Will Post readers benefit or be fooled by Colorado Statesman’s “advertising” insert in Post?

(Works for Jake Jabs – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jared Wright.

Jared Wright.

Colorado Statesman Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Jared Wright announced last week that a special edition of the Statesman will be inserted in The Denver Post on Thursdays.

Wright wrote in the Statesman June 9 that his newspaper is “launching a new sister publication, The Colorado Statesman ‘Worldwide Edition,’ which, thanks to our friends at The Denver Post, will be inserted in the Post every Thursday. In doing so, we are introducing thousands of Denver Post subscribers to what I believe is one of Colorado’s best kept secrets.”

This is not a journalistic partnership among friends, but a “business deal,” according to Post Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo, who told me in an email that she doesn’t know the details.

“ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT” is printed on the bottom of the front page of today’s Statesman insert in The Post. There’s no other indication, throughout the 16-page insert, that the Statesman is an advertisement. As such, it’s kind of like the Sunday Parade Magazine insert, which is an ad, and in the same ballpark as outrageous news inserts, like fake news provided by the oil and gas industry, that aren’t labeled clearly enough as ads. Thankfully, the articles in these advertisements don’t appear in searches for news articles on The Post’s website or archive.

I’d like The Post to label the Statesman more clearly as an ad, but, in any case, it’s a creative way for the Statesman to reach an audience that’s literate and interested in politics, and may want to see more political news than The Post is offering these days in the wake of budget disasters. Journalism experiments are good, and you want to see the good journalism at the Statesman survive.

The downside: Readers could easily be confused that The Post is endorsing The Statesman’s content.

Not that I don’t respect some of the journalists at the Statesman. I do. And Wright has assured me that he’s committed to journalistic standards (despite a troublesome conservative hiccup in news coverage I found last month) and despite anecdotal oddities that pop up every now and then in coverage.

But sources tell me the controlling owner is Republican donor Larry Mizel, whose photo is splashed across the cover of last week’s subscriber edition with a big headline “Annual Mizel Dinner, Bringing Denver Together.” Mizel is pictured with Denver’s Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock. Inside, a gushing article, written by Wright, says Mizel “is regularly recognized as being one of the most influential people in Denver,” but doesn’t mention that Mizel apparently owns the newspaper.

To my way of thinking, this type of coverage of the Mizel event, which is newsworthy to be sure, indicates a stealth coziness with Mizel that has potential to influence the political journalism at the weekly.

Wright did not return multiple calls and an email seeking comment for this article.

Still, I want to believe Wright when he writes in the Statesman that his newspaper’s new readers in The Post “will gain a better understanding of the people behind the politics — the same people that craft the laws and regulations impacting you and me at every corner we turn in our daily journeys, whether it’s driving on our morning commutes, working at our offices, shopping at the hardware store, buying groceries, paying a visit to the doctor for a checkup, getting a haircut, taking our children to school — you name it.”

But will Post readers benefit? Or be fooled?

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  1. Craig says:

    This is a nice surprise.  I haven't taken the Statesman for years due to the cost and the fact that I've dropped out of politics.  But I do still take the Post (I know, I'm old) and it will be nice to see the Statesman again.  And congratulations to the Statesman for the scoop on that candidate in SD 42.

  2. gertie97 says:

    Since Wright took over, there continue to be good stories produced by real reporters. But Wright has a knack of letting wingnuts and industry flacks write pieces that contain no identification of the author besides the name, making it easy to conclude they, too, are real reporters.

    Those of us who watched little Jared crash and burn for being stupid in the legislature know he has not changed his hard-right wing spots. His ideology trumps any journalistic principles he claims to have.

    I sincerely hope former owner Jody Strogoff got her money up front.

     

  3. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    I might actually start picking up the Post on Thursdays. It appears to be the only way I'm going to have access to Statesman's content, as I refuse to subscribe.

    To be clear, I'm all for newspapers being creative in figuring out how to survive. We need newspapers and print media to survive.

    I'm trying to remember how Larry Mizel was in the news and discussed on here recently. It was for financial contributions to some candidate or committee. Anyone?

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