Digital First Media, owner of The Denver Post and other Colorado newspapers, announced Wednesday that it is disbanding its 2-year-old digital-media experiment Project Thunderdome.

Project Thunderdome, based in New York City, provided content to DFM newspapers and websites, focusing mostly on national and international, health, technology, sports, lifestyles and entertainment news.

DFM CEO John Paton announced the end to the project in a blog post.

He said initiatives started by Thunderdome will continue company-wide, but will be managed at a more local level.

"While our company will continue to invest heavily in digital development, increasingly our focus will be in local where we are the news and information leader in our markets," he wrote.

Thunderdome will be shut down over the next 12 weeks. In all, 52 people, including DFM editor in chief Jim Brady, Project Thunderdome editor Robyn Tomlin and digital transformations editor Steve Buttry, were given notice Wednesday.


Analysts writing in advance of Paton's announcement speculated that shuttering Thunderdome is part of a broader strategy by DFM's majority owner, private-equity firm Alden Global Capital, to cut costs as it readies the media company's 280 daily and weekly newspapers in 18 states for sale.