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Rocky to Close; Post Nabs Key Staffers

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It’s official. Colorado’s oldest newspaper will publish its final edition Friday. And its long-time rival is wasting no time in hiring away some of the Rocky Mountain News top talent.

Among those making the move to the Denver Post are Kevin Vaughan, a Pulitzer Prize finalist last year; statehouse reporter Lynn Bartels; and columnist Mike Littwin.

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Here is Post editor Greg Moore’s email to his staff:

Staff:

Just minutes ago, we learned that The Rocky is closing after almost 150 years. Denver was blessed for a long time with two fine newspapers. Now we go it alone.

At the staff meeting last week, I told you that I planned to hire some journalists from The Rocky. I think I made plain that we need to do this because they can help us become a stronger paper and it will help us attract and hold onto Rocky readers, who will be trying The Post again for the first time in a while. We need to retain as many of those readers as possible and by having some familiar faces and features from The Rocky, our chances improve greatly.

I wanted to share with you who will be coming aboard and what they will be doing.

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Vincent Carroll will join the editorial board and write an op-ed column; Mike Littwin will write a column three times a week that will be anchored on a revamped Page A2. The other three days, that space will be filled by Tina Griego, a former Post columnist.

Bill Johnson will join Susan Greene as a columnist in [Denver and the West]. I have asked Bill Porter to return to writing and editing in Features and to do special reporting projects for the paper. I am grateful for his enthusiastic response.

Penny Parker will write a reported business column focusing on the personalities and behind the scenes workings in the business community. Dave Krieger will join Woody Paige and Mike Kiszla, creating an incredibly strong stable of sports columnists.

Burt Hubbard will bring his singular skills at database reporting to Metro. Lynn Bartels will also join Metro and will cover the Statehouse. Kevin Vaughan will be a  Sunday writer and uber GA. We have also hired Gargi Chakrabarty to cover energy, which is expected to be even more important under the Obama Administration. Finally, we are pleased to bring on board Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Judy DeHaas.

Obviously, we have only a short window to win over the Rocky readers. These moves will help. These hires represent less than 5% of the journalists at The Rocky. I plan to do all I can to integrate them into our paper and culture as quickly as possible and I am counting on your help. This all happens at a time of great uncertainty and personal sacrifices in our business. I know.  But opportunities like these do not come along very often. And neither do the challenges. It will take the effort of all of us — those of us who have been here for a while and the newcomers — to make a go of it. I really need you to be focused on the challenge ahead. So please, be welcoming to our new colleagues and let’s roll up our sleeves and put out the best, most interesting paper possible.

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There will be a staff meeting at 3 p.m. today in the DNA Auditorium at which Publisher Dean Singleton will address the staff and answer
questions.

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