A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SDX Awards: Online, non-deadline reporting, DenverPost.com

By Quill

You can’t get slide shows and sound clips onto the front page.

When Denver unveiled its newest public building, the Colorado Convention Center, DenverPost.com offered visitors a grand tour of the massive taxpayer-backed project.

“This was an easy topic of concern to every taxpayer in the Denver metropolitan area,” said executive producer for interactive content Rebecca Risch. “Denver citizens voted to approve an expanded convention center back in 1999, and then paid dearly for the project – $310.7 million, almost $50 million more than first budgeted.”

The Post took its dedication to public seriously and covered the center’s opening from every angle, taking a critical look at a variety of the venue’s aspects, from the architecture to the proposed economic impact.

Denver throws the wraps of its newly expanded Colorado Convention Center this week. It’s a massive venue expected to host 1.5 million visitors a year, boost the city’s economy and jazz up its skyline. Not only has the expanded center brought new soaring glass atriums to Denver’s downtown, but city officials expect the building to draw waves of conventioneers – dentists, fire chiefs and cancer researchers alike – nearby shops, restaurants and hotels.

The online component also featured audio from the center’s architect and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who outlined the center’s significance to the growth of the city.

“Each successful project gives more exposure to the work we are trying to accomplish on DenverPost.com, both to our readers and to our newsroom,” said Risch. “Readers realize there is a wealth of information available on the Web site, beyond what they might find in the morning paper on their driveway. Editors and reporters see that it’s a way to share their stories with a potentially much larger audience and provide extra features and enhancements not available in print.”

Judges noticed as well.

“Although this story could have easily been just an electronic version of the newspaper’s coverage, it went beyond and went in ways only an online story could,” said the judges. “This is work that should be used as a template of what online reporting could be. This is why there is an Internet.”