The Rocky Mountain News website is currently frozen in time. It continues to function, but the latest content involves the paper's closure last week. Flipping through its cyber-pages is akin to peeking through the windows of a restaurant shuttered by the feds: Everything remains as it was during the good times, but it's beginning to collect dust.
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Not so IWantMyRocky.com, a website created by Rocky loyalists as a side project last December. In a blog from that month, ex-Rocky scribe John Ensslin described IWantMyRocky.com as a "thirty-day project" intended to rally support for the paper among community members. But in the wake of the Rocky's demise, it's become a small-scale substitute for the fallen tabloid.
A number of Rocky regulars are continuing to cover their old beats for the site. Today, for instance, restaurant expert Lori Midson offers a review of Indochine -- it rates a B+ -- and arts writer Lisa Bornstein reports about a casting call for an MTV program called True Life. Also on board is movie critic Robert Denerstein, who took a buyout from the Rocky in 2007 -- his item about the upcoming Watchmen movie teases a full review on Friday -- as well as cartoonists Drew Litton and Ed Stein, and art and architecture critic Mary Chandler, who's the subject of an e-mail campaign by art-community members directed at Denver Post editor Greg Moore.
It'll be tough for these journalists to turn the site into a successful commercial enterprise, especially in this economy. But stranger things have happened -- and in the meantime, it allows writers to showcase their talents for potential employers even as it lets them keep in touch with their audience. As a note on the home page points out, "Colorado's oldest newspaper stopped publishing Feb. 27, 2009, but it didn't die."