DENVER – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was on national television as he took questions from CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday.
The two discussed democracy and the Denver Post on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources.”
Earlier this month, the Post’s editorial page editor called out the paper’s owner in a public plea that took over social media and became one of the most talked about headlines nationwide.
Workers and Colorado leaders claim the significant cuts to the Post’s newsroom by New York City hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, are destroying the good journalism that Colorado relies on.
Denver Post staffers urged Alden Global Capital to either stay committed to local journalism, or sell.
“It seems the Denver Post has lit a fire and it's starting to spread,” Stelter said.
Mayor Hancock reiterated his support for the paper, and told Stelter it was something the city needed.
“It's very hard to imagine the city of Denver without the Denver Post,” Mayor Hancock said.
“The Denver Post is a responsible, objective medium here in our city,” he added. “We've got to believe that it's important for democracy and for those of us who depend on getting good information, at our city, that it survives.”
Hancock mentioned Denver was once a two-paper town, emphasizing his concern for the recent cuts to the Post newsroom.
“When the Rocky Mountain News went away, the Denver Post was left standing,” Hancock said. “Unfortunately, now we’re seeing it diminish.”
The paper once had 250 staffers, though that number is now under 100.
On CNN, Hancock inquired, “The city of Denver is asking the question, a question… What can we do as a government to save the Denver Post?”
Denver7 has since reached out to the mayor’s office for clarification about what that might entail and will update this article accordingly.
Stelter asked for some clarification of his own.
“I was struck by the fact that you issued a statement supporting the paper, 'cause the paper has been tough on you,” Stelter said to Mayor Hancock.
He referred to the sexual harassment allegations against the mayor that were first uncovered by Denver7 Chief Investigator Tony Kovaleski.
“So, why are you still deciding to speak out in support of the paper?” Stelter asked.
Mayor Hancock replied, “When we have mainstream media, like the Denver Post, we can always trust that they're reporting from standards -- with standards, I should say.”
Denver Post editor Lee Ann Colacioppo told Denver7 she isn’t surprised the mayor went on national TV in support of the Denver Post.
In a statement, Colacioppo said, "The mayor, the governor and senators all know the importance of the newspaper- even when we're critical of a politician, or someone in the public eye. That's our job."
“My hope is that it survives, but I'm going to tell you it doesn't look like there's much of a lifeline for papers like the Denver Post,” Hancock told Stelter.
Governor John Hickenlooper said he thinks the Post should be sold.
When he was asked what the state could do to help, the governor said he could be useful in connecting potential financial investors.