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Checking in on the Rocky Mountain Independent

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Today marks seven weeks since the launch of the Rocky Mountain Independent, a news website peopled mainly by Rocky Mountain News veterans who'd previously been involved with INDenver Times, an ambitious attempt to create an online news service that fell far short of initial subscriber targets. Whether by choice or happenstance, RMI has kept a low profile since then, but it continues to produce new material on a regular basis. But because the site, like INDenver Times, also boasts a subscriber component, only some of it is accessible to the average web surfer.

Example: Anyone can take a look at a Kevin Flynn article about the five worst bridges in Denver -- a strong, newsworthy story accompanied by a slideshow whose main drawback is a lack of captions. In contrast, a Cindy House piece about "upside-down lightning caught on video" can't be viewed unless a visitor is logged in -- and while membership is $4 per month and just $24 per year, that's still more than most people are likely to pay, especially given that footage of a man surviving a brush with a vicious lightning bolt is just a trip to YouTube away.

Credit the RMI crew for continuing to fight the good fight. After all, INDenver Times, while still online, is limping along by borrowing headlines from many other sources; at this writing, for instance, the main offering concerns a beam that had become a 911 memorial returning to the World Trade Center site -- a report that doesn't exactly scream "local content." At this point, though, the Independent's battle for survival remains uphill. But perhaps lightning will strike.

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.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.