This summer, Jeffrey Roberts fielded a call at his office in Denver. A resident of Elbert County, southeast of the capital, had noticed something curious: The county assessor maintained a website where the assessed value of local homes, considered a public record under Colorado law, was readily accessible. But the records for properties owned by certain local officials—including the assessor—were hidden from view.
Roberts, a veteran journalist with 23 years of experience at The Denver Post, went into action. He traveled to Elbert County, interviewed the county assessor, spoke to experts who said nothing in state law allowed the records to be kept confidential, and published a story about it. Five days later, he had another story: The assessor had posted the records online.
It was a clear example of journalism with impact. But Roberts, 56, hasn’t worked at the Post since his position as an editor was eliminated in 2007, during a round of newsroom cuts. Continue…