The Colorado Springs Gazette has plans to expand its presence statewide.
Corey Hutchins, who writes for the Colorado Independent and the Columbia Journalism Review in addition to teaching journalism at Colorado College, tweeted that a new Denver-based investigative team will focus on holding local politicians and agencies accountable.
The content, which will be published via Clarity Media Group’s The Gazette and ColoradoPolitics.com, could challenge The Denver Post’s regional dominance.
This new team, “will focus on investigative reporting projects across Colorado… with a strong emphasis on holding politicians and state agencies accountable for how they spend our tax dollars,” Hutchins said The Gazette told its staff.
Hutchins said the group of three will be led by Chris Osher, who’s leaving his position at The Colorado Sun to join The Gazette‘s new team.
“It feels to me like the Gazette is trying to kill off the Post and take over as the state’s major newspaper,” responded conservative blogger Ari Armstrong of the Colorado Freedom Report. “In theory, it could run a state [or] national section and then add regional sections by market.”
The Denver Post, which inherited the position of the Front Range’s top regional paper following the demise of the Rocky Mountain News, has had some issues recently.
Last year, the paper’s editorial board called out its own parent company after massive lay-offs. Today, its newsroom is less than a third of the size it was at the paper’s peak.
It was in this context that the Columbia Journalism Review labelled the greater Denver area a “news desert.”
“Since its launch in 2016, Colorado Politics has sought to build a statewide audience by increasing newsroom resources against the backdrop of a Denver Post that is not,” Hutchins wrote last month in his weekly newsletter.
“My theory has long been that Clarity Media wants to position its properties as the flagship news source for Colorado,” he continued. “Now it’s throwing another spear directly into the Post’s core subscription base by zeroing in on Denver coverage.”
Clarity Media Group is a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation – a private holding company which also owns the Regal Entertainment Group, the Washington Examiner and the Coachella Music Festival.
Phillip Anschutz, the Colorado billionaire who owns the corporation, has strong ties to the conservative establishment, donating millions to conservative politicians in addition to funding anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion groups.