About the CU Forum"We closed a popular newspaper for faculty and staff . . . and replaced it
with an electronic weekly, saving a half a million dollars annually.
We didn't need to be in the newspaper business . . . . "
-- Bruce Benson, CU President
Giving College Administrators a Business Education
The Wall Street Journal
August 26, 2015
The University of Colorado, a major public institution of higher education,with over 70,000 students and faculty (34,000 students at Boulder), does not have a substantial source of independent information about the University, or venue for open discussion of University issues by the University community. The bulk of public information regarding the University of Colorado is now directly controlled by the CU President's office through the University Relations Department and the Boulder Strategic Relations and Communications Department.
The University community no longer has a substantial independent voice to bring to light facts or opinions the University administration does not wish to have known or discussed.
The President of the University of Colorado, Bruce Benson, has stated his intentions for the institution:
"I am a businessman not an educator."
The Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal, August 3, 2015,
"How do we run this university in a better way, a more sensible business way, than traditional higher education?"Talk at the Opportunity Coalition, October, 2014
"The important thing is the culture [of the institution] and how you get people to work together . . . . the culture of an institution is a huge deal . . . . you've got to work on culture . . . work on collaboration . . . and on teamwork . . . everybody being on the same page and create a friendly, happy environment and don't create a lot of problems."Devil's Advocate program with Jon Caldara, September 4, 2015
The ubiquitous tagline for the Boulder Brand Messaging Platform
The University of Colorado is now being run as a de facto private corporate entity, seeking to speak with a single corporate voice, rather than an educational and research community of independent scholars, thinkers, researchers, teachers and students, each with the independent ability to join in the conversation of the community as a whole.
The symbol of this new CU is the off-campus, downtown-Denver corporate headquarters of CU.
CU off-campus corporate headquarters located at 1800 Grant
Street in Denver, just a few blocks from the State Capitol
This builidng was established as CU corporate headquarters in 2006 by then-CU President Hank Brown.
The offices of the President and other top CU executives were moved from their traditional locations on campus to the new off-campus corporate headquarters.
The building previously housing the president's
office on the Boulder campus at 914 Broadway
The Regents now also work out of CU corporate headquarters, holding their meetings there rather than in Regent Hall on the Boulder campus.
Regent Hall on the Boulder campus,
previous site for Regent meetings
Previous sources of independent editorial judgment and open discussion for CU, The Colorado Daily and The Silver & Gold Record, have been replaced by the University Relations Department and the Boulder Strategic Relations and Communications Department, both operating in support of the Brand Messaging Platform.
The CU Forum reports information unlikely to appear in the Brand Messaging Platform.
The CU Forum has reported on the extremely low 4-year graduation rates at Boulder, the many ways in which the Regents have not done their job of maintaining the integrity and independence of CU as a public institution of higher education, and the ongoing business and political activities of Bruce Benson while CU President.
The story of journalism for CU includes the Alden Global Capital financial engineering firm, current owner of The Colorado Daily; the now-eliminated Silver & Gold Record; and the University Relations and Boulder Strategic Relations and Communications departments.
Alden Global Capital:
The Colorado Daily / The Boulder Daily Camera / The Denver Post
is a marketing company with a multimedia portfolio
of print, niche and digital products. . . .
We help advertisers solve complex marketing challenges
with custom, performance-driven solutions"
Alden Global Capital is a private New York City-based financial engineering firm, sometimes known as a 'hedge fund' or 'private equity' firm.
Alden Global Capital
Through its subsidiary Digital First Media, Alden controls nearly 100 newspapers around the country.
Digital First Media
Through Prairie Mountain Media, a subsidiary of Digital First Media, Alden controls newspapers throughout the State of Colorado.
"Prairie Mountain Media is a marketing company with a multimedia portfolio of print, niche and digital products. We house an extensive, integrated network of trusted local brands that deliver exclusive local news and attract local audiences throughout the state of Colorado, including the Akron, Boulder, Broomfield, Brush, Canon City/Royal Gorge Region, Colorado Springs, [Denver], Erie, Estes Park, Fort Morgan, Julesburg, Lafayette, Lamar, Longmont, Louisville, Loveland, Pueblo, Sterling and Superior markets."
Included in these papers are The Colorado Daily, The Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post.
Prarie Mountain Media
The Colorado Daily - An Edition of the Daily Camera
The Colorado Daily was formerly the student-run source of independent journalism and discussion for CU.
In the spring of 1970, the CU Regents, after a series of feuds with the Daily, voted to cut funding for the Daily, as well as for all campus publications.
Since then the Daily has had a succession of private owners.
Westword: Paper Trail
It is currently owned and operated by Alden Global Capital, through its subsidiaries, Digital First Media and Prarie Mountian Media.
The Colorado Daily is now integrated into the Prarie Mountain organization, sharing offices, staff and stories. It is referred to as "An Edition of the Daily Camera." Its mission is to "help advertisers solve complex marketing challenges."
Alden's financial strategy for its journalism organizations is this:
- layoff editorial and support personnel,
- sell unneeded real estate,
- downsize news products,
- relentlessly raise prices on news products,
Alden's strategy for its papers has prompted considerable backlash by journalists around the country, notably in Denver and Boulder.
Exposing Alden Global Capital
June 20, 2016
"On June 17, 2016 dozens of people rallied outside The Denver Post building
to take a stand against job cuts and the corporate raiding at the newspaper."
"A few years ago a secretive Wall Street hedge fund called Alden Global Capital bought Digital First Media (DFM), a management company specializing in newspapers in the United States. Since the hedge fund bought DFM, a thousand jobs have been cut and wages have failed to increase, all while the company continues to show a healthy profit. Now the Communications Workers of America (CWA)-NewsGuild has come up with a campaign called #newsmatters to help employees mobilize to win the raises they deserve and expose Alden Global Capital for what they really are."
ucomm blog: Exposing Alden Global Capital
Denver Post Online Editorial:
As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved
April 6, 2018
[On April 6, 2018, a number of op-eds appeared on the Denver Post website regarding the owners of the Denver Post and their journalistic policies. The lead op-ed, written by the Denver Post Editorial Board, was titled As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved.]
"The photo on the left shows 142 members of The Denver Post's newsroom staff in the newspaper's lobby as it existed on May 15, 2013. The photo illustration on the right shows the toll that layoffs and constant turnover have taken on the staff in the five years since. On Monday, at least two dozen more journalists will be leaving The Post because of layoffs."
"At The Denver Post on Monday, more than two dozen reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, page designers, digital producers and opinion staff will walk out the door. Our marching orders are to cut a full 30 by the start of July.
. . . .
We call for action. Consider this editorial and this Sunday's Perspective offerings a plea to Alden - owner of Digital First Media, one of the largest newspaper chains in the country - to rethink its business strategy across all its newspaper holdings. Consider this also a signal to our community and civic leaders that they ought to demand better. Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom. If Alden isn't willing to do good journalism here, it should sell The Post to owners who will."
Denber Post Editorial Board: As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved
Gregory Moore: Who will step up and save The Denver Post?
Ricardo Baca: When a hedge fund tries to kill the newspapers it owns, journalists must fight back
Jon Caldara: In the fight for limited government, even a liberal newspaper helps
Jenn Fields: The stories that might not get told - and the importance of telling them
Diane Carman: Love us or hate us, you'll miss us when we're gone
Mario Nicolais: Who will "be there" when journalists are gone?
Joanne Ostrow: Cuts to local newspapers hurt all local news
Jeffrey A. Roberts: What investigative journalism means for our communities
Chuck Plunkett: With more cuts coming to The Denver Post, what about the letters to the editor?
Denver Post Rebels Against Its Hedge-Fund Ownership
April 7, 2018
"The Denver Post is in open revolt against its owner.
Angry and frustrated journalists at the 125-year-old newspaper took the extraordinary step this weekend of publicly blasting its New York-based hedge-fund owner and making the case for its own survival in several articles that went online Friday and are scheduled to run in The Post's Sunday opinion section. "News matters," the main headline reads. "Colo. should demand the newspaper it deserves." "
New York Times: Denver Post Rebels Against Its Hedge-Fund Ownership
April 8, 2018
The Denver Post's April 8, 2018, Sunday print opinion section included versions of the op-eds that appeared online on Apirl 6, 2018.
The News matters cover story is a version of the online editorial As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved
The caption under the photograph states: "On May 15, 2013, The Denver Post's newsroom staff gathered for a photograph after winning a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Aurora theater shooting. This photo illustration shows the toll that layoffs and constant turnover have taken on the paper's staff since then. On Monday, at least two dozen more journalists will be leaving the Post because of layoffs. RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post"
Mike Littwin: On The Denver Post, vultures and superheroes
April 9, 2018
"Some credit the line to the great A.J. Liebling, others to the maybe even greater H.L. Mencken, but in either case it's undeniably true: "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
Or it was true - until Sunday's edition of The Denver Post, when the inmates took charge of the asylum, when the owners of the Post presses were wondering what the hell had just hit them and when Chuck Plunkett, the paper's editorial page editor, turned into a journalistic superhero."
Colorado Independent: Littwin: On The Denver Post, vultures and superheroes
CU Boulder's College of Media, Communication and Information faculty:
"We stand with those at the Post who are speaking out."
April 10, 2018
"We are members of the faculty in the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication and Information ["CMCI"], and we support the current and former employees of The Denver Post who have taken a courageous stand against years of needless cutbacks on journalism in our state.
As the headline of Sunday's Denver Post opinion page reads, "News matters." We agree. Our public university's educational mission is unattainable without strong news media to serve the common good and to inform the next generation. It is time for leaders in the news media - together with the institutions of higher education that help prepare future journalists, leaders and citizens - to ensure that journalism can continue to flourish in this vibrant, growing state.
. . . .
We stand with those at the Post who are speaking out."
[signed by the Dean of CMCI and 65 CMCI faculty members]
CMCI: CMCI faculty agree: local news matters
Shame on Freeman
By Editorial Board of The Chronicle
The independent news organization at Duke University
April 12, 2018
"Heath Freeman, [Duke] class of '02, has garnered controversy as of late for his role in destroying local newspapers. Freeman is the president of Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund with the subsidiary Digital First Media, a newspaper chain that has been buying up local newspapers and dismantling them all across the country. The Denver Post, the most widely read newspaper in Colorado, has seen its newsroom shrink from 250 staff members to 100 in less than a decade, and now orders to cut thirty more reporters will reduce the remaining staff size by one third.
. . . .
The Chronicle, like many local-run newspapers, plays an essential role in reporting and commenting on various facets of our campus community that would otherwise be ignored by the institution's news outlets. As opinion journalists dedicated to commenting on the state of the University, we condemn the actions of those like Freeman who seek to destroy - whether intentionally or unintentionally - local journalism through self-serving capitalistic purposes."
The Chronicle: Shame on Freeman
Readers weigh in on Denver Post's staff cuts and ownership (25 letters)
April 13, 2018
"The Post's leading 20th century figure, publisher Helen G. Bonfils, spent a dozen years (1960-72) and millions of dollars fighting off a hostile takeover by New York newspaper baron Samuel Newhouse, precisely because she understood the critical importance of quality local journalism to the civic health of her home city. In a remarkable ruling upholding her long fight for local control, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit declared:
"A corporation publishing a newspaper such as The Denver Post certainly has other obligations besides the making of a profit. It has an obligation to the public, that is, the thousands of people who buy the paper, read it, and rely upon its contents. Such a newspaper is endowed with an important public interest . . . . A corporation publishing a great newspaper such as The Denver Post is, in effect, a quasi-public institution." "
Denver Post: Readers weigh in on Denver Post's staff cuts and ownership
Private equity owners endanger Daily Camera's future
[As explained below in the the Editor's note, written by then-Camera editorial page editor Dave Krieger, this is an op-ed written by Krieger and published independently on the Boulder Free Press website.]
April 14, 2018
"Editor's note: An early draft of this editorial was submitted to the Daily Camera editorial board Friday morning, April 13, 2018, for publication on the Camera's website Saturday, April 14, and in print Sunday, April 15. This is our usual process. Draft editorials are edited, corrected and revised during the day, but the early draft serves as the basis for approval, or not, and recommended revisions by board members. The editorial board consists of the publisher [Albert Manzi], executive editor [Kevin Kaufman] and editorial page editor [Dave Krieger]. In this case, the executive editor and editorial page editor supported publication. The publisher did not. On most matters, the editorial board operates democratically, but in this instance, the subject being the business itself, the publisher exercised his veto and killed the editorial. I elected to publish it on a different platform for the reasons stated in the editorial: This is a story about an important, longstanding Boulder institution. As journalists working in that community, we have an obligation to our readers to tell it."
"Journalism is not just any business. It is part of our democratic infrastructure. A minority shareholder in Digital First Media recently filed a lawsuit claiming Alden has drained tens of millions of dollars from its newspapers in order to make dubious, unrelated investments. In a court filing in response to the suit, Alden essentially admitted as much. . . . .
Whether a particular form of capitalism should be permitted to destroy local First Amendment institutions serving millions of Americans is now a national conversation, thanks to the Post. Reaction to its plea was swift. The Nation wrote about it. So did Esquire. The New York Times put it on the front page. The Washington Post published an in-depth piece Friday under the headline, As a secretive hedge fund guts its newspapers, journalists are fighting back."
Boulder Free Press: Private equity owners endanger Daily Camera's future
Dave Krieger Fired by Daily Camera After Self-Publishing Hedge Fund Attack
April 26, 2018
"Dave Krieger, a former staffer with the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and KOA radio, has been fired from his latest position as editorial-page editor of the Boulder Daily Camera after self-publishing an attack on Alden Global Capital [see above: Private equity owners endanger Daily Camera's future], the so-called vulture hedge fund that also owns the Post, when his own paper wouldn't publish it."
Westword: Dave Krieger Fired by Daily Camera After Self-Publishing Hedge Fund Attack
COMPANIES WITH NAMES LIKE Alden Capital, Digital First Media, Citadel, Fortress, GateHouse, and many others that you've never heard of have purchased more than 1,500 small-city dailies and weeklies. The malign genius of the private equity business model, of which more in a moment, is that it allows the absentee owner to drive a paper into the ground, but extract exorbitant profits along the way from management fees, dividends, and tax breaks. By the time the paper is a hollow shell, the private equity company can exit and move on, having more than made back its investment."
American Prospect Longform: Saving the Free Press from Private Equity
Say goodnight, Gracie
[An op-ed written by Dave Krieger after his firing from the Daily Camera and published independently on the Boulder Free Press website.]
April 26, 2018
"The Camera's respect for the traditional wall between editorial and business crumbled with the publication of the [Denver] Post's April 8 editorial section. The Post has had no publisher since Mac Tully resigned in January. That's how its editorial section slipped through. That wasn't going to happen again. DFM [Digital First Media] lost its CEO last fall, and the publisher of the Pioneer Press, Guy Gilmore, a circulation guy, is now running the show as the chain's chief operating officer. My guess is this metastasizing revolt - reflected in the Post section and expressions of solidarity of varying strengths at some of the chain's California properties - became a test of Gilmore's fitness for the job, fitness at DFM basically being synonymous with ruthlessness. Remember, DFM's only job is to deliver the cash to Alden so it can invest in Greek debt or Fred's Pharmacy or whatever. Content doesn't matter, journalism doesn't matter, digital doesn't matter. Cash matters.
. . . .
Mike Littwin, my former colleague at the Rocky Mountain News and now a columnist for the Colorado Independent, wrote a column praising the Post's rebellious editorial section and condemning Alden. The Independent shares Mike's columns with local publications, including ours, and we run a fair number of them. I proposed to run this one. Normally, I didn't need approval for the columns I chose for the Camera's opinion pages, but in our chain of command I reported to Kevin, and I thought he should know. So I shipped him Mike's column and asked if he had any problem with my running it. He said he didn't, but he would need to check with Al [Manzi, publisher of the Daily Camera]. Al vetoed it.
. . . .
This was the first time in my three and a half years at the Camera that management had censored content. It changed everything. If Al no longer respected editorial independence, then we were going to have big problems.
. . . .
Now, to me, as a lifelong news man, there is no way in the world to address the state of Colorado journalism in 2018 without addressing Alden's massive influence as owner of the Denver Post, Daily Camera and all the other publications of Prairie Mountain Media. In fact, this is the single biggest threat to Colorado journalism today. So that's what I said in the editorial.
Boulder Free Press: Say goodnight, Gracie
(along with other documents)
Denver Post Editor Who Criticized Paper's Ownership Resigns
May 3, 2018
"Chuck Plunkett said he knew that he was risking his job as the editorial page editor of The Denver Post when he wrote an impassioned editorial last month blasting the newspaper's hedge-fund owners as "vulture capitalists" who had hobbled Colorado's largest newspaper with deep layoffs and cost-cutting.
On Thursday, Mr. Plunkett resigned after he said an executive who oversees the newspaper refused to run another sharp-edged editorial Mr. Plunkett had written for this Sunday's newspaper. Mr. Plunkett said the editorial included new criticism of Alden Global Capital, the New York hedge fund that runs The Post and other newspapers through a subsidiary called Digital First Media.
"What they were asking was to be quiet," Mr. Plunkett said in an interview. "For me to just sit quietly by would be hypocritical." "
New York Times: Denver Post Editor Who Criticized Paper's Ownership Resigns
The Editorial that Digital First Media Refused to Publish
"A SERIOUS THREAT to journalism in Colorado and across the country is only growing stronger. Papers owned by Alden Global Capital and operated by Digital First Media now suffer not just from neglect, but outright censorship."
Columbia Journalism Review: Rejected Denver Post editorial decries 'outright censorship' at Digital First papers
Denver Post Newsroom Statement on Resignation of Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett
May 7, 2018
"We, the newsroom of The Denver Post, are outraged at the unconscionable censorship imposed on our now-former editorial page editor, Chuck Plunkett. Chuck told the truth, eloquently and pointedly. And in that our newspaper's corporate ownership - Digital First Media and the hedge fund Alden Global Capital - saw something to fear, not to champion."
[signed by 56 newsroom journalists]
Denver Newspaper Guild: Denver Post Newsroom Statement on Resignation of Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett
Op-Ed: I Stood Up for 'The Denver Post' and Was Forced to Resign
The inside story of the struggle to save local journalism
May 7, 2018
"One month ago, The Denver Post editorial board made news with a package of columns clustered around a tell-it-from-the-mountain screed decrying the degradation of local journalism at the hands of the out-of-state hedge fund and the yes-people that run the newspaper - and dozens of other papers across the country.
I was the editor behind the project, and while I expected to lose my job when I hit publish that Friday afternoon, it took our parent company, Digital First Media (DFM), controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, until late last week to push me out.
The Denver Post, a 125-year-old city newspaper, came under Alden/DFM rule in 2011, and has been run into the ground ever since. It's one of dozens of regional publications presently owned by the vulture capitalist fund - practically all of which have seen reductions in staff and resources since the moment they found themselves under the Alden/DFM umbrella. And while the sale of all these papers to the hedge fund was announced as a strategy to position local outlets for the long run, the reality that journalists in the company's newsrooms have lived and breathed has been something more cynical and sinister."
Rolling Stone: I Stood Up for 'The Denver Post' and Was Forced to Resign
CU Boulder hires Chuck Plunkett to direct CU News Corps program
May 31, 2018
"Former Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett will join the University of Colorado Boulder this fall as director of CU News Corps, a program of the College of Media, Communication and Information.
He has more than 20 years of experience in state and regional newsrooms in investigative reporting, politics, public policy and breaking news, including as part of the newsroom team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for breaking news coverage of the Aurora theater shooting."
CMCI: CU Boulder hires Chuck Plunkett to direct CU News Corps program
Chuck Plunkett on Resignation From Denver Post, New Gig at CU Boulder
May 31, 2018
"Rumblings that Digital First Media, which operates the Post and many other papers under the Alden Global Capital umbrella, might be considering eliminating editorial pages entirely at its properties "is one of the reasons I resigned," he continues. "I started hearing that they might want to bring me back to the newsroom, kick me off the page and kill editorial pages across the country. And that's such an abdication of responsibility. It so gets it wrong. Why in the world would you give up the editorial voice of a newspaper? It's the most plugged-in member of the community, and its opinion ought to matter and be of great service."
Westword: Chuck Plunkett on Resignation From Denver Post, New Gig at CU Boulder
The Silver & Gold Record
joined soon after by staff leaders, to communicate with their colleagues
and the administration in a public university environment that values
academic freedom, open debate, dialogue and free exchange
in a marketplace of ideas" -- Faculty Council
"Everybody wants to be consulted on everything.
I don't happen to think this is about shared governance.
It's about a management decision. This is a management decision."
-- CU President Bruce Benson
The Silver & Gold Record was for 39 years an independent editorial voice on campus.
In April of 2009, about a year into his term as CU President, Bruce Benson made a decision to eliminate the funding for the Silver & Gold Record.
As Chief Academic Officer of the University, Benson also made a determination that eliminating the S&GR would not affect the academic welfare of the university.
The determination by the President that this was not an academic matter allowed the University, according to Regent laws, to eliminate funding for the Silver & Gold Record in June of 2009 without consulting either the Editorial Board, which oversees the publication, or University governance groups, which established the paper in 1970 and appoint the Editorial Board representatives.
The University of Colorado Faculty Council passed a motion calling for a deferment of the decision to eliminate funding from the Silver & Gold Record until options for alternative funding and production could be collaboratively investigated by the faculty, staff and administration.
The Regents defeated a motion to study S&GR options and defer removing funding in 4-5 vote.
Several years later, in an article published in the Wall Street Journal, President Benson recalled "We closed a popular newspaper for faculty and staff, with 11 [sic] employees and a $600,000 annual budget, and replaced it with an electronic weekly, saving a half a million dollars annually. We didn't need to be in the newspaper business . . . ." Giving College Administrators a Business Education (Aug. 26, 2015)
President's office announces decision to eliminate Silver & Gold Record
May 1, 2009
"The staff and Editorial Board of Silver & Gold Record were notified by the president's office today that CU's 39-year-old newspaper for faculty and staff is being eliminated, and all nine of its staff members are being laid off.
. . . .
Members of the 15-seat Editorial Board expressed dismay this morning at both the decision to eliminate the paper and staff and the way in which the decision was made. Larry Cunningham of UCD business said he was disappointed that neither the Editorial Board, which oversees the publication, nor University governance groups, which established the paper in 1970 and appoint the Editorial Board representatives, were consulted during the decision-making process."
President's office announces decision to eliminate Silver & Gold Record
Why We Decided to Eliminate the Silver & Gold
May 7, 2009
by Bruce Benson, CU president
"I am committed to ensuring that the CU community gets good information through effective communication for our entire work force.
While the review and restructuring of system administration was the catalyst for the changes in system administration announced last week, budget difficulties were also a driving factor. While the S&GR is perhaps the most visible of the many hard decisions we had to make in reducing our budget by $6.2 million, it was by no means the only one.
The process began last fall, when I engaged the chancellors and the administrative leadership in discussions about ways system administration could be more efficient and effective in how it delivers essential services to the campuses such as information technology and IT security, payroll and benefits, procurement and communications. A worsening budget situation led us to prioritize essential services and set budget reduction targets that changed as our funding situation changed. S&GR's budget is part of system administration. . . .
We will move quickly to develop an online communication vehicle that will meet the needs of the CU community in an efficient and effective way."
Why We Decided to Eliminate the Silver & Gold
S&GR Editor's Interview with Bruce Benson regarding eliminating Silver & Gold Record
May 7, 2009
"President Bruce Benson discussed his decision to shut down the Silver & Gold Record yesterday during a phone interview [with S&GR editor, Jefferson Dodge].
He said the idea of closing the paper has been something that has been "kicked around for a while," based on the feeling that better service could be provided using the Internet, considering the direction that the newspaper business is going.
After being told that S&GR has had a full-text Web site since 2002 and has been blocked by the administration in recent months in its efforts to send weekly e-mails with headlines and links to that site, Benson said, "We don't want to go online for several hundred thousand dollars."
Asked about the editorial independence of the new online publication CU officials intend to launch, he said faculty and staff will be able to submit their own contributions, in a "ye all come kind of approach." He said that if someone writes a letter for the publication, it would be edited only for things like pornography or other "rotten stuff." Benson added, "If someone wanted to write in and say the president is horrible, then I say print it."
He also said the April 23 S&GR story about its original 21 percent budget cut, which was printed a week before the administration wanted, played no role in the decision to eliminate the paper.
Asked for his response to the complaints from faculty and staff leaders regarding not being consulted about the decision to eliminate the paper, Benson said, "Everybody wants to be consulted on everything. I don't happen to think this is about shared governance. It's about a management decision. This is a management decision."
Benson said he believes that it is duplicative to have S&GR reporters and campus news offices. Asked about how faculty/staff meetings would be covered without reporters, he said, "the meetings can cover themselves," and explained that employee groups can submit their own information to the new online publication.
"We've had to do some very hard things here," he added. "And once I make decisions, I believe in sticking with it. ... If I know in my heart of heart I'm doing the right thing, I'm going to continue until they fire me." "
Benson explains S&GR decision
Faculty Council Meets with Vice President for Administration
May 14, 2009
On May 14, Faculty Council members quizzed Vice President for Administration Leonard Dinegar about the decision to close the newspaper.
Boulder Faculty Assembly Chair Uriel Nauenberg of physics said, "We believe that an independent press is an essential part of a university system."
He added that one key is having enough funding for a staff of reporters and editors who have the time for "walking the pavement," editing letters, attending meetings and putting items online. Nauenberg said he was not sure that the decision had been thoroughly thought through.
When informed by Dinegar that the new publication will have 1.5 FTE positions, Nauenberg replied, "How will 1.5 people do investigative reporting?"
Dinegar responded, "We're not hiring investigative reporters."
. . . .
Dinegar agreed that the paper provided a "tremendous service" and that people in the president's office "rush to get it" every Thursday, but he said that other priorities outweighed it.
Mark Malone of UCCS education spoke emotionally about the decision, stressing that the idea of academic freedom is related to having a free press.
"What's being lost here is larger than the Silver & Gold," he said, adding that the lack of consultation in the decision "seriously undermines the confidence that this administration has in shared governance." He called it a case in which the "administration simply chooses not to follow the rules."
Employees Object to Closure in Public Comment Period (June 18, 2009)
Motion from the Faculty Council Regarding the Silver & Gold Record
Faculty Council Motion on Silver & Gold Record
* WHEREAS, the Silver & Gold Record was founded in 1970 by CU faculty leaders, joined soon after by staff leaders, to communicate with their colleagues and the administration in a public university environment that values academic freedom, open debate, dialogue and free exchange in a marketplace of ideas; and
* WHEREAS, since then the Silver & Gold Record has evolved into the primary medium through which CU faculty and staff representatives express their views to CU officials and their fellow employees in the spirit of shared governance; and
* WHEREAS, the Silver & Gold Record serves as the primary medium through which the actions and decisions of the CU administration and the several campuses are reported to those most immediately affected; and
* WHEREAS, the recent decision by CU President Bruce Benson to eliminate the newspaper, without consultation with faculty and staff leaders, violates the administration's stated commitment to openness, transparency, shared governance and accountability;
* BE IT RESOLVED, The University of Colorado Faculty Council requests a deferment of the decision to remove funding from the Silver & Gold Record until options for alternative funding and production can be collaboratively investigated by the faculty, staff and administration.
Approved unanimously by the Faculty Council on May 14, 2009
Motion from the Faculty Council Regarding the Silver & Gold Record,
May 14, 2009
Motion from the Faculty Council Regarding Shared Governance
Faculty Council Motion on Shared Governance
WHEREAS the Laws of the Regents 5.E.5.(F) states, "In establishing and reviewing budget policies and plans for resource allocation, the faculty shall collaborate with the campus or system administrationin the development of recommendations to the chancellor or the president, as appropriate, for submission to the Board of Regents."
WHEREAS the Laws of the Regents 5.E.5.(G) states, "In the preparation of budgets, the administration shall have the principal role, with early collaboration with the appropriate faculty governance unit(s). . . ."
BE IT RESOLVED that the University of Colorado Faculty Council expects current and further implementation of the announced budget cuts and restructuring will be suspended until collaboration with Faculty Council and its appropriate committees has occurred.
Approved unanimously by the University of Colorado Faculty Council on May 14, 2009
Motion from the Faculty Council Regarding Shared Governance,
May 14, 2009
Regent Minutes - Public Comment Period
May 18, 2009
"Public Comment Period.
Due to budget constraints, the administration decided to no longer fund the Silver & Gold Record, effective June 30, 2009. Nine individuals signed up to address the board about administration's process in making the decision. Leadership from faculty and staff governance groups read resolutions of support to continue funding the newspaper or delay any budget decision for six months to allow full discussion of the role of the paper and possible alternative funding sources.
Uriel Nauenberg, chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly, stated that the elimination of the Silver & Gold Record violated the Laws of the Regents 5.E.5 regarding the faculty collaborating with campus or system administration in the development of budget recommendations.
Vice President Dan Wilkerson responded by stating the first line of 5.E.5 regarding principals of participation, "It is a guiding principle of the shared governance recognized by the Board of Regents that the faculty and the administration shall collaborate in major decisions affecting the academic welfare of the university."
He added that during the administration budget process, the president determined that eliminating the funding for the Silver & Gold Record did not meet the threshold of affecting the academic welfare of the university and therefore did not violate the Laws of the Regents."
Regent Minutes, May 18, 2009 (p. 3/26)
Regent Minutes - Regent and Administrator Comments
May 18, 2009
Regent Neguse presented a draft resolution that authorized the creation of a temporary committee to explore alternative funding options through a systemwide collaborative process involving faculty, staff and administrators. . . .
Regent Ludwig said there isn't anything to stop it from forming its own newspaper. . . .
Regent Carrigan said he had never seen such internal consistency on a single issue and he disagreed that it is an advocacy newsletter. . . .
Regent Bishop noted that he would not support the resolution. He suggested that if faculty and staff felt so strong about a newspaper, perhaps the Silver & Gold Record should solicit subscriptions or seek corporate sponsors. . . .
President Benson noted that system administration will provide university information internally in a fair and thoughtful manner. He stated that the new electronic newsletter would have open columns for faculty and staff governance groups and welcomed open letters.
Regent Minutes, May 19, 2009 (p. 12-13/26)
Regent Minutes - Regent motion to study S&GR options fails in 4-5 vote
May 19, 2009
"Regent Neguse stated that [his resolution] was a modest and narrow proposal to give time to review proposals for continuing the paper.
Regent Carrigan, Geddes, and Merchant spoke in favor of the resolution. Regent Carrigan added that he had never seen such unanimity among governance groups in support of the issue.
Regent Ludwig said he was saddened by the loss of the Silver & Gold Record and respected its editor and staff, but viewed the publication as an advocacy newspaper for faculty and staff. He added that other traditional news outlets will continue to cover the university to ensure openness and accountability
The motion failed (4-5) with Regents Bosley, Bishop, Hybl, Lucero, and Ludwig, voting against the motion."
Regent Minutes, May 19, 2009 (p. 24-25/26)
Stop the Presses
May 28 - June 3, 2009
Citing budget issues, CU eliminates its faculty newspaper.
But is there more at stake than money?
Boulder Weekly: Stop the Presses
University Relations /
Boulder Strategic Relations and Coummunications
"Across our campus - and throughout the university - editors, programmers and project managers have spent untold hours retooling the electronic infrastructure, policies, and editorial strategy to present a new face of electronic communications for the University of Colorado Boulder."
Be Boulder Messaging Platform
"A New Era of Communications"
July 3, 2012
"Across our campus - and throughout the university - editors, programmers and project managers have spent untold hours retooling the electronic infrastructure, policies, and editorial strategy to present a new face of electronic communications for the University of Colorado Boulder. The result is a suite of three new electronic communication systems for telling the stories of our community and promoting the life of the university in engaging ways."
A new internal bulk email delivery system
External audience communications via eComm
"Our Singular, Cohesive Brand Platform"
CU Boulder Brand Website
"CU Connections is an online publication providing news and information to the faculty and staff of the University of Colorado's campuses and system administration. It is produced by University Relations in the president's office.
. . . .
Our goal is to build community across the university.
. . . .
Story ideas and submissions are welcome from current and retired CU faculty and staff. Not all submissions will be published; all are subject to editing for clarity, length, tone and style. Preference is given to material of systemwide interest and use."
[ Note: this publication is the direct replacement by the University for the Silver & Gold Record, which was eliminated by President Benson and the Regents. ]
About CU Connections
A New Communications Working Model
May 24, 2018
"Welcome to a new day in Strategic Relations and Communications (SRC). Based on the recommendations of a thorough communications program review conducted in 2016-17 - and with the endorsement and charge of the chancellor, provost and senior vice chancellor - Strategic Relations and Communications is facilitating the work of a cross-campus collaboration among senior communications colleagues and executives to develop and deliver a more integrated approach around three key areas of focus - recruitment, our national reputation and supporting our advancement goals. . . .
2. Expand, strengthen and uphold the reputation of CU Boulder through integrated marketing campaigns and central CU Boulder communications channels;
3. Provide forward-thinking, broad-based strategic communications planning, resources and tools for campus partners."
Integrating our Communication Efforts
July 31, 2018
"Our recently redeveloped Strategic Messaging Alliance (SMA) [formerly the Strategic Marketing Alliance] has been hard at work building out strategies for CU Boulder recruitment and reputation communications, in close alignment with priorities shared by our deans, vice chancellors, athletics director and senior leadership team. . . .
Our key outcomes to date include:
2) Agreements to pilot marketing campaigns for specific college and school undergraduate recruitment goals within the existing campus undergraduate student recruitment model (a partnership between Admissions and SRC)."
CU spends nearly $7 million a year on the Boulder Strategic Relations
and Communications department with about 70 employees
Upholding CU Boulder's reputation
Part of CU Boulder's $1.5 million advertising and marketing budget