To newspaper journalists, it has always been The Rocky, a great newspaper in a great newspaper town. And now it’s gone.
The Rocky Mountain News is no more. It published its last edition this morning, leaving Denver to be served solely by the Post, which is now running a tactless ad on its website informing Rocky subscribers that they are now Post subscribers. It reminds me of the scene in “Casablanca” where Rick and Ilsa are standing in the Paris streets, listening to loudspeaker broadcasts of the Germans telling them how to act when the occupation begins.
It’s a sensitive time to be a digital journalist. The online medium long has been the whipping boy for newspaper fans. There’s nothing more that some newspaper reporters and editors like to do than blame all of their industry’s ills on those crazy kids with their wacky computers and their nutty Inter-Net thing. As a result, when you work in the online medium, you become accustomed to facing screeds from journalists who don’t work in it.
But in fact, newspapers have been dying for as long as I’ve been alive. The demise of some has been accelerated by the emergence of digital media, to be sure, but it’s really the current horrible advertising market that’s shoved the stake in too deeply to be retrieved.
That doesn’t make me feel any better about the Rocky. It’s been around since 1859…or it had been, until today. Like many great newspapers that have faded away, it will be missed.