Rumors are rife at the Rocky Mountain News that representatives from E.W. Scripps, the tabloid's owner, will come to Denver this week to announce that a buyer for the paper has not been found. Why? Scripps CEO Rich Boehne told Westword and other news agencies that his firm would consider its options, including a possible closure of the paper, if a deal to sell the Rocky wasn't in place by the middle of January -- and Friday represents that midpoint.
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During a January 7 interview for a blog about a column by media critic Jason Salzman that ran on his own website after his editors spiked it, Rocky editor/publisher/president John Temple acknowledged hearing this buzz -- but he insisted that he had no further information about the possibility of an impending Scripps drop-by. "I don't know why anybody would say or believe that other than that they said they would speak about the issue again in the middle of January -- and that's a pretty vague time period," Temple pointed out. He added, "I personally have no knowledge of any planned visit or return by Scripps executives" -- a point he reiterated at a newsroom meeting the following day, as noted in Patricia Calhoun's Wake-Up Call blog this morning.
Temple's reassurances have in no way eased the anxiety in the Rocky newsroom. Each day that passes without word of rescue by a newspaper angel ratchets up the tension. That Rocky scribes have been doing such a solid job during the past several weeks despite these concerns is a tribute to the professionalism of all involved. -- Michael Roberts