The months between the December announcement that the Rocky Mountain News had been put up for sale and word that it would be shutting down for good last week were filled with more surprises than press observers predicted -- and the aftermath of its shuttering hasn't been wholly predictable, either. Prime example: Instead of taking a job with former Rocky owner E.W. Scripps, which Scripps CEO Rich Boehne publicly offered last week, John Temple, the tabloid's editor, publisher and president, has decided to explore other opportunities, with possibilities ranging from journalism to teaching.
At this point, the assorted parties are saying nice things about each other, as is to be expected. Still, the decision can't help but invite speculation, particularly given current economic climate. After all, who turns down a high-dollar job these days? Then again, Temple is a lifetime newspaper man, and Scripps seems to be less interested than ever in the medium. In an interview that will appear in this space soon, former Rocky business writer David Milstead cites indications that the company is in a wind-down mode when it comes to print. While Boehne denied that in a December blog, the eagerness with which the company abandoned not only the Rocky, but also its holdings in Prairie Mountain Publishing, the corporate home of the Boulder Daily Camera and the Colorado Daily, hardly bespeaks an ongoing passion for this struggling medium.
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Maybe Temple didn't want to take a gig that might force him to oversee the closure of more newspapers. And after what he just went through with the Rocky, who can blame him?