President’s remarks at the 2019 Denver Press Club annual meeting

The following were remarks delivered by Denver Press Club president Daniel Petty on April 22, 2019, at the Denver Press Club:

The Denver Press Club is the nation’s oldest and longest continuously operating press club, founded in 1867, before Colorado was even a state. That puts us at 152 years old this year. Yesterday, we closed our fiscal year, and I am happy to report that we are much more financially stable, thanks to all of your support and the hard work of our management, board, staff and volunteers.

Under the leadership of programming chairwoman Carol McKinley, we hosted 88 events last fiscal year, 57 of which were Club programming events — discussions, panels, fireside chats. Both our members and the public convene at our Club for critical discussions about journalism and media, the future of news and the role a free press plays in society. Thanks to assistance from Carolyn Tyler, Linda Shapley and Skyler McKinley and many others for their ideas and help in putting these programs together.

I also want to especially thank our board members. I stepped into this role in October 2018 to succeed David Milstead, and I can tell you that none of our success is possible without this board. We are all volunteers — but this board puts in hours of work every week to make this institution successful. So if board members could please stand to be recognized:

  • Linda Shapley, vice president
  • Kevin Vaughan, treasurer
  • Carol McKinley, secretary
  • Bob Burdick
  • Gabrielle Bryant
  • Donovan Cordova
  • Skyler McKinley
  • Roger Ogden
  • Larry Ryckman
  • Carolyn Tyler

I also want to recognize our staff: Tom Foutch, our general manager, who joined us several years ago. I greatly appreciate his wisdom and guidance in running a successful and professional operation and for making our members and guests feel welcome every time they come in to the Club.

  • Current membership roles 430 members
  • $11,000 on the Hall of Fame — better than break even
  • $43,000 on the Damon Runyon Award with Bob Woodward
  • Ended the fiscal year with $42,450 in the black, that’s our best year since 2009
  • Passed a new member code of conduct, which is posted downstairs
  • Started charging for non-members to come to our events, which has improved our revenue and helped support food
  • New caricature wall

And I’d also like to thank our wonderful bartender, Cassie Ballard. Many thanks as well to Jim Clarke, who heads our building committee and been doing yeoman’s work to maintain our home and apply for historic grants to ensure our building is here for another 100 years. We were rejected for the State Historical Grant on February, but we have reapplied for it — $200,000 for a new roof — as well as a $50,000 grant from the Gates Family Foundation to help with matching.

I want to acknowledge a few members who died this year:

  • George Lane, a Denver Press Club Hall of Fame member and longtime reporter for The Denver Post. He enjoyed, and excelled at, bowling and poker. He was a fixture at basement poker games in the Denver Press Club.
  • Randy Bangert was not a member, but he was a longtime Colorado journalism fixture at the Greeley Tribune.
  • Natalie Meisler, former sports reporter at The Post.
  • Trent Siebert, former reporter at The Denver Post
  • Kevin Kauffman, editor of the Daily Camera
  • Ed Andrieski, photographer for The Associated Press

The following some of our initiatives for next year:

  • Launch DPC 2025
  • Grow co-working from our small, but mighty base
  • New standing programming meeting
  • Additional outreach to the freelance community
  • Plan to record our forums to launch a podcast
  • Maintain and grow our programming — with a particular focus on Elections and more outreach to the arts community
  • Accepting nominations for the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame
  • Another big Runyon (working to convene judges now)
  • New website

I want to thank our election committee: Leslie Young, Jim Clarke and Jen Forker.

I want to emphasize the uniqueness of what we have. Many other press clubs exist in name and as an organization, but they don’t have a place to gather. We do. A city and state like ours deserves to have a place that stands up for the value of a free press, especially at a moment when there’s so many challenges facing local journalism today. As one of our board members, Roger Ogden, often likes to say: It’s not that the Denver Press Club should survive, it’s that it must survive. And your support ensures that happens. Thank you, everyone.

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Daniel Petty

Dan Petty is the president of the Denver Press Club. He has been a board member since 2016. He works as the digital director of audience development for MediaNews Group and previously worked as a digital news and sports editor at the Denver Post for seven years.

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