I’m worried what the loss of papers like the Rocky Mountain News, a nearly 150-year institution, means for American literacy and civic life. It can’t be a good thing. Personally, this is and will be a rough time for me and many of my colleagues. But every time I start to feel sorry for myself, I keep thinking about all those parents who drove frantically through my neighborhood on April 20, 1999, desperately trying to find a shortcut to Columbine High School where their kids were being slaughtered. Losing a job pales next to that.
John Rebchook, reporter
I started to work here on September 12, 1983. I’m 53, so I have spent almost half my life working here. I was hired as a real-estate reporter because they needed a warm body. I knew nothing about real estate or business, having only covered crime, politics and poor people in the first four years of my career. When my predecessor told me that brokers would be some of my best sources, I thought, what do stock brokers have to do with real estate? I didn’t even know there was such a thing as real-estate brokers. I now have the dubious distinction of covering real estate and business longer than any reporter in Denver’s history. Along the way I also have covered cable TV, mutual funds, banking, and the airlines, all in addition to real estate. I’ve been at dinner parties when people have sniffed to me that they don’t read the business section because it is boring. “You’re right,” I tell them. “Business is about money. And no one cares about money.”
Jason Salzman, media critic
How classy of E.W. Scripps to give the Rocky an extra day to publish a last edition.
Scripps could have shut down the paper yesterday and saved a little money. After all, if the 150-year old newspaper had been printed for, say, a week longer, to give itself and its readers time to reflect about journalism and their community, think of all the money Scripps would have lost.
Anyway, the point is, the Rocky is a business, and that’s the way it is. But unlike other outfits, its death leaves an information gap that’s widening as other news outlets cut back too.
It’s a blow for coverage of the day-to-day stuff of our community, especially our local government. There are still lots of sources of national news, but local news is in serious decline.
So, as a condolence gift for the Rocky’s death, don’t send flowers to Editor John Temple or Mike Littwin or Vince Carroll.
Do something to support a Denver news outlet that actually gathers local news, not just aggregates it or opines about it.
Think about subscribing to the Denver Post, and buy a subscription for a friend. It’s actually a great cause, even if the Post’s owner, MediaNews, is no less greedy than E.W. Scripps. Anyway, to mark the death of the Rocky, do something to support local news reporting.
Darlene Trujillo, commentary department
Working at the Rocky Mountain News has been the best job I’ve ever had. I’ve been in the newsroom when many memorable moments have happened throughout the past fifteen years. There’s nothing like being at 400 W. Colfax or 101 W. Colfax as information starts streaming in and our reporters start streaming out. Columbine, 9/11, presidents dying, space shuttles exploding, elections and extraordinary moments that everyday, wonderful people allow us to capture will be with me forever. And sometimes you’re just stopping in to pick up a paycheck, find out an escalator has just collapsed at Coors Field and end up working till midnight to help re-do the paper so we have the breaking news on the front page.