EducationHot SheetMedia

Former Denver Post opinion editor to lead CU Boulder news team

Author: Mark Harden - May 31, 2018 - Updated: May 31, 2018

Chuck Plunkett, former editorial page editor for the Denver Post, will join the College of Media, Communication and Information at CU Boulder as Director of CU News Corps, which is an investigative and explanatory news project. He is photographed on the CU Boulder campus. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Chuck Plunkett — the former Denver Post editorial-page editor who quit in early May in a dispute with the newspaper’s owners — has landed at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he’ll lead a student investigative-reporting unit as it expands.

Plunkett, a veteran reporter and editor, sent shock waves through the media world in April when he engineered a six-page opinion package in the Post that blasted Alden Global Capital, the New York hedge fund owners of Post parent company Digital First Media, for a series of severe cutbacks at The Post that have diminished the news staff to a fraction of its former size.

A month later, he exited the Denver daily after a Digital First executive vetoed publication of a follow-up opinion piece he had written about the ouster of another opinion editor at a paper owned by the company, Dave Krieger of the Boulder Daily Camera.

At CU Boulder, Plunkett will serve as director of CU News Corps, an investigative news outlet for which students produce long-form journalism for Colorado media outlets, the university announced Thursday. The program is part of CU’s College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI).

CMCI Dean Lori Bergenhad this to say:

Chuck Plunkett is known as a Colorado thought leader and champion for journalistic excellence and tackling difficult issues. His years as a writer and editor in newsrooms and on editorial boards bring the depth of experience needed to mentor our students as they partner with professional news organizations on a range of issues.

CU News Corps is backed by a $2.5 million 2017 endowment from Bill and Kathy Scripps. The couple’s son and daughter are CMCI alumni, and Bill Scripps is a great-grandson of the founder of the Scripps newspaper chain, former owners of the defunct Rocky Mountain News.

Launched in 2012, CU News Corps will become a required capstone course for all entering journalism students, eventually enrolling 60 to 70 students per semester, CU Boulder says.

Says Plunkett:

I loved working in newsrooms, and I didn’t want to leave them. But it is also true that, before I started my career in journalism, I hoped to find myself teaching in university classrooms. Over the years I’ve often thought longingly about returning to the academy and its mission. The CU News Corps program offers incredible opportunities to help train the next generation of journalists and maintain that connection to the profession that has defined my adult life.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.