Friday, February 27, 2009

A sad day

So today, Denver becomes a one newspaper town. After nearly 150 years as Colorado's original newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News dies after today's edition. Employees found Thursday that after Friday, they wouldn't have a job.

It's hard to find the words to express my feelings here. I spent 12 years working in print journalism, and I've seen it become an increasingly difficult business to remain viable. I once made the statement as a cub reporter in Olean, N.Y. that the Internet would save newspapers because people would have the ability to access their "hometown" news from anywhere in the world when they wanted to. Some papers, mainly the uber-large ones like the New York Times have been able to pull enough revenue from the Web to remain viable.

Most have not. The inability to draw revenue from the Web is killing newspapers, not saving them. A former colleague of mine, the last columnist Joan Dickinson, vehemently disagreed with me when I made my comment about the Web saving newspapers. In later years she changed her stance. Joan, I think you were right after all.

The Rocky tried to change with the times, moving to a tabloid format and entering into a joint operating agreement with the Denver Post in 2001. Obviously it wasn't enough.

I fear for my friends and colleagues who remain in print journalism. These are uncertain times. More newspapers will die. The Tucson Citizen is closing in March. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is on life support. Unless print finds a way to adapt to a rapidly changing world - and now - it's days are numbered.

And people may then come to realize they miss the relaxation of their morning paper and the ink on their fingers.


BobbaLew said...

We once worked at the mighty Mezz; and it too will probably pass; replaced by an Internet where anything goes.
—1) Horseshoe Curve originally built with four tracks. (Wrong; two tracks originally.)
—2) Dulles International Airport spelled as “DullEs” and “DullAs.” (I get John Foster Dulles.)
—3) “Hilary Clinton “ spelled with two Ls, and also with one. (Far as I know, it’s one.)
Where is Cynthia Bassett-hound when we need her?
Factuality is for wusses — so says my brother-in-Boston (and Limberger).

BobbaLew said...

More Rocky ruminations........
Mel Pomponio, Rocky union chair (whatever that is), presentation editor;
The one I identify with: “Nobody knows me from the moon.”
One of the many faceless ones, without a byline, that help produce a newspaper every day.
(I had a byline early on. They were publishing a column I wrote. [I rode that hot-air balloon at Mercy Flight’s BalloonFest, to do a column for that.] —Got the flag-police all upset because I said my dog was more alive than my flag — Jr. scotched my column.)
There were a slew of things I did without a byline. They were my honor-rolls; my Senior Calendar, my closings-box (the vaunted “wear-your-rubbers” file).
I retire, and all-of-a-sudden Bushiere has to do the Senior Calendar; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I retire, and Nano has to start doing the closings box.
I retire, and “Night Spots” (the dreaded Night Spots) goes back to Meredith.
No HRs for some time after I left. If an HR came e-mail, I could flip it in an afternoon — and it was worth doing. If the school is sending us an HR, it needs to be published.
Got so I could flip them quickly with Word®-tricks.
That stupid stockbox. If I set up this Quicken stock-watch, we can flip the thing in 5-10 minutes. Used to take two hours.
Same with macros. Let the rig do the work. If can write something to clear up letters-to-the-editor, let’s try this: fiddling copy for the web-site.
I could fly a lotta Steppin Out copy because I had macros doing all the prep.
Mahooch tells me about riding the bucking bronco at the Lexington Minuteman.
Tells me it’s a lotta work, but that as a news-junkie, he really enjoys it.
Well, that was me too, Matt. A misapplied news-junkie.
Drove transit bus 16&1/2 years, but ended up doing a union newsletter because it was fun.