"Saving the News: Denver and the Future of Journalism," which gets underway at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, takes place just over six months after the closure of the Rocky Mountain News, and speakers include former Rocky editor, publisher and president John Temple and one of the tabloid's standout investigative reporters, Laura Frank. But Kim Humphreys, one of the get-together's organizers, and another ex-Rocky employee, emphasizes that "Saving the News" won't be yet another wake for the now-folded paper.
"This isn't an event about looking back at the Rocky Mountain News, or licking our wounds," she says. "This is an event looking at the industry as a whole. Certainly, the Rocky Mountain News has been a casualty of some of the problems in our industry -- but it's those problems writ large that we want to tackle."
According to Humphreys, who continues to be involved with IWantMyRocky.com, an address that went from a rallying place for folks interested in keeping the Rocky operational to a journalism-preservation effort affiliated with the similarly inclined SaveTheNews.org site, the gathering will allow interested parties to discuss specific topics impacting journalism in small-group settings led by "people who'll serve as discussion facilitators. When people come in, they can choose a table based on what component of the issue is most interesting to them." For instance, she says, "Public policy plays a big role in what's happening in journalism now, and we believe policy also needs to play a role in helping to stem losses in journalism, positioning the news industry to make it through this transition and come out the other side as a vibrant and productive and, if possible, profitable industry that recognizes its public-service mission.
"We don't want to sit around and try to define the problem," she adds. "I think we all understand what the problems are. We're forward-looking. We hope to come out of this event with some solid course of action."
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Denver to Debate the Future of News Next Week
DENVER -- Six months have passed since the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News published its final edition. Since then, Denver has become a testing ground for rethinking how journalism is done.
SaveTheNews.org, Free Press and IWantMyRocky.com will be hosting a policy roundtable and community forum next week in Denver to bring together concerned citizens, journalists, lawmakers and community leaders to discuss the future of news.
The event will feature a public discussion on key issues facing journalism in Denver, the role public policy should play in shaping our media, new forms of distribution and content creation, innovative business models, and the city's changing landscape for news.
What: "Saving the News: Denver and the Future of Journalism," a policy roundtable and public forum
When: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, 6:30-9:30 p.m. MT
Where: Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203
The event will feature small-group discussions, presentations from policymakers, and a roundtable discussion. Panelists will include:
Polly Baca, co-Chair of the Colorado Latino Forum and a former state senator
Laura Frank, award-winning investigative reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network
Wick Rowland, president and CEO of Colorado Public Television, KBDI-TV/12
David Sirota, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and best-selling author
John Temple, former editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News and vice president/news for E.W. Scripps Co.
Craig Aaron, senior program director, Free Press
For more information, visit www.SavetheNews.org/Denver