After learning that the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News would cease operations today, we invited the paper’s staffers to share some thoughts and reflections. The invitation still stands: write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update this tribute as more thoughts arrive.
John Boogert, Internet news editor
As strange as sounds, I’m not all that sad about me personally. I’ll survive. What IS devastating to me is the loss of the Rocky to our readers and the community. Our readers love their Rocky. It can never be replaced, by the Post or anyone else.
Lisa Bornstein, theater critic
I’m the theater critic here, and my feelings are mixed. The two months of uncertainty were brutal, as many at folded papers know. We wanted the purgatory to end. And now, well, it sucks. Does it suck that a community is losing a voice? Yes. Does it suck that democracy will be in trouble with no one paid to be an independent examiner? Yes. But right now, what I’m thinking: It sucks to be me. (I’m a theater critic, I had to quote “Avenue Q.”) A degree in journalism and twenty years reporting for newspapers, and that career is over. I feel like a blacksmith in 1915. I didn’t lose my job; I lost my career. It’s not here anymore. Even if I could find a job at another paper, I believe it would just postpone the inevitable and make me that much older when I have to figure out what to do next. I’ll miss telling people’s stories and I’ll miss going to the theater, at least I’ll miss the good shows. At least now, I get to choose which shows I see.
Gargi Chakrabarty, energy reporter
Being a reporter at the Rocky has been such a thrill. Just this Tuesday, a colleague and I were on a reporting stint in the arid gas fields of western Colorado. We traveled to a “man camp” for gas drillers, perched 8,600 feet high on top of the majestic Roan Plateau. We didn’t realize the gravel road, carved out of the face of the mountain, would be so dangerous. Very soon, our vehicle was slipping and sliding on the muddy road and on-coming semis didn’t help. We climbed 3,000 feet in four miles and 30 minutes, at times tunneling through the mountain.
I wondered who’d die first: Me or the Rocky.
For the record, I outlasted the Rocky. But our story didn’t make it to the last edition.
Lynn DeBruin, sports writer for nearly 11 years
I haven’t felt this sad since 9/11. I’m not at all comparing the two, because there’s nothing that compares to 9/11. But I just remember being so confused, so sad, and feeling the need to be around people.
On that awful day, with no family in the area, I drove around aimlessly until I found myself at Swedish Medical Center, where wide receiver Ed McCaffrey had just had surgery to repair a serious break in his leg suffered the night before on Monday Night Football.
I would run into Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in the parking lot, who proceeded to chew me out for thinking about football on a day like this, until I told him, “Pat, this isn’t about football. I’ve got nowhere else to go. I don’t know where to go.”
He ended up giving me a short interview and I filed a short story.
Ed recovered and we all somehow got through that day. But life wasn’t the same.
It won’t be this time, either.
Sonya Doctorian, video journalist
It appears to me my colleagues have used their energy from today’s news of the Rocky’s closing to produce a tremendous final edition.
Tillie Fong, night general assignment reporter
I don’t think the news has really sunk in yet—it doesn’t seem possible that something so vital, so alive as it were, is gone.
I feel the Rocky‘s closing as a death—not as an institution but as a part of my life, a part of ME, that has died.
I always felt that the Rockywas this feisty little paper that reflects the spirit of the people that it serves—fiercely independent, outspoken, active, but also caring and compassionate.
I also think that the newspaper also provides a different perspective to issues and events, and a unique voice to the community that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
Maybe that’s what every journalist like to think of his or her organization, that it makes a difference in the world. But I really think the demise of the Rocky doesn’t just mean the loss of jobs for me and my colleagues, but also a part of Denver and Colorado history is also lost.
Laura Frank, investigative reporter