A sad goodbye

rockymountainnews1861

Excerpt from the Rocky, 1861, from Coloradopols.com

The Rocky Mountain News is no more–it ceased publication after this morning’s edition, just 55 days short of it’s 150th anniversary.  The Rocky Mountain News was also the oldest continually operated business in Colorado, and many considered its political desk in this decade the best in the state.  (The Rocky offered a nice rundown of its history here.)

I never subscribed to the Rocky–it was a tabloid, which has never been my style, and at the time I moved to Colorado it had more knucle- knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers on their editorial page, so I went with the Denver Post.  (Among conservatives, the Post has a reputation for being “leftist,” which is just completely nutty.)  But on Saturdays I read the Rocky, because according to the agreement by which the Post and the Rocky  shared their presses, the Rocky put out the only newspaper on Saturdays, and the Post published the only Sunday edition in Denver. 

Some of the star reporters and columnists are migrating to the Post, but hundreds of people are out of work, as of today, with only 60 days of severance pay.  Nothing personal–it’s just business.

0 thoughts on “A sad goodbye

  1. Thundering typhoons !! Historiann has misspelled “knuckle” !!! Where’s my blasted bottle of Loch Lomond whiskey? Ahhhhhhhh . . . there she is . . . .

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  2. Yes, I was sad about this, too. Emily Sorin Meredith, One of the women in our first graduating class of 1859 contributed to the Rocky Mountain News when her husband Frederick took on its editorship–their daughter Ellis Meredith also worked on the paper. Well, at least Little Midwestern College is still here–for now!

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  3. Except for the inevitable implications of having the media on the public payroll, I’d rather spend a few billions from the apparently bottomless till of “bailout” monies to keep physical newspapers on the street than to prop up “too big to fail” banks and financial institutions. The parent company for the _Philadelphia Inquirer_, which used to be a really distinguished “home newspaper,” filed for Chapter 11 a week ago. They insist that this is really no more than a management tool for dealing with their debt load, and not an operational question, but we’ll see.

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  4. The public payroll? Why not? Works for the BBC.

    I think that newspapers could work as non-profits. It works for public radio and universities–who says that absolutely every institution has to be for-profit? It seems like making payroll and putting out a decent product has a lot to be said for it these days.

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  5. The St Petersburg Times operates on this principle. It is owned by the Poynter Institute which provides educational and professional traiing for journalists.

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  6. I’m still suspicious about the timing.

    Scripps tries to sell the paper, when everyone who bought papers during the past five years are struggling or filing for bankruptcy? Rocky reporters asked why Scripps didn’t ask for paycuts:

    “Questions from copy editors: Why didn’t you just come to us and ask us to take a pay cut.”

    “Boehne says Scripps and Media News would have to cut both Rocky and Post newsrooms in half then get concessions.”

    And for those who wondered why the Rocky couldn’t move to online only: “Contreras says for Rocky to continue as online-only product, the partner in the JOA – Dean Singleton’s Denver Post – would have to agree.”

    And ain’t it peculiar that union negotiations with the DNA ended in tentative agreement the day before the Rocky was pronounced dead? And that Post union negotiations are still in flux?

    Wanna bet Media News is the latest company to de-unionize a paper, by brute force? Even if the workers want to strike, Media News can shut the paper down and not look back.

    Who’d be left to protest?

    Who’d report on the protests, if they happened?

    Now I know why the Denver Post veered distinctively left after 2004. First, Singleton made a bet that a cyclical change would start from the governorship and extend through Congress, that would mean Democrats would need to be cultivated to gain support for changes in regulations concerning media ownership and monopolies (viz. Dem cultivation during the 1996 media regulation changes). Next, like Reagan and the USSR, Singleton knew enough about the Rocky’s finances to pinpoint when it would falter, and the credit crisis and ad revenue drops were all that would be needed for him to win.

    I never forgot that this was a newspaper war. And a very powerful man in Colorado and the region has won.

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