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The Name Game

The "Denver" is gone from the Rocky Mountain News. What's next?

Of course, none of that is written in stone -- and neither was the "Denver" part of the "Rocky Mountain News" appellation, which is why the sign in front of News HQ doesn't need modification. In rationalizing the revising of a handle that had worked pretty well since the paper's 1859 birth, Temple, in an October 23, 1998, editor's note, surmised that News founder William Byers had left "Denver" out of the name because back then the city "didn't mean much to anybody." Yet the real reason for the change was the circulation war between the News and the Post: Execs hoped that the "Denver" insertion would help the News compete more effectively with the Post for national advertising dollars as well as underline distribution cutbacks in outlying regions. Like most of the News's strategies, however, it backfired, failing to bring in more ad dollars from afar even as it was ignored by locals. "No one got used to calling it the Denver Rocky Mountain News," Horton conceded at the press conference, "and it was almost never referred to that way in the media" -- this column included.

So the News went back to the future, just as the Post did on Tuesday by resurrecting "There is no hope for the satisfied man" and "'Tis a privilege to live in Colorado," two vintage slogans cooked up by the publication's creator, F.G. Bonfils; these maxims appear on the Post's editorial page and weather page, respectively. Still, the timing for the News was considerably more humiliating, and Temple's attempt to put the best face on it felt plenty forced. In his crow-eating January 22 editor's note, he wrote that, in light of the JOA, "I thought it only fitting to resume the mantle of the great name Byers chose as he raced to print his first edition." But to his credit, he also acknowledged that, in retrospect, the name change had been a mistake, and he apologized for taking so long to admit it.

Will a similar confession about the JOA as a whole be forthcoming? Check back in a couple of years.

Headline of the week: An article in the January 19-21 edition of the Colorado Daily was teased with "Vagina Chronicles set to open on Main Stage: Theater project delves into sensitive areas and probes women's issues."

Sounds like a trip to the gynecologist's office. Nurse, where's my speculum?

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