Okay, our copies of the final Rocky Mountain News finally arrived, and I've gotten a chance to spend some time with one of them -- although not as much as I will. The wraparound section celebrating the history of the paper, which assembles material that would likely have appeared in its 150th birthday edition (it fell 55 days short of that benchmark), is rich and fascinating, with lots of colorful big play art ranging from vintage covers to shots of 2002 fires that won the Rocky won of its several Pulitzer Prizes. Also appropriate: Jim Sheeler, another Pulitzer Prize winner (for "Final Salute"), who first made his mark locally writing wonderfully evocative obituaries, offers a lovely eulogy for the paper that gave him a chance to blossom.
As a bonus, the main section of the paper is just as worthy, providing sweeping coverage of the closure that's far less sentimental than might have been expected and provides some actual news on the topic -- like, for instance, identifying Texas-based private-equity entrepreneur Brian Ferguson as the only person who seriously considered buying the paper. In this respect, the Rocky absolutely hammered the Post, whose coverage of the closure is perfectly fine, but resolutely nothing special.
The last Rocky most certainly is. It would have been a keeper under any circumstances -- but somehow, the staff managed to encapsulate all that's best about the paper in today's edition, while at the same time besting the Post in its ultimate head-to-head matchup. Congratulations. What a way to go out.
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