So... you thought you could pick up a daily newspaper in Denver and not see a Colorado Rockies story on the cover? Think again. On October 30, two days after the Rockies were bested in the World Series by the Boston Red Sox, the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post again published special World Series sections -- this time focusing on the happier moments from the season rather than its heartbreaking conclusion.
Why? No doubt commerce had a lot to do with it. The World Series proved a boon for the dailies, which are struggling to maintain revenues in a steadily declining national newspaper market. Betcha they planned a minimum of five bonus sections to correspond with what would have been the first two games in Boston and three potential Rockies home games, with a season-ending compendium serving as a backup plan should the team suffer a four-game sweep.
Obviously, this last option became the only viable one following the BoSox's fourth consecutive victory. As a result, the latest sections are stuffed with extremely dispensable filler, including oversized photos, pages filled with stats, paragraph-size bites about teams throughout Major League Baseball, and so on. The worst entry by far, though, is the Post's "Get Crafty With Fan Gear Before Rocktober's Up," in which the paper's food editor, Kristen Browning-Blas, who's said to be "as handy with a sewing machine as she is with a food processor," offers tips about turning commemorative fan towels into the items seen here: a messenger bag, a pillow and a purple cape.
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In a Message column that ran just as the MLB playoffs were getting underway, Rocky editor/publisher/president John Temple conceded that the sports department at his paper hasn't been cut as deeply as other divisions in the wake of buyouts, staff attrition and other belt-tightening measures, and it's obvious why not. Sports attracts the sort of readers who still pick up the physical paper, as well as those who frequent the websites of major dailies, and it also provides an excuse for profit-padding extra coverage that would be inappropriate and impractical in a news context. The dailies couldn't have made big bucks publishing, say, an advertisement-packed wrap-up of the Columbine massacre -- but they certainly can in connection with a huge variety of sports events and developments. Indeed, the October 30 papers contain a second sports special in addition to the regular one: a preview of the 2007-2008 Denver Nuggets, who begin regular-season play on October 31.
Oh yeah: the front page of the Rocky's October 30 news section featured a shot of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who almost singlehandedly defeated the Denver Broncos in a game broadcast nationally the previous night on Monday Night Football. And the main news story involved charges made against Nuggets backup J.R. Smith stemming from a recent incident at a night club.
On days like this, it seems that the dailies won't cover anyone whose job doesn't entail wearing a jersey. -- Michael Roberts