Should bloggers pick up for the loss of the Rocky?

I am attending WordCamp Denver today and just had a good presentation by Gil Asakawa on media and publishing.
One of the questions that came up was should bloggers fill the niche left behind by the Rocky Mountain News? Well should they?

My thought is that bloggers and everyone else should be looking out for something going on and question it. We are a republic after all.

One thing that I have noticed in the media, specifically the Denver Post, is that the reporters are general issue reporters. The speciality or niche reporter no longer exists. Continue reading “Should bloggers pick up for the loss of the Rocky?”

Good-Bye Rocky!

I hate to say this, but good-bye Rocky Mountain News. I am going to miss you.
I moved to the Denver area in 1993 and except for a couple years when I moved away I have been reading the Rocky Mountain News. It was an excellent newspaper and I always compared other newspapers to it.

And none of them really measured up.

What did I like?

  • The staff was always professional and the stories were well written.
  • The paper really covered Denver and Colorado. When I read a newspaper that is something that I look for.
  • The comics. They were so much better than the Post. 😉
  • The format. Whether it was on the kitchen table or on a flight, the tabloid format was easy to read.

I guess it is just the sign of the times. Newspapers across this country are in serious trouble. The Albuquerque Tribune closed a year-ago (another Scripps newspaper), the Seattle P-I will cease publishing a printed copy later this year, the San Francisco Chronicle is in trouble, and the stock of the New York Times is now below what a Sunday edition costs.

In the paper that is surviving, the Denver Post, I have concerns about their viability over the near and long-term. They have been having financial problems and had to borrow money from the Denver Newspaper Agency. They also just had to re-negotiate contracts with their staff.

Plus I have seen an incredible decline in the quality of their writing. Like many other newspapers they have reduced the newsroom staff, getting rid of the specialty writers and leaning towards the general writer who can cover more topics. But this lead to a poorer quality of writing and coverage of the issues.

The Rocky has provided a great benefit to the Denver and Colorado area for 150 years and Denver has benefited from having a two newspaper town. Now that we are done to one, let’s hope that the Denver Post keeps up their part of raising issues and keeping everyone in check.

For now, I am going to continue my subscription and receive the Denver Post. But I am nervous and have a lot of doubt that they will continue into the future. If I don’t like it, I will drop my subscription.

I want to wish the staff of the Rocky well as they move on with their career. I have met and worked with some of them on a professional level and always enjoyed it. They were always fair and provided good coverage of the issues.

Good-bye Rocky. Me and many others are going to miss you.

Denver Post backs Obama -Rocky Mountain News supports conversation, not one candidate

In today’s paper, the Denver Post officially endorsed Barack Obama for President. Although it was not a unanimously choice by their editorial board.
Dan Haley, the editorial page editor for the Post, had a real good column explaining how they made the decision and deliberated about it over the last few weeks.

He explained that it wasn’t a Republican vs Democrat issue, but “The Post is an independent newspaper that doesn’t care what’s good for Republicans or what’s good for Democrats. We owe nothing to either party.”

He went on to explain that, “Endorsements are meant to stoke a public dialogue”.

According to Haley, he is not so sure of Obama will be able to “change” the country and also feels that the politics are further left than his own beliefs.

Just for the record, the Denver Post has now supported seven Democrats and seven Republicans.

But the Rocky Mountain News took a different approach.  In a column in Saturday’s paper, publisher John Temple announced that the Rocky would not be endorsing anyone.

Instead the Rocky would be providing information on both candidates and have their readers foster their own opinions.

Temple rationalizes this by looking back at the state of newspapers. At one time, the newspaper was the only or the main way for the public to get their news.  But now, there are many ways for the public to get information to help them make a decision.

But we live in a different world today, a world where citizens have a wealth of information available to them. If anything, what they need is a trusted source to help them evaluate that information and come to their own conclusions.

So we have two newspapers, two different paths trying to foster thought and debate over the issues so people can determine to vote for who they think is best.

My opinion? I think the Rocky Mountain News is taking the best approach.  Because of the amount of information on the internet, we don’t need a newspaper’s editorial board to provide an opinion to generate thought.

What people are looking for is an unbiased source of information that we can then make up our mind on who we think is best to represent us or if we support or don’t support an issue.

I think Temple summarizes it best, “In the end we’ll leave it to you to come to your own conclusion, trusting that’s what you want and believing this newspaper’s editorial page can be most valuable to you if it helps you reach an informed decision, with an emphasis on informed. After all, ultimately that’s our job. It’s not to pick presidents, senators or representatives.”

Do you have any thoughts?

Rocky Mountain News Revamps Website

The Rocky Mountain News has revamped their website and I must say I don’t quite like the look.
It is clean and the information is easily accessible, but it is beginning to look like too many other sites.  The home page photo used to be quite prominent and really differentiated the website from others, but now it is just small and hard to see.  The photographers of the Rocky are some of the best out there and their work needs to be seen, not hidden.

The other opportunity that the Rocky Mountain News missed was in showing links to blogs that discuss a story.  This is a great tool and creates for more discussion and traffic to news stories.  It would be nice if they would add this feature.

Overall, it is clean, bright, and easy to find the information.  It would be nice to see the other features that I discussed.

Newspaper Circulation Continues Decline

In figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, of the top 25 papers in circulation, only four saw gains.
In the story, First FAS-FAX Numbers: Many Top Papers Take Big Hits, “… for 538 daily U.S. newspapers, circulation declined 2.5% to 40,689,617. For 609 papers that filed on Sunday, overall circulation dropped 3.5% to 46,771,486.”

The newspaper circulations have been declining for a long time. People are beginning to get their news in other mediums and in a more timely fashion. People are not relying on getting their news in their morning or afternoon papers anymore.

Examples of the figures for the last six-month period.

  • New York Times fell 4.51% in their daily circulation and 7.59% on Sundays.
  • Washington Post was down 3.2% during the week and 3.9% on Sundays.
  • San Francisco Chronicle was down 2.9% during the week and 0.6% on Sunday.

Locally, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News were down over 10%. The combined Sunday paper was down 13.52% over the last six months. The daily numbers at the Rocky Mountain News were down 11.9% according to another article, ‘Rocky’ Road: Denver Paper’s Circ Plunges — Now Points to Total Audience. Continue reading “Newspaper Circulation Continues Decline”