Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rocky Mountain News Folding - More To Come?

After a would-be sale produced no qualified buyers, E.W. Scripps says its Rocky Mountain News, Colorado's oldest newspaper, will cease publication after the paper hits front steps tomorrow.

“Today the Rocky Mountain News, long the leading voice in Denver, becomes a victim of changing times in our industry and huge economic challenges,” said Scripps CEO Rich Boehne. “The Rocky is one of America’s very best examples of what local news organizations need to be in the future. Unfortunately, the partnership’s business model is locked in the past.”

Rocky employees stay on the payroll until April 28. Scripps says it will continue to “offer for sale” the paper’s assets, including the name and Website. It did not say it will continue publishing news on the Website.

“The closing of the Rocky Mountain News is sad for those of us who knew and respected journalists like Lynn Bartels, M.E. Sprengelmeyer, and Mike Littwin. They were the soul of a newspaper that covered people and politics for the west without succumbing to Washington-think or being homogenized by the big media corporate ethic,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).

“Sadly, this won’t be the last in this unfortunate trend in the newspaper business which has already seen D.C. bureaus shut, foreign desks close, and now entire newspapers and newspaper chains disappear. It’s a trend that should alarm all of us. Thomas Jefferson recognized the importance of newspapers to our democracy when he said he’d prefer newspapers over government if forced to choose. It’s no coincidence that many of the great investigative pieces of journalism that led to progress on everything from workplace safety to civil rights began not in the national newsrooms but in local and regional newspapers from Boston to Chicago to Alabama. As our methods for disseminating news continue to rapidly change, I will make it a priority to take a hard and close look at the disturbing trend that is the disappearance of journalism.”

Will there be any newspapers left in a few years? The entire way people get their news is changing. I personally read all my news online. I watched some political shows in TV during the election year campaigning but not really since. The only time I read a print newspaper these days is when I'm flying on a plane.

I was actually quoted in a story in the Rocky Mountain News last year (see below).

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