September 23, 2023
Annapolis, US 62 F

A Newspaper Falls

rmnewsOne industry that has been hit pretty hard  by the economy has been the newspaper industry. The local Capital Gazette has laid off a lot of their production workers and is going to outsource their printing needs beginning with Monday’s edition. While the economy can be attributed to declining advertising revenues, the newspaper industry has been a victim of technology. More and more people today are reading their news online.  The Tribune Company (owner of the Baltimore Sun) is in bankruptcy. The Seattle Post Intelligencer is in danger of stopping the presses. The two Philadelphia papers just filed for bankruptcy and just yesterday, The Rocky Mountain News just published its final edition.

Are the days of a traditional newspaper numbered? I know many journalists across a range of media and most of them feel that it is.  Their feeling is that the newspaper industry has failed to keep up with technology and has forged its own obsolescence. Sure, there is always a need for reporters, journalists, columnists, broadcasters and even bloggers. But we also think that in the coming year, we will see the failure. That makes me sad. While I do get a lot of my personal news, I do enjoy Sunday morning’s thumbing through the extra-thick paper. I almost miss the black fingers from the old newsprint.

But alas, people are turning to the Internet for their news and commentary. Within three days of launching this website, we are already seeing an average of 275 visitors per day. I guess it remains to be seen if we are just a curiosity, or something a bit more relevant; I tend to think the latter.

But as the Rocky Mountain News finally turned off their presses just shy of its 150th anniversary, I wanted to share their farewell front page.

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to you today. Our time chronicling the life of Denver and Colorado, the nation and the world, is over. Thousands of men and women have worked at this newspaper since William Byers produced its first edition on the banks of Cherry Creek on April 23, 1859. We speak, we believe, for all of them, when we say that it has been an honor to serve you. To have reached this day, the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, just 55 days shy of its 150th birthday is painful. We will scatter. And all that will be left are the stories we have told, captured on microfilm or in digital archives, devices unimaginable in those first days. But what was present in the paper then and has remained to this day is a belief in this community and the people who make it what it has become and what it will be. We part in sorrow because we know so much lies ahead that will be worth telling, and we will not be there to do so. We have celebrated life in Colorado, praising its ways, but we have warned, too, against steps we thought were mistaken. We have always been a part of this special place, striving to reflect it accurately and with compassion. We hope Coloradans will remember this newspaper fondly from generation to generation, a reminder of Denver’s history – the ambitions, foibles and virtues of its settlers and those who followed. We are confident that you will build on their dreams and find new ways to tell your story. Farewell – and thank you for so many memorable years together.

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