Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rocky Mountain News to close tomorrow

What a bummer. So much good (and bad) journalism. So much history. The Rocky:
The Rocky Mountain News publishes its last paper tomorrow.

Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Scripps, broke the news to the Rocky staff at noon today, ending nearly three months of speculation over the paper's future. He called the paper a victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.

"Denver can't support two newspapers anymore," Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news.
Short course:
The Rocky was founded in 1859 by William Byers, one of the most influential figures in Colorado history. Scripps bought the paper in 1926 and right away entered into a newspaper war with The Post. That fight ebbed and flowed over the course of the rest of the 20th century, culminating in penny-a-day subscriptions in the late '90s. Perhaps the most critical step for the Rocky occurred in 1942. The paper was struggling and facing death when then-Editor Jack Foster switched its format from the more common broadsheet to the tabloid style it has been known for ever since. Readers loved the change and circulation took off.

In the past decade, the Rocky has won four Pulitzer Prizes, more than all but a handful of American papers. Its sports section was named one of the 10 best in the nation this week. Its business section was cited by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as one of the best in the country last year. And its photo staff is regularly listed among the best in the nation when the top 10 photo newspapers are judged.
Kinda feel like crying myself. Shit.

Update: The Post announces some of the few it plucked out of the water:

The Denver Post will hire Rocky Mountain News columnists, reporters and a photographer in order to attract the closing newspaper's readers.

Among those coming to The Post are some of the tabloid's most high-profile writers, including columnists Mike Littwin, Tina Griego and Bill Johnson . . .
A veritable Murderers' Row of wimp-wristed wiberals. Then a smart hire:

The Rocky Mountain News' editorial-page editor, Vincent Carroll, will join The Post's editorial board and write an op-ed column
But will he be able to stand the loneliness?

(h/t El Presidente, ruler of all he surveys, which, since he's not a surveyor, isn't much)

Update II: The News' big round-up story and lots 'o' links; the left sidebar of the Post's main story has a link to the Rocky's live Twitter feed "as word of the closure came down": "It's strange to cover your own funeral"; "One reporter joked quietly about throwing a shoe at Scripps execs." Wrenching.

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