You know, I can hardly post something about the troubles in the news biz for y'all before something comes along and tops it. I tried to give y'all a roundup back in this post earlier today, and now this:
The Rocky Mountain News publishes its last paper tomorrow.
Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Rocky-owner Scripps, broke
the news to the staff at noon today, ending nearly three months of
speculation over the paper's future.
"People are in grief," Editor John Temple said at a news conference later.
Boehne told staffers that the Rocky was the victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.
"Denver can't support two newspapers any longer," Boehne told
staffers, some of whom cried at the news. "It's certainly not good news
for you, and it's certainly not good news for Denver."
This takes things to a whole new level, of course. Severe expense cutbacks are one thing, bankruptcies are another. But shutting down altogether — well, this is something new. Not only are they shutting down; they're shutting down tomorrow.
Some of us might be tempted to whistle past this graveyard. After all, what was Denver doing with TWO newspapers in the year 2009? Most two-newspaper towns went the way of the dinosaurs before any of us had HEARD of the World Wide Web. (The Columbia Record, for instance, closed in 1988, and that was toward the back end of the trend.) But that doesn't change the fact that, as Mr. Boehne said, "The industry is in serious, serious trouble."
Things are critical, and immediate, and things are starting to happen really, really fast — sort of the way they did with Lehman Bros. et al. last fall.