Chuck Plunkett on resignation from Denver Post, new gig at CU Boulder

Westword (Denver): Chuck Plunkett, who resigned as editorial-page editor of the Denver Post four weeks ago today, after an executive for the subsidiary company that runs the paper refused to okay a new editorial critical of Alden Global Capital, its vampiric hedge fund owner, has been named director of CU News Corps at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Plunkett is thrilled by the new gig, in which he’ll serve as the main coordinator for the university’s investigative news outlet, which produces long-form journalism for professional media organizations in the state as part of a for-credit class. “I feel nothing but grateful about this opportunity,” he says. But he’s also mindful of the circumstances that led to the position, and he continues to mourn the continuing plight of the Post, whose newsroom staff has gone from more than 300 journalists around a decade ago to about 65 today, with more high-profile reporters and editors splitting on an almost daily basis.

“I didn’t get to stay in the job of editorial-page editor long enough to really make my mark,” Plunkett says, then admits: “Well, I guess I did make my mark, but not in the traditional sense. If I could have been on the page for several years and learned in that role and gained experience, there would have been an opportunity to make it a great page. And at any paper whose owners were willing to invest, it should have been a great page. But the Post’s owner, Alden Global Capital, wasn’t willing to do that. So I made my mark the way I did.”

Specifically, Plunkett masterminded a series of pieces in the April 8 edition blasting the hedge fund for its cut-to-profits approach and calling on the firm to sell the Post to individuals willing to invest in journalism. But in retrospect, he wishes he’d spoken up earlier.

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