Update, Monday, Jan. 28, 10:06 a.m.: Editor Joe Hight sent a follow-up e-mail saying he is specifically denying rumors that the reassignment of reporter Daniel Chacón was done due to pressure from the mayor's office.
The Gazette's been in the hands of Philip Anschutz's Clarity Media Group for a couple months now, and there have been a few changes, some more noticeable than others. For instance, readers saw a prettier paper as of the middle of December or so, as more white space was implemented in the print product, offering a cleaner design. Also, pages and sections have certainly been expanded as promised.
Recently, though, two of the more colorful, high-profile reporters at the paper have been reassigned to different beats: John Schroyer, now gone from covering the state Capitol, and Daniel Chacón, formerly a mainstay at Colorado Springs City Hall.
Here's how editor Joe Hight explains the changes in an e-mailed response to our questions.
"It’s perfectly reasonable for newsrooms to realign reporters and their beats, especially those who have been on ones for periods of time," Hight writes. "It is even more reasonable considering our focus on expanding our news and information products and services. We are a growing organization and need to make moves and transitions, similar to the newsroom management realignment we announced last week, as well as bring in new people to meet those needs. John and Daniel are experienced journalists who will be assets in their new positions and provide talent to important newsroom endeavors."
Schroyer will become the paper's video reporter, according to his Twitter feed, while Chacón will trade politics for public safety, according to his. The Gazette's new Capitol reporter is Megan Schrader, formerly of another Anschutz property, The Oklahoman, and she already seems off to a good start.
"Megan is an outstanding reporter, a former Gazette intern and a Colorado native who applied here before I came here as editor," Hight writes. "We needed a reporter based in Denver, and Megan was able to fill that need."
One aspect of the change has drawn concern from political circles, however, as rumors abound that Chacón was reassigned after the paper received pushback from Mayor Steve Bach about the tone of some of the reporter's coverage. Here's what former mayoral candidate Buddy Gilmore wrote on his Facebook page earlier today:
Hight didn't respond directly to our question regarding whether the Gazette was pressured to make the move, writing only: "We also will continue to cover city government and will assign an outstanding reporter like Daniel to fill that need."