The 2006 Message column "She's Back" begins like so: "There was never any danger of the Rocky Mountain News underplaying the August 16 arrest of alleged child-porn fan John Mark Karr in the 1996 slaying of JonBenét Ramsey. After all, the paper's previous coverage of this tragic episode had exhibited all the quiet subtlety of Celine Dion at a wineglass-shattering contest." Later, the piece quoted from a now-irony-laden Rocky editorial that saw Karr's arrest as evidence that the paper had been wise not to rush to judgment in the case despite ridicule from the likes of KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles, who dubbed the tabloid the "Ramsey Mountain News" for what he saw as excessive deference to JonBenét's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey.
Given this background, "Boulder Police Take Back Ramsey Case," a story on the Rocky's website, and "Ramsey Inquiry Goes Back to Boulder Police," which appears in today's physical edition, qualify as surprises -- not in terms of content, but because of their origins. The former is credited to the Associated Press, while the latter bears the byline of Vanessa Miller, a staffer with the Boulder Daily Camera. In other words, a significant development took place in the Ramsey matter and the Rocky didn't publish a report by one of its own staffers about it.
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This decision, in all likelihood, was based solely on economics: Since the Rocky has access to material from the AP and the Camera, its sister paper, editors chose to apply their shrinking resources in different ways. It makes perfect sense, and yet it's also an indication of how tight the budget belt is now cinched. A few years ago, the Rocky would have blanketed the Boulder news conference at which the handover from the Boulder DA's office to the city's police force was announced -- but not now. The Rocky Mountain News is still operational, but the "Ramsey Mountain News" has shut its doors.