had 20 million pageviews on our stories. and that's big. and just last week, surpassed 10,000 paying members. is it sustainable? don't know. i mean, we certainly see some of that hurt right now and during the coronavirus. what surprises me all the time, and probably every journalist out there is the support we get from members.
11:52 pm they won't touch those either or they'll wipe it off before they run it. it seems to be working. but i just hope, like i fear sometimes that journalist journalism comes out of this morphed, and i hope it's for the better. because you can see examples everyday of what could be for the better. and then what's going down the way of, you know, totally partisan reporting. yes, that's basically what i need. i mean, you can go out and be as objective and truthful as possible, and there are still a contingency who don't. i mean, i am related to people who don't believe the news. this attack on our liberty, magnificent liberty, must be stopped. and it will be stopped very quickly.
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we will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation's children, end this radical assault and preserve our beloved american way of life. i just think that a lot of people are frustrated, that objectivity has been hijacked. objectivity was was applying scientific standards to fact gathering, you had to be able to document how you put these facts together, so that anybody else that were looking at the same set of facts reasonable people will come to the same conclions so that people would believe what you wrote, they will believe it. you know, we create false equivalencies,
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i think i'm sitting here seeing an attempted assassination on our society. i've never seen this happen in my life. i think our democracy's got real challenges. this is exactly what so many anticipated and yet the capitol hill police are doing their best but failing to control the situation. for the most part, journalism's doing its job and nobody's paying attention. my job is to continue telling the truth. i cannot control whether people want to believe us or not, and whether they do believe us or not, we'll continue to tell the truth. when you don't have robust journalism, the democracy is not the same. open the door! i'm confident that we will get through this period but it does require the american public to think about what the consequences are
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if free expression or free press were to be eliminated. (protestors screaming)
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♪ hello everyone and welcome to "amanpour." here's what's coming up? for the first time i was more afraid to work at the capitol than in my entire deployment to iraq. >> under attack by home-grown insurrectionists. police describe that fateful day as hearings into the january 6th capitol invasion get under way. former republican governor and 9/11 commission chair tom kean joins me. then -- >> where is he? >> democracy under attack in tunisia. once the arab spring success story, now on the brink as the president tightens his grip on power. i ask


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