Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rocky gives Drunkablog red carpet treatment

Remember how I used to pick on the Rocky Mountain News (most recently about the cartoons of death) and especially on Rocky editor John Temple? Well, never again.* Because yesterday, through the kind offices of editorial writer Linda Seebach (and after Temple's okay), the Drunkablog got an exclusive (well, not really) look at the editorial workings of the Rocky Mountain News.

And everybody was so nice

They really were. The Rocky, Denver's "conservative" newspaper (meaning its editors more or less tilt that way) is a pretty big outfit (26th in the U.S. according to this, for which I can't find a date, 30th in 2003 according to infoplease (both rankings just behind the Denver Post. Garn). And yet everybody there was just as friendly as cheese.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First I had to sign in at the desk and pin on the visitor's badge the nice man gave me:

Rocky visitor's badge. No I don't know why.

Then, of course, there were the balloons:

A little chintzy, and obviously left over from some other occasion(s). But they had a clown give them to me in the RMN lobby, right in front of everybody. It was very sweet.

Quite enough folderol

Okay, there were no balloons, no "I am expandable" ID. No clown. Seebach came down and got me and we went up to the editorial offices on the fourth floor.

The weekly editorial meeting takes place in Temple's large but unfancy office, at a table near a window with a view of the Chinese restaurant on the corner (the Rocky is moving to new digs this summer). It's usually attended by four Middle-Aged White Guys (MAWGs) and Seebach. The MAWGs are Temple; editorial page editor Vincent Carroll; Peter Blake; and Rick Henderson (who as you can see was at Reason for a stretch).

Not very diverse, huh? But there was lots of diversity in the issues the mawgs and Seebach considered editorialating about, so that makes up for it, right? Right? Anyway, as a reader courtesy I won't go into the issues. They were weighty and intellectual and Drunkablogistas wouldn't be interested.

Still, the meeting was short, less than an hour, and afterward everybody walked off purposefully like they knew what they were doing. Impressive. I brought a camera, by the way, but while Temple was reasonably game, the others made rowr-rowr noises, which I quickly interpreted to mean *uck off. I'd have felt the same way, so I didn't take any except for a few of the framed Rocky front pages hanging all over:

The "late president" is McKinley. But it wasn't until I downloaded this that I noticed the little box up in the top left corner. See it? Couldn't quite tell what it said so I enlarged it:

"Christianity versus Anarchy." People were a might
jumpy after McKinley was assassinated.

Brisk budget meeting

The news budget meeting that immediately followed was equally ad hoc. They just went around the table in a tiny conference room and each section boss (of the city desk, sports, etc.) said what he or she had cooking storywise. It went fast; once again, everybody seemed to know what they were doing.

And since I seem to be on a diversity kick, there were maybe eight women in the meeting out of the 17 or 18 staffers in attendance. It was difficult to take a head count because people were walking in and out, staying only to listen to what they needed to, which I also liked. But because of that I won't hazard a guess on the proportion of people of pallor compared to those otherwise persuaded.

In short, the place seemed quite normal. Contrary to what I'd heard from liberal friends, nobody whistled the Horst Wessel Lied in the halls, and I didn't hear any "Heils." There weren't even any calls for the massacre of native Americans. Strange, but true.

*John, you know that little Flintstones separated-at-birth post? I apologize. You don't look like Fred at all; in fact, even at your advanced age you manage to retain a certain--I disgrace myself as a man for saying it--boyishness. But the picture you're running now is even worse than the one I used in that post. Jeez.

(Sincere thanks to Linda Seebach, John Temple, and all the other Rockyites who without exception showed tolerance for, and kindness toward, a slow and doddering blogger.)

Update: Speaking of nazis, here's another front page. Sorry for the lousy photos. I wandered around the halls (cubicles all the way) a little in the minute or two I was on my own, but the Drunkablog is not a trustworthy looking person, and I kept getting inquiring looks. Naturally then I couldn't help acting furtive and rushed the pics.

So misunderstood: the Drunkablog, not Hitler.

Update II: I also got a brief but highly interesting interview with Linda Seebach, which I'll post this weekend or thereabouts.

Update: Seebach writes to inform me that the editorial offices of the Rocky are on the third floor. Like any journalist (except Seebach) the Drunkablog has problems with numbers. They don't like him, and he don't like them.

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