You may have heard, Denver’s oldest business closed today. It was the Rocky Mountain News daily newspaper. In business here for a 150 years. Like the ‘Rocky’, I have often been called ‘the Voice of the Colorado Experience’.
This is what kills me, though. This time yesterday, they were gainfully employed and did not know they were closing. Then, about this time, someone tipped off the reporters that the suits from EW Scripps had just landed in town. That meant only one thing. Reporters knew what was happening before the suits could make it in to town (remember, our airport is 45 minutes away). Dude showed up and told them they were closing down.
Now. Today. You are closed. Finish your paper for Friday’s edition. That’a just brutal, isn’t it? I am lucky enough to have a copy of the last edition on my desk here. It is filled with moving tributes, and a brief overview of 150 years of content. The news business is for lifers. You don’t age out like you do in sports or prostitution. People had been there 50 years. Imagine finding out, after 50 years, that you won’t be coming back tomorrow. I remember vividly when I was told where I had worked for six years was closing in a year… and I was devastated. Now, think of that times 50!
We salute the Rocky, but I shed no tears. Why? I never used it. I am the reason why they are gone. For news, I mostly make it up. It is quite clear that since I went online in 2003, their circulation has spiraled down. With me making up the news, and you getting all your news from me… no one needed the Rocky.
For the Sunday paper, a necessary indulgence, I always used the Post. The decision between the Post and the News was a big deal for Coloradans. My choice was the Post simply because it carried Dave Barry.
So, who killed the newspaper business? Quite simple, Craigslist. Why the hell would I pay $80 a week to sell my car though the papers when I could do it free on Craiglist? Really, at this point, I am now Colorado’s only voice… and I accept that with great humility.