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Fired Boulder Editor Fears for Other Colorado Newspapers

The 128-year-old Boulder Daily Camera is in a "death spiral," according to an editor fired by the newspaper for criticizing its hedge-fund owners. (
The 128-year-old Boulder Daily Camera is in a "death spiral," according to an editor fired by the newspaper for criticizing its hedge-fund owners. (
April 30, 2018

BOULDER, Co. – A Boulder newspaper editor says his recent firing could have a chilling effect on other Colorado newspapers that are controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

Boulder Daily Camera editor Dave Krieger was fired last week after self-publishing a piece highly critical of Alden, which owns 50 newspapers across the country, including the Camera, the Denver Post and other papers along the Front Range and eastern plains.

Krieger's column was originally meant to appear on the Camera's editorial page days after the Denver Post published similar critical opinions of Alden for its plans to cut one-third of the paper's staff this year. When the Camera's publisher refused to print Krieger's editorial, Krieger self-published it on a blog and was fired days later.

He says it was the first time the paper had censored his content.

"This violated the basic, and really sort of sacred norm in journalism, is that journalists make those decisions and business people do not," he says. "That's just rule number one, and there's no decent journalism organization in the country that does not abide by that rule."

Denver Post editors have called on Alden to sell the paper, rather than continue reducing staff and its ability to provide Front Range news coverage. Attempts to contact Alden Global Capital or Digital First Media for a response have been unsuccessful so far.

Krieger argues that Alden continues to drain cash from its newspapers by cutting staff, but local readers are unaware that's what's causing their pages and local coverage to shrink.

"This is an important story for Boulder, and Boulder should know it," he adds. "Its newspaper is on the verge of death. It is in a death spiral."

Alden took over the papers in 2010 and runs them through Digital First Media. But Krieger says many readers who subscribe to one of the papers aren't aware their news source is being strangled by a hedge fund, because stories critical of the owners aren't printed.

"If the ownership of the Boulder Daily Camera is so corrupt that it will not even allow itself to be used as a platform for a discussion of this important civic issue, if it is so corrupt that it will suppress any mention of this important Boulder issue, then I have to admit it might not be worth saving," he laments.

Digital First Media has eliminated two out of every three staff positions at its media properties since 2010. Alden also owns the Longmont, Loveland and Estes Park newspapers, as well as several others in Colorado.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - CO