This War's Over

Shake hands and come out writing.

That Scripps-Howard was tiring of the fight was apparent to Singleton long before it was to reporters at the News itself, who, when they heard a JOA announcement was imminent, simply assumed they were working for the leading paper. After all, they'd hit record circulation figures just the month before -- and corporate headquarters had encouraged them to think that their paper was the winner.

And for a day or two after the announcement, Newsemployees managed to hold their heads high. But in the weeks since, they've been leaving so fast -- and sometimes so furiously -- that management no longer orders the traditional Scripps-Howard farewell sheet cakes to see them on their way. The JOA may save the News's independent voice, but it's been sadly muted by the circumstances of the deal. A penny for your thoughts on how badly the News's penny-a-day deal backfired.

"Yet the bulk of Denver's citizens read the Post, and while many of them swore at it on occasion, they had to swear by it, insofar as news and features were concerned. Underneath all their circus-like activities, the Postowners were shrewd business men. They made sure of giving the sucker more news and more excitement and more features than it was possible for any competitor to do. That practice guaranteed circulation, and circulation guaranteed advertising." -- Timber Line

Soon that double thump will disappear forever. All too often, those dueling Sunday dailies were a lot of false advertising -- how many supermarket fliers did you have to wade through before you found a nugget of news, a snippet of stylish writing? -- but it was still a privilege to live in Colorado, and so be able to read two competing dailies. As the trend to single-newspaper towns rolled out across the country, Denver survived as a two-newspaper town much longer than anyone had a right to expect. Given economic realities -- an increasingly archaic technology competing with too many advertising alternatives -- the end had been predicted for years, even if it suddenly seemed to come overnight. And it was fun while it lasted, especially watching from the cheap -- make that free -- seats.

But over it is. Even the newspaper hawker at King Soopers seemed to recognize that on Sunday, when he offered up a free copy of the Post in exchange for buying a yearly subscription to the paper for $9, which gets you every day but Saturday.

As proposed under the JOA application, Saturday will belong to the News, which, in the ultimate humiliation, has even agreed to publish that day in a broadsheet format. The Sunday paper will be published by the Post: To the victor go the spoils.

"We believe that a dictatorship of Denver's newspaper field by the Denver Post would be nothing less than a blight." -- Scripps-Howard quoted, but not recently, in Timber Line

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