Thursday, April 30, 2009

Denver Post - Eliminates Outlying Distribution Areas

The Denver Post announced Thursday it is ending sales of its weekday newspapers across much of Colorado and neighboring states.

The Post -- which has long carried the slogan "Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire" on its front page -- will no longer be home delivered or sold in boxes or over the counter Mondays through Saturdays in parts of western, southern and eastern Colorado or in neighboring states after early July. Affected areas include Grand Junction, Durango, Gunnison, Telluride, Alamosa, Walsenberg, Trinidad, La Junta, Lamar andBurlington, the paper's statement said.

People in those areas can access the newspaper via its free website and through a paid electronic facsimile edition, and the Sunday Post will continue to be delivered in the affected areas, the newspaper said.

The announcement did not say whether or how much existing paid-up subscribers in the affected areas would be reimbursed. The Post announcement said the affected areas amount to less than 3 percent of its current 371,728 weekday sales. The policy change was expected by many observers, given the high cost of delivering in far-flung regions of the state and the limited interest among many advertisers in reaching areas outside Denver and the Front Range urban core. Many dailies in other parts of the country have likewise cut back their delivery areas.

The Post and its owner, Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc., have been struggling in recent years to contain costs in the face of slumping revenue and mounting losses for the Denver daily. Still, it marks a significant shift for the Post, which has long positioned itself as the newspaper for all Colorado and which in recent years has used the marketing slogan: "We are Colorado." For decades, Denver Post delivery tubes have been nailed to ranch-gate posts and farm fences across the state.

The Post traditionally has been home delivered virtually everywhere in Colorado and in some areas of neighboring states, including southeastern Wyoming, western Nebraska, northern New Mexico and, at times, eastern Utah.

Despite the change, William Dean Singleton, the Post's publisher and CEO of MediaNews Group, said in the Post's statement that the paper remains "fully committed to providing comprehensive editorial coverage for all of Colorado. We are still truly Colorado, and our loyal Post readers will still have full access to our Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage through the electronic edition and our Sunday print product."

The Post several years ago maintained news bureaus and stationed reporters in Colorado Springs, the Larimer-Weld county area, the Four Corners area, Grand Junction and Summit County; had one or more regional reporters assigned to cover outlying Colorado and neighboring states; and assigned a "Rocky Mountain Ranger" columnist to write about the region. Most of those bureaus are now closed and the "Rocky Mountain Ranger" column has been discontinued. The Post recently has made increasing use of regional news reports from other papers in the state.

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