Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rocky Mountain News — 1859-2009

So long, Rocky.

The Rocky Mountain News publishes its last paper tomorrow.

Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Rocky-owner Scripps, broke the news to the staff at noon today, ending nearly three months of speculation over the paper’s future.

“People are in grief,” Editor John Temple said at a news conference later.

Boehne told staffers that the Rocky was the victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.

“Denver can’t support two newspapers any longer,” Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news. “It’s certainly not good news for you, and it’s certainly not good news for Denver.”

On Dec. 4, Boehne announced that Scripps was looking for a buyer for the Rocky and its 50 percent interest in the Denver Newspaper Agency, the company that handles business matters for the papers. The move came because of financial losses in Denver, including $16 million in 2008.

“This moment is nothing like any experience any of us have had,” Boehne said. “The industry is in serious, serious trouble.”

I read the RMN every day when I lived in Colorado. Although it had a conservative editorial board, it was known for good reporting and avoiding sensationalism. I enjoyed the media coverage of Dusty Saunders and the outlook of the late Gene Amole.

It was a tabloid; not in the news-sense, but in the way it was printed, like a book. (That’s where the word “tabloid” comes from, like a tablet.) That made it easy to read in bed or sitting at the counter in the Gateway Cafe in Lyons.

In the journalistic tradition meaning the end of the story, I’ll end this post with…

-30 –