Denver Urban Spectrum editor, MSU Denver journalism professor Alfonzo Porter dies

Denver Urban Spectrum editor, MSU Denver journalism professor Alfonzo Porter dies

Denver Urban Spectrum editor and Metropolitan State University of Denver journalism professor Alfonzo Porter has died, bringing sadness and tributes for a mentor devoted to helping young writers find their voices.

Porter, 60, collapsed at his home Sunday. The cause of death hasn’t been determined.

Beyond teaching journalism students, Porter during the pandemic stepped in amid staff cuts to run a weekly magazine, in addition to overseeing the Metropolitan school newspaper. He also worked since 2016 running the Denver Urban Spectrum, a monthly news publication where, back in 1987, he produced a report about gang violence for its first issue.

“This wasn’t expected at all. And we still don’t know what caused it,” said Bee Harris, the publisher of the Denver Urban Spectrum for 36 years, who lauded Porter for his active leadership role in attending community forums.

“Alfonzo wore so many hats. He did so many different things,” Harris said. “Journalism was his first love. He was a social justice advocate. That was his main focus.”

For students considering journalism at a time when companies focus on digital systems, “he felt that it was important that they would be reputable journalists,” she said.

Porter graduated from MSU in the summer of 1987. He returned to the university in 2014 to work as an adjunct professor.

“We’re all very surprised by this. He was a pretty prominent figure here at the university,” school spokeswoman Keylen Villagrana said Tuesday.

Metropolitan editor Sara Martin, 22, who took two of Porter’s classes, said he “pushed us to do our best. …. He would tell us to be bold, check power, follow the money. He pushed us to be better. He was also our friend.”

He saw the dangers of an emerging digital world and wrote a textbook aimed at high school students — “Digital Citizenship: Promoting Wellness for Thriving in a Connected World” — in an effort to protect social, mental, and emotional health.

“Alfonzo was a kind-hearted soul with so much compassion for his students and community. He worked tirelessly and served his community for over 30 years. He said and did everything with strong conviction and never wavered in his pursuit of justice,” said Thanh Nguyen, an MSU assistant dean who directs the school’s Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion.

“He made time for all people and believed in them even when they did not believe in themselves,” Nguyen said. “Alfonzo deeply touched our lives and will forever stay in our hearts.”

Get more Colorado news by signing up for our daily Your Morning Dozen email newsletter.

Leave a Message