The Rocky Mountain News has invested an enormous amount of time and resources in "Beyond the Boom." The four-day series, which debuted on December 10, is an ambitious attempt to grapple with the impact of the current uptick in energy-related projects on the state, complete with special, ad-free sections designed with journalism contests in mind. But given what 9News is referring to as the "Religious Shootings," not to mention the hefty weather system that overwhelmed the metro area on December 11, few folks have noticed.
Rocky types would have had a tough sell under the best circumstances. Energy is an undeniably important issue, but also a sprawling and diffuse one that lacks a central focus. During the first two days of the series, designers have attempted to lure in readers with lotsa photos played huge, and the web treatment also emphasizes some fine imagery. Reporters such as Todd Hartman, Gargi Chakrabarty, Burt Hubbard and Laura Frank are also working hard to spice up the subject matter -- but the strain shows. Some of the segments, including Hubbard's piece revealing how a property tax credit given to energy companies depletes the state's oil and gas industry profits, represent solid reporting filled with telling details. Nonetheless, much of the material remains mighty dry, especially in comparison with a significant snowstorm or the story of a crazed assassin who quoted a Columbine killer's manifesto before meeting his match in a security guard who says her weapon was held in God's hand.
In life, timing is everything -- and unfortunately for the Rocky, "Boom" is going off during the wrong week. -- Michael Roberts
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.