The Rocky Mountain News’ closure gives me pause

The final front page of the Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 27, 2009We all live our lives way too fast. We rush to work, work at a fast clip, rush home and barely get a chance to chill out before, as a wimpy ’70s singer-songwriter once crooned, “we get up and do it again.”

So the death of the Rocky Mountain News, like the death of a close friend or family member, has given me pause. It’s making me reflect a bit on my own mortality: as a news junkie, journalist, writer, Internet geek and human being.

First of all, I feel terrible about the Rocky’s closing. I feel worse — a lot worse — than I thought I’d feel. It’s a business decision. But it affects hundreds of people, many of whom I know. In fact, I’ve known some of the staff at the Rocky for almost 30 years. In between jobs, I’ve written more freelance stories for the Rocky than for The Denver Post, the newspaper that’s left standing in Denver.

Now I work for MediaNews Group Interactive, the online operation of the Denver Post’s parent company. People — especially bloggers who cover the media — like to throw barbs at MediaNews and its owner, Denver-based Dean Singleton because he buys up newspapers and usually trims their operations to make them more profitable. “More profitable” of course is a relative term these days. Maybe we should settle for “less unprofitable” in these terrible economic times.
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Farewell to the Rocky Mountain News

I know I haven’t been writing much on the blog — I have a bunch of things stacked up, and I’m always babbling in small bits on Twitter and Facebook.

But I needed to embed this video from the Rocky Mountain News, which is shutting down today. The Rocky’s staff has been brave and unfliching in its coverage of the closing, which was first announced in December as a possibility if no one buys it. No one bought it. I have many friends there, and have written a lot of freelance articles for the Rocky, when I wasn’t working for the competition, The Denver Post, or in my current position, working for the Post’s owners, MediaNews Group.

The Rocky put this video on its home page today. It’s a well-done piece of work (even though at 21 minutes it’s incredibly long for an online news video). Although today’s edition is rife with self-focused emotion (I guess understandingly), this tribute is worth viewing. I doubt the local TV stations could do better:

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.