Add to that the loss of a major middle-to-mildly conservative editorial voice and outlet for columnists of varied opinion, and readers suffer even more. No matter how good the editors of The Denver Post are (and some are very good), limiting the circle of gatekeepers for news and opinion is never good for the public.
So now, the Rocky—ironically, honored recently as having one of the nation’s best business sections and one of the Top Ten sports sections—is consigned to the recycle heap, its life stretching from 1859 to 2009.
The memories abound: from Speed Graphics to handset heads to hot type to stereo (no, not the music) to penny papers to darkrooms to Underwood typewriters to old slow-speed, all-cap teletypes to wire rooms to building-shaking, on-site presses to across-the-street watering holes to UPI as a full-fledged wire service to vodka bottles stashed near the float in the tanks of toilets to dreadful interim steps such as electric typewriters and copy scanners to cheap bourbon (was there ever any other kind?) in a bottom drawer at the copy desk and so on.
Both Denver newspaper buildings where I used to work (the Post at 15th and California and the Rocky at 400 West Colfax) are gone now, so I need not drive by. Instead, I’ll take advantage of an unseasonably warm Colorado evening, don my trusty fedora, turn off my phone, and sit on my back deck and think of the people with whom I have worked through the tense times, the crazy times—and, almost always, the fun times. I plan to stay out there on the deck until my bottle of anti-freeze (a.k.a. Buffalo Trace bourbon) is empty.
Before I come inside, I’ll toast the men and women of the Rocky Mountain News. But I’ll also toast the men and women who won the newspaper war, those at The Denver Post. May they, too, have Godspeed and successfully harness this latest set of changes. For all of us. We need them more now than ever.