Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Milstead on the Rocky's final chapter

Mike Roberts at Westword publishes a lengthy, fascinating Q&A with David Milstead, the Rocky's finance editor, who produced more hard-nosed journalism about the Rocky's demise than anyone.

The Rocky's business section under the leadership of Rob Reuteman was top-notch, thanks to reporters like Dave, who explains what separates solid daily business journalism from something else:

Business at the Rocky Mountain News was a section where the people there wanted to be working there. They were generally career business journalists. We hired experienced business journalists from the outside. We had three people who'd been at Reuters. I had been at the Wall Street Journal. And we had another person who'd been at Bloomberg. We had people who took business journalism seriously and were making it their first priority career choice. ... If you have serious, smart, career journalists working in your business section and you treat it like a real section, then it's going to be good. I joke that there were bad old days of business sections, where if you were too drunk to be a sportswriter, they put you in business. And that has not been the philosophy of the Rocky Mountain News during my time there. And that pleased me, and that's what kept me there.

He's also the sort of reporter who followed the story to its logical conclusion, which some right-wing media bashers might want to take into account.

Consider his tough treatment of the state's public pension system, the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association:

I think I got a reputation through that coverage as being one of Colorado's most prominent conservative journalists -- which I'm not, actually. But my criticism of the pension plan fell right into the hands of the right-wing ideologues who hate pensions and want to see everyone in 401(k)s. And I don't believe that at all. I just believe that if you promise people a certain amount of benefits, you ought to be able to pay for it. And their financial position for much of my time here hasn't shown the ability to pay for it. That's what concerned me about PERA several years ago, when I began looking at them -- these projections that showed them going into insolvency in about thirty or forty years. But yet at the same time telling the members there was nothing to worry about. If the member was 80-years old, that was true. If the member was 30-years old, it wasn't.

And he's the commissioner of the fantasy baseball league that I still hope to join. Not to mention a Dodger fan, though I'll give him a mulligan for that.


Anonymous said...

Rick. This comment is directed at your NRO piece (no place for a comment there). Judging from the amount of comments here i suppose you'll just be happy for the attention. Just like the automotive industry wont disappear if Chrysler and GM fail, The Newspaper Industry will still exist even after a few (hopefully more than a few) Newspapers fail. Everyone agrees that columnists are supposed to provide opinion, but the line is drawn at outright lies. Also, are you telling us that the dribble put out by AP constitutes straight news? The papers that need to fail should. Those remaining will fill the void. It's not just conservatives that are rejecting the idea of paying full price for half the story. The center-right folks of this country have had enough of "Journalists" that are not just biased, but rather cheerleaders for for the ultra-left.

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