But more interesting, perhaps, was hearing from the fifty-two respondents who are no longer in journalism:

They’re working in construction and in restaurants, at universities and ad agencies. Some are retired. Others are students. And a few are unemployed.

A greater percentage of this group who responded to a survey about life two years after the Rocky Mountain News closed said it was better now than when they were at the paper than did those still in the profession. But one theme emerged in this group’s personal stories more strongly, a sense of loss.

Of those who chose to switch careers, many spoke of a personal transformation that had to take place as they turned away from a profession they had trained and worked in since they were young. “The past two years have been a journey to reinvent myself,” wrote former police reporter Judy Villa, who is now working as a communications specialist and 911 dispatcher in a sheriff’s office. “I had let journalism become my identity,” wrote Darin McGregor, Rocky Mountain News photographer who now manages a brewery. “That was foolish. No single thing defines me.”

Myung Oak Kim, expressed a common sentiment, that even working outside the field of journalism, Kim had managed to find work that stayed true to the ideals that had fueled her earliest journalistic ambitions:

In my heart, part of me will always be a journalist. But I’ve decided to move toward doing service work in my community rather than writing about what other people do. I believe that we all have something to contribute to society. I want to use my skills toward making positive change, which is one of the most noble goals of journalism.

And what of Lisa Bornstein, the “blacksmith in 1915”? She is now teaching fourth-grade in Denver, and says that her life is much better than it was at the Rocky. She writes:

My current job treats people with more respect than what I saw at the Rocky. I was bored the last few years at the Rocky and in my new field I am creatively and intellectually stimulated and feel that my efforts are valued. But I miss my friends in the newsroom a lot. I also miss going to work after it was light out.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner