Denver Post sports columnist Dave Krieger is leaving to join 850 KOA’s afternoon sports show. Krieger was one of a handful of Rocky Mountain News staffers who were picked up by the Post after the Rocky folded.
I don’t know newly elected Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and I don’t know whether the allegations of his involvement with prostitutes are true. But I do know this: if the Rocky Mountain News were still here, we would have gotten to the bottom of the story much faster. I love the Denver Post, but I love a Denver Post being pushed by a competing Rocky Mountain News even more.
They say suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and in that spirit let us remember that it was two years ago today that Scripps pulled the plug on the Rocky Mountain News. In that moment, 150 years of scrappy journalism was abandoned, hundreds of talented journalists and production staff suddenly were without jobs and Denver was left with one less important community voice.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how Scripps’ decision played out in the newsroom.
If you saw Dean Singleton cackling like a James Bond villain today, it is because highly respected former Rocky Mountain News reporter Kevin Flynn has taken a position with RTD as “public information project manager for the public-private partnership that is to build and operate trains to Denver International Airport and Arvada/Wheat Ridge, along with other FasTracks elements.” Flynn spent 27 years at the Rocky covering a host of beats, including transportation.
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Here’s to all the great journalists who worked for the newspaper over the past century, and especially to those who were with it at the end. You deserved better.
Former Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple will relocate to Hawaii after accepting the position as editor of Peer News, “a Honolulu-based local news service that will produce original, in-depth reporting and analysis of local issues in Hawaii.” Expect a “John Temple gets lei’d” joke in Penny Parker’s Denver Post column tomorrow.
Denver’s loss is Toronto’s gain. David Milstead, the talented business and financial columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, has accepted a reporter position with Toronto-based Globe and Mail. Milstead would have been a strong addition to the Denver Post, but his candid coverage of the events surrounding the Rocky’s closing – and the Post’s own less-than-solid financial footing – seemingly cost him that chance.
Here is Milstead’s email announcing the news to friends and colleagues:
From: David Milstead
Date: September 22, 2009 3:44:43 PM MDT
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Milstead update
I will be joining the Globe and Mail, Canada’s Toronto-based national newspaper, as a reporter in its Report On Business section. I’ll be doing something similar to what I did at the Rocky Mountain News – specialty finance coverage. (No column, however.)
The Globe and Mail competes directly with The National Post, which describes itself as a national newspaper, but fails to distribute in some provinces and has suspended publication of its Monday paper. The Toronto Star and The Sun provide local news in the market.
I consider myself fortunate to find a full-time job with benefits with an excellent newspaper that has a serious commitment to business journalism. The Report On Business has about three dozen reporters; the day I interviewed, it was 20 broadsheet pages. All told, the Globe and Mail has more than 300 newsroom employees and circulates about 330,000 copies a day.
My first day will be Nov. 2.
I believed from the beginning that I would face the choice of leaving journalism or leaving Denver, and thought it more likely I’d leave journalism. I had prepared myself for that possibility, and am somewhat shocked to be heading right back into the newspaper business.
It was not our goal or preference to leave Denver, and we will miss all the wonderful people we’ve met in the last eight years. We will keep in touch.
Several of the more prominent backers of the ill-fated InDenver Times have stepped forward with a new, more streamlined approach: The Rocky Mountain Independent. Designed as a “daily online news magazine,” the Rocky Mountain Independent is backed by former Rocky Mountain News journalists, including Steve Foster, Cindy House, David Milstead and John B. Moore. Michael Roberts at Westword has the details (and so does Ed Sealover at the Denver Business Journal).
Today marks what would have been the 150th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain News.
The former Rocky Mountain News reporters and editors behind IWantMyRocky announced today they will launch INDenverTimes.com, a subscription-based, online news service:
INDenverTimes is an effort to reinvent the newspaper for the Internet age, featuring many of the reporters, editors, designers and other journalists that the Denver community has come to depend on for coverage of local and national news, sports and the arts. News will be free, but the subscription will invite readers inside the newsroom as never before through news analysis, insight, online chats and other features.
Former Rocky staff involved in effort so far: Sam Adams, Tom Auclair, Lisa Bornstein, Mark Brown, Tim Burroughs, Mary Chandler, Mark Christopher, Kevin Flynn, Tillie Fong, Steve Foster, Scott Gilbert, Chuck Hickey, Cindy House, Kevin Huhn, Kim Humphreys, Jay Lee, Aaron Lopez, Gary Massaro, David Milstead, John Moore, Alex Neth, Melissa Pomponio, Bill Scanlon, Hank Schultz, Marc Shulgold, Ed Stein, George Tanner, Chris Tomasson, Bob Willis and Mark Wolf.
The former Rocky Mountain News reporters and editors behind IWantMyRocky.com have announced an 11 am news conference this morning to disclose what is presumed to be a paid online newspaper model.
The consortium of former Rocky Mountain News writers that has formed I Want My Rocky will unveil their long-term plans tomorrow. Check it out (but wait until tomorrow).
Family and friends of former Rocky Mountain News reporter James B. Meadow have scheduled a memorial to “tell stories, laugh and cry and rejoice in his life well lived.” The details are:
A Celebration of James’ Life
Saturday, March 14, at 11 a.m.
Colfax Events Center
1477 Columbine Street
Denver, CO 80206
Additionally, friends have established the James B. Meadow Tribute Fund at 1st Bank of Cherry Creek to help the Meadow family with expenses during this difficult time. All 1st Bank locations are able to accept your donations if you stop by or you may mail a check to:
1st Bank of Cherry Creek
P.O. Box 461050
Denver, CO 80246
Rumors are that the Fort Collins Coloradoan has agreed to outsource its printing operations to the Denver Newspaper Agency, a move that helps the DNA fill the printing void left by the Rocky Mountain News and puts up to 50 Fort Collins jobs at risk.
Bill Husted and Penny Parker are quickly becoming the Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez of the Denver Post. He hates her. And she hates him. But they’ve agreed to pretend to be civil and “respect each other out of a ruined friendship.” Here’s betting one of them is gone in 12 months. Not surprisingly, it is Michael Roberts at Westword who has the details.
Sadly, former Rocky Mountain News reporter James B. Meadow passed away this evening. His family issued the following statement:
Dear family and friends:
It is with great sadness that we inform you of James’ passing earlier this evening. James’ condition deteriorated rapidly this afternoon and a follow-up CT scan revealed there was no brain activity.
We are humbled by your thoughts and prayers these past few days. Your outpouring of love and kindness has kept us strong during this difficult time.
We will be sending along more information as arrangements are made.
Julie and the Meadow family
Former Rocky Mountain News reporter James B. Meadow was involved in a nasty bike accident yesterday and has been hospitalized with serious injuries. Ping Brad Bawmann of the Bawmann Group if you want more details.
UPDATE 2: James’ family has set up a Facebook page to offer updates on his condition: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=54935367583&ref=mf
UPDATE 1: Here’s the email Brad sent to friends and colleagues:
At this hour, the life of my friend James B. Meadow hangs in the balance.
Please join with me in praying for his miraculous recovery. The world will be less without his friendship, masterful musings and poignant prose about life as we know it and life as we might not have imagined it.
You may know James as an astounding writer for the now defunct Rocky Mountain News. For more than 25 years he has regaled the community with his superb story telling and provocative profiles. Unlike the modern version of junk-food journalism, James writes with the eloquence of five-star dining dazzling our palates and tempting our taste buds for more, more, more.
Early Friday afternoon, James crashed during a bicycle jaunt at Chattfield Reservoir. I suspect he was celebrating the completion of his hardscrabble work for renowned photographer John Fielder and their upcoming book about Colorado’s ranching royalty. Continue reading “Former Rocky Reporter Meadow Hospitalized”
Millionaire software entrepreneur turned U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who perhaps still hasn’t quite grasped the idea that he represents constituents, has offered an apology for his gleeful comments about the death of the Rocky Mountain News.
(Hat Tip: Michael Roberts at Westword)
A tremendous behind-the-scenes look at how Scripps’ decision to close the Rocky Mountain News played out in the newsroom.
A profoundly sad day for Colorado – Friday will be the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Here’s the coverage:
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS
• Rocky Mountain News to close, publish final edition Friday
• The Rocky tick-tock of the internal announcement
• Scripps press release announcing the news
• Video of the Scripps CEO announcing the news to staffers
• Recession forced closure, Boehne says
• Friday last day for the Rocky Mountain News
• Through the years: A gallery of the Rocky
• Q&A on the closure of the Rocky Mountain News
• Ritter: Newspaper’s closure ‘sad’
• MediaNews statement on Rocky Mountain News
DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL
• Rocky Mountain News to shut down Friday
• Reaction to the Rocky shutdown
• Post to stand pat on ad rates despite Rocky closure
• Denver Newspaper Agency renegotiating $150M loan
• Singleton, MediaNews seen as potential buyer for San Francisco daily
EDITOR & PUBLISHER
• Rocky Mountain News to close after Friday edition
I WANT MY ROCKY BLOG
• Rocky will publish last paper Friday
“Boston Celtics players boarding their bus Monday at The Ritz-Carlton Denver on their way to face (and beat) the Nuggets.”
David Milstead at the Rocky Mountain News reports that unions representing employees at the Denver Newspaper Agency have reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit cuts that average 11.7 percent. According to Milstead, “Today’s tentative agreement includes salary reductions averaging 7 percent, 10 unpaid days off for most workers, the suspension of the 401(k) match, cuts in sick days and mileage reimbursements, and increases in health and dental premiums.” Layoffs are still a possibility if the agreement doesn’t yield the $18 million in concessions the DNA was seeking.
Michael Roberts at Westword has multiple sources telling him that the Denver Post has begun the process of cherry-picking Rocky Mountain News talent.
The most interesting predictions often are the ones that have a 2 percent chance of coming true. So in that spirit, let me offer this prediction: Scripps has analyzed the numbers and realized that it can outlast MediaNews Group if it is willing to suffer another tough six months. MediaNews Group will be forced to fold the Denver Post by summer, and the Rocky Mountain News will survive as the only major daily in Denver.
Will that prediction come true? Probably not. But if the economics of being the only newspaper in town work for MediaNews Group, they should also work for Scripps. And Scripps seems much better positioned financially to ride out a tough six months than MediaNews Group. We are just two days away from mid-February, which is a full month after Scripps initially implied a decision would be made about shutting down the Rocky, and there still has been no word on its fate.
It is hard to figure out which is in worse financial shape: the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News or the Denver Newspaper Agency. Post publisher MediaNews Group often seems to be teetering on the brink of missing its debt payments, the Rocky is almost certain to be shut down, and now Jeff Smith at the Rocky reports that the DNA needs to cut about $35 million through union concessions, roughly double what had been reported previously.
Metzger Associates has hired Lisa Greim as senior account executive. Greim formerly was a technology reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and a public relations consultant for the Fresh Ideas Group.
Adding insult to injury, the Denver Newspaper Agency appears to be among those who have written off any future for the Rocky Mountain News. David “Screw a Job with the Post. If I’m Going Down, I’m Going Down with Style” Milstead has the details on a letter to advertisers that has been prepared by the DNA.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the fate of the Rocky Mountain News could be decided within the next week.
The Rocky Mountain News candlelight march to show support for the newspaper is tonight at 6 p.m. The march will begin at the Denver Press Club on Glenarm Place and end at the Denver Newspaper Building on West Colfax Ave. Details are here.
And now it gets interesting.
David Milstead at the Rocky Mountain News reports today that his paper’s parent company Scripps has accused The Denver Post and its publisher MediaNews Group of improperly borrowing “$13 million from their jointly owned operating agency to cover The Post’s newsroom payroll.” Rumors of MediaNews Group’s financial shaky footing have been around for months, and Scripps alleges MediaNews was forced to resort to the improper “loan” after the JOA’s banks tightened credit.
So now we know why Scripps has been silent since it announced its mid-January deadline for finding a buyer for the Rocky or shutting it down. And we also know why MediaNews Goup’s Dean Singleton has been so desperate in his efforts to ensure that the Rocky disappears. If the Rocky were to find a buyer, it might not be long before the Denver Post went under.
Update: Michael Roberts at Westword also blogged about Milstead’s article. Definitely worth reading.
The news about the Rocky Mountain News is that there is no news. Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal reports that Scripps “is maintaining its silence on its plans for the money-losing Denver daily — or if there’s an offer on the table for the newspaper.”
By Jon Pushkin, APR and Gina Seamans, APR
The news about the News hit Denver’s PR community like a bombshell. Partly that’s because we spend a good deal of our time building relationships with members of the media. We get to know them as people and in many case we build friendships that go well beyond the newsroom.
So when the finality of the announcement that the News was on life support was delivered to employees matter-of-factly by the corporate decision makers in the Scripps company, we felt their pain as though it was our own.
We also had another eye-opening realization that was even more sobering. That is that newspapers and the journalists who work for them are disposable. It is one thing to make a business decision to sell or close a company that is not profitable. But in this case, the surprising thing is what the people making this decision failed to see: the value in the brand is worth more than the money they will save by closing the Rocky.
The equity in a 150-year-old brand like the Rocky Mountain News is priceless. Maybe you tweak the business model or make some significant changes, but you don’t just discard it. The intellectual capital represented by the talented journalists who work at the News is another valuable asset that the owners fail to appreciate. Rather than asking for options or even concessions, the owners are content to dispose of that asset as well.
A free and vibrant press is a core pillar of public relations. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Code of Ethics states that “protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.” Healthy communities and democratic societies depend on the free flow of information to help the public make informed decisions about important issues. The troubling trend toward eliminating newspapers and treating journalists as expendable will have a serious long-term impact on the health of our communities.
Blogs and social media and word of mouth are important sources of information but they are no substitute for professional news organizations. They usually have a particular perspective and they generally do not cover stories in the same in-depth way that a reporter would. In many cases, the people who provide the news through those channels are not professional journalists. They are not Clark Kent or Lois Lane or Damon Runyon or Jimmy Breslin or Thomas Friedman. They are just people with opinions who like to express them in public forums with other people who share those same interests. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is not news. Too often it is just noise.
PRSA Colorado believes that the loss of the News would be devastating to our city’s culture and reputation. We call on the decision makers at Scripps to exhaust every potential buyer and to consider other creative options before they close the paper. We offer our assistance to help them explore these options and research reasonable alternatives. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at the News and encourage them to keep the faith.
Disposing of a priceless brand and a valuable asset is not good business. It is just bad PR.
Jon Pushkin is president of Pushkin Public Relations and a past president of the Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Gina Seamans is a senior counselor at JohnstonWells and president of the Colorado chapter of PRSA.
Rocky Mountain News staff members are planning a candlelight march on Thursday, January 29, to show support for the newspaper. Organizers hope to have 150 participants, “each holding a candle and placard representing one year of the newspaper’s 150-year history.” The march will begin at 6 p.m. at the Denver Press Club on Glenarm Place and end at the Denver Newspaper Building on West Colfax Ave. Details are here.
Andrew Hudson is out this week with a not-so-modest proposal to enact a Newspaper Tax to “to subsidize the operations of statewide and local newspapers.” To Andrew, propping up newspapers that are important to communities is no different than subsidies that have propped up Denver’s symphony, opera, public transportation system and NFL team. To get the dissenting opinion, check out the blog post from GBSM’s Steve Silvers, who argues that “the potential closing of the Rocky Mountain News represents the market-driven loss of a delivery product, not the wholesale elimination of news and journalism.”
With “mid-January” officially upon us, Scripps officials said attempts to sell the Rocky Mountain News could extend into next week or even next month as “there’s no specific timetable” for evaluating bids. David Milstead and Jeff Smith at the Rocky have the details.
By my reckoning, tomorrow is officially “mid-January,” and still no word on the fate of the Rocky Mountain News. For the record, I Want My Rocky.
It’s a Jason Salzman column that examines 1) whether the federal government could – because of the JOA – intervene in Scripps’ decision to quickly unload or shut down the Rocky Mountain News and 2) whether the local papers have ignored this angle because it isn’t in the interest of their publishers. Bottom line: Rocky publisher John Temple’s explanation for spiking the column is weak.
Mid-January is shaping up to be a pivotal time in the history of Denver newspapers. Scripps will decide whether to shut down the Rocky Mountain News, and the Denver Newspaper Agency has issued an ultimatum to six unions to agree to $20 million in wage and benefit concessions by Jan. 16 or … (insert evil Dean Singleton laugh here)… “face even worse consequences.”
I (and many others) have advocated for several years that print reporters should be laying the groundwork to go independent if necessary. Om Malik and Tom Foremski have proven that there is a marketplace for niche expertise, and, to her credit, Penny Parker seems to be preparing for just that kind of move. She has started promoting her “On The Town” blog heavily this week, and you can expect her to continue it as an independent effort should the Rocky shut down next month.
In an effort to save the Rocky Mountain News, staffers have joined together to start the Web site I Want My Rocky, which encourages readers to write letters to the Scripps board, the DOJ, and Colorado’s Congressional delegation.
The Rocky Mountain News announced the winners of its annual staff awards, just in time for the journalists to add them to their resumes:
- Best Reporter – Sara Burnett
- Best Writer – Kevin Vaughan
- Best Copy Editor – Scott Gilbert
- Best Artist – Charles Chamberlin
- Best Designer – Steve Miller
- Best Photographer – Ellen Jaskol
- Best Web Producer – Amy Burke
- Unsung Hero – Lizzy McCormick
- Best YourHub Journalist – Charmaine Robledo
- Best YourHub Assistant – Kristin Morin
- Best Newsroom Contributor – Kathy Potter
- Editor’s Award – Joe Mahoney
A day after Moody’s downgraded MediaNews Group, citing its “substantial”risk of default, CEO Dean Singleton today asked unions representing the Denver Post and the Denver Newspaper Agency to “reopen their labor contracts immediately” in an effort to cut costs by $20 million. Jeff Smith at the Rocky Mountain News reported that Singleton would seek concessions of $2 million from the Post and $18 million from newspaper agency.
And that wasn’t the only bad news for MediaNews Group today. The Wall Street Journal reported that the MediaNews Group-owned Detroit News has joined the Gannett-owned Detroit Free Press in considering cutting home delivery of the papers to three days per week. The remaining four days would be available only via newsstands.
Michael Roberts at Westword looks beyond all the posturing and spin and finds that the economy and Denver Post Publisher Dean Singleton are conspiring to kill the Rocky Mountain News.
As if the staff at the Rocky Mountain News hasn’t already suffered enough indignity, it appears their best chance at a white-knight buyer could be Shawn White Wolf, who is either a Montana entrepreneur or a gold-medal-winning snowboarder. Either way, Michael Roberts at Westword is less than impressed, and has decided to make his own bid.
It is day two of the news that the Rocky Mountain News is for sale and will be shut down in January if no buyer is found. Among the coverage today:
- Rocky editor John Temple makes the case that support for the paper is strong enough to lure a buyer
- Rocky business reporter Roger Fillion offers a JOA primer
- Scripps CEO Rich Boehne says “it is not a foregone conclusion that the Rocky will be shut down”
- Rocky media critic Jason Salzman is optimistic a buyer can be found and that the paper will thrive with an online-only format
Broomfield-based Vail Resorts will lay off 50 employees, eliminate 100 open positions, suspend its match of employees’ 401(k) contributions and defer merit pay increases as it deals with a significant drop in advance bookings. Joanne Kelley at the Rocky has the details.
In what might be the final nail in the coffin of the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Newspaper Guild’s Tracy Simmons tells the Denver Business Journal that the union’s contract with the Rocky would be binding on any new owner if the newspaper is sold.
“In the event of a successor or an assignee, [the contract] is binding,” Simmons said. “You get the employees, you get the contract. So our position is that absolutely, the contract goes with the employees.”
Coverage of the news that the Rocky Mountain News will be sold or shut down is significant today. Among the angles:
- Rocky editor John Temple assures readers the paper will operate normally for the “foreseeable future”
- Local flacks Sharon Linhart and Wendy Aiello share their opinions on the news
- Post publisher Dean Singleton makes it clear he doubts a buyer will appear in a memo to his employees
- Husband-and-wife Rocky reporters Roger Fillion and Joanne Kelley are among those pondering their fates
- A spokesman for billionaire Philip Anschutz says he “is not interested in this transaction but is monitoring it to see what happens.”
- Across the country, “more than 30 daily newspapers are for sale, and buyers are scarce.”
Things aren’t looking good on Colfax, if you believe the rumors (from very connected people). Word on the street is that Scripps continues to shop the Rocky Mountain News, and that it will shut it down if a buyer isn’t found by mid-January.
UPDATE: Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal has the details.
Bill and Penny are taking thinly veiled journalistic swings at one another over whether Earls restaurant will move into the Cherry Creek North space formerly occupied by Ocean.
In October, the New York Times wrote about papers leaving the Associated Press because of its high price, and today the Times covers CNN’s attempt to cobble together an alternative to AP. Approximately 30 newspaper editors from across the country will visit Atlanta this week to hear the details, but there is no word on whether John Temple and Greg Moore will be two of them.
“Retired” Rocky Mountain News media reporter Dusty Saunders is getting more column inches than … well, name a reporter who still works there. First, Dusty names names (and salaries) on Bob Kendrick’s departure from 9News. Then, Dusty is the first to report that 9News is offering buyouts to employees older than 55 years who have 10 years or more with the station.
And if that weren’t enough, Dusty today digs into the most recent four-week rating period that were measured by “Local People Meters,” the A.C. Nielsen’s new electronic measurement technology. The results:
10 p.m. Monday-Sunday Newscasts
1. 9News/NBC – 16.8 (+0.2 from 2007)
2. CBS4 – 11.5 (-2.5 from 2007)
3. KMGH/ABC – 9.9 (-1.0 from 2007)
GBSM principal Steve Silvers is among several Denver business leaders profiled in a Rocky Mountain News piece examining how companies are reacting to the troubled economy.
The number of unemployed Coloradans “surged” in October, rising to 5.7 percent, driven in part by layoffs at companies such as ProLogis, MDC Holdings, United Launch Alliance, Janus Capital, Western Union and Sun Microsystems. Jamie Paton at the Rocky Mountain News has the details.
Roger Fillion at the Rocky reports his paper will be spared as parent company Scripps prepares to layoff 400 workers and eliminate its dividend.
And the drumbeat continues. In the latest ABC numbers issued today, the Denver Post reported a weekday circulation drop of 6.5 percent to 210,585, while the Rocky Mountain News saw its weekday circulation numbers drop 6.6 percent to 210,281. Mark Harden at the DBJ has all the details.
GBSM’s Steve Silvers shares the advice he gives to his clients with the Rocky Mountain News:
“Bad news happens with you or without you.”
What? Oh, never mind. At least it was nice to see a Rocky Mountain News screw-up that didn’t involve Twitter.
San Francisco State University estimates that 1/3 of employed Americans are in “marketing or marketing-related” jobs. And the Metro Denver Economic Development Council’s calculates that there are 1.46 million employees in the Denver metro area. Combine the two, and it means that metro Denver has nearly 500,000 people who are in marketing or marketing-related positions. A half-million. So why are the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News so indifferent about covering the business of marketing?
Check out today’s awkward “Dog The Bounty Hunter” lovefest by Bill Scanlon in the Rocky. Our favorite snippets:
“Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman … sports a look that is a cross between pirate and romance novel cover stud. A sparsely buttoned shiny black shirt allows glimpses of his pecs; he has platinum blond shoulder-length hair that never quits. He’s buff, tricked out and can look very menacing when he’s not smiling or laughing.”
From the You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up file: The Rocky Mountain News is taking a lot of heat in the journalism community for providing real-time Twitter updates from the funeral of the three-year-old who was killed last week at the Aurora Baskin Robbins. Twitter updates. From a funeral. For a three-year-old. Apparently the Twitter fever Rocky editors and reporters got during the DNC hasn’t yet faded.
Well, it’s a week after the DNC and the Rocky Mountain News is still publishing. So much for the rumors.
Denver Post editor Greg Moore issued his quarterly memo to staffers reminding them that the Rocky Mountain News is a weak, failing newspaper that would certainly go away long before anything happened to the Post:
“It seems foolish to think The Post would disappear. The Rocky Mountain News declared itself a failing newspaper in 2000, and nothing has changed.”
Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal has taken a hard look at the latest ABC audit of the circulations of the local dailies and found that the Denver Post’s numbers aren’t quite as good as it might seem. The Post actually “trails the Rocky by about 6 percent in sales of full-price weekday copies,” but has been inflating its numbers with “sales of its discounted ‘electronic edition’ as well as copies distributed to hotel guests and sales to ‘third parties.’ “
Credit Rocky Mountain News publisher John Temple for addressing the “eight-word gaffe” that caused Keith Olbermann to name the paper the “Worst Person in the World” Tuesday. The timeline of what happened is clear, but left unexplained is exactly what process exists that lets staffers rip “facts” from the Internet and package them as verified material.
Westword has the details on Keith Olbermann naming the Rocky Mountain News the “Worst Person in the World” last night.
Rocky Mountain News parent company E.W. Scripps Co. is taking a $874 million write-off “to account for the diminished value of its newspaper holdings. The write-off includes a $779 million noncash charge to reduce the value of goodwill and a $95 million reduction in the value of its investment in the Denver Newspaper Agency and Prairie Mountain Publishing.”
Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal talks to various public relations executives in town about the rumors of a Post/News consolidation, and quotes perspectives from Schenkein’s Leanna Clark, Story + Welch’s Jeremy Story, GBSM’s Steven Silvers, Linhart’s Paul Raab and Cutter Communications’ Lisa Cutter.
The Rocky Mountain News helped Chipotle celebrate its 15th anniversary this month with a lengthy feature article Saturday. Everyone outside of Denver thinks of Chipotle as an overnight success, but we know better.
The Denver Post’s and Rocky Mountain News’ latest earnings report isn’t going to quell rumors that one of them will acquire the other and convert it to an online-only offering soon. The papers saw their Q2 earnings drop 78 percent –- from $6 million to $1.3 million — in Q2 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. A “slumping advertising market” is to blame, according to the Denver Business Journal, which also calculated that the two papers lost money during the quarter.
Rocky Mountain News owner E.W. Scripps Co. had its credit rating slashed from A to BB+ following its decision to spin out its cable and interactive properties.
Roger Fillion at the Rocky reports that Flying Dog Brewery officially will relocate its headquarters to Maryland (where it opened a state-of-the-art brewery in 2006), but that its CEO, CFO and marketing department will remain in Denver.
David Milstead, the smartest financial beat writer in town and someone who has skin in the game, acknowledges that Denver can’t support two newspapers and that Scripps and MediaNews Group need to start deciding what the staff of a combined, single newspaper/online property will look like.
Rocky Mountain News parent company E.W. Scripps Co. officially separated into two companies: a “struggling” one holding its newspaper properties and a “more successful” one for its cable TV and online holdings. The rumor going around town all spring and summer has been that the Rocky will drop the printing presses and transition to a Web-only product following the DNC in August, but we bet that instead it will do what the Denver Post is doing –– slowly eliminating pages until the print product essentially serves only as an advertising vehicle to get people to the Web site.
Rocky Mountain News financial columnist David Milstead turns his spotlight on Denver’s dailies, and it isn’t pretty.
Local abortion opponents have been hammering Weitz Construction for months now for their deal to build Planned Parenthood’s new Denver facility, so much so that the company retained Peter Webb PR to handle the crisis communications.
Today was a good politics day for the Rocky Mountain News, as third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader chooses an interview with the paper to unleash his accusations that Barack Obama is “talking white” on the campaign trail.
How sad that it is news when one of the local newspapers hires someone. Westword has the details. Now the big question: What the hell was Wes Pope thinking?
If you have a few spare antidepressants sitting around (and if you are in PR you probably do), you may want to offer them to Penny Parker, Bill Husted and Wendy Aiello. The number of official DNC soirees has been cut 96 percent.
Grand Hyatt Denver Public Relations Director Maryann Yuthas gets her 15 minutes of fame. Ahhh, the glamorous life of a public relations executive.
In the face of declining print readership, both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News have touted the increase in online traffic their Web sites have been receiving. But Westword has dug a little deeper and found that most of their online readers are from out of state, which is a much less appealing audience for local advertisers.
Rocky Mountain News media critic Dave Kopel takes Westword to task for its “snarky” articles.
It has been a busy week for Scripps, parent company of the Rocky Mountain News. Last Friday, the company announced that its board of directors had approved a plan to spin off its newspaper properties into a separate company. Now, rumors are swirling around town that Scripps has made an offer to purchase MediaNews Group, publisher of the Denver Post and 56 other newspapers across the country.
Having trouble figuring out who to pitch at the Rocky Mountain News? You are not alone. Religion reporters covering Rocky Flats. Entertainment reporters covering politics. Sadly, staff cuts have turned specialists into generalists.
Denver-based MediaNews Group, owner of the Denver Post and approximately 60 other newspapers nationwide, will outsource customer service calls to the Philippines for three of its California papers. Denver Post customer care services currently are provided by Denver employees of the Denver Newspaper Agency (DNA), the joint venture between MediaNews and Rocky owner Scripps. But if the trial is successful, expect MediaNews to put pressure on the DNA to outsource its customer service.
The news for the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News keeps getting worse. The combined Post/News Sunday edition posted a 14.79 percent decline in circulation from last year, according to the Audit of Bureau Circulations (ABC). The drop (from 704,169 to 600,026) was the largest among the top 25 papers in the U.S.
Colfax and Broadway was abuzz this afternoon as the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced. While the Denver Post was shut out, the Rocky Mountain News learned that reporter Kevin Vaughan was a finalist for his series titled, “The Crossing.” And incoming Rocky photographer Preston Gannaway won “on her first day as a Rocky Mountain News photographer” for her work at her previous newspaper, the Concord Monitor.
Sigh. Penny Parker’s sighting today: Broncos cornerback Dre Bly at ESPN Zone. Once again, any Denver athlete seen at Denver’s ESPN Zone is lame.
Our sympathies to Andrew Hudson and the entire Hudson family. Andrew’s mother, Julie, passed away yesterday. Penny Parker at the Rocky has the details.
If you had Randy Holtz, Travis Henry and Ryan Stark in the “Who’ll Leave the Rocky Next” pool, it’s time to collect.