Penny Parker, other Rocky Mountain News survivors: What did they do after love was gone?

It's been four years since the Rocky Mountain News closed just shy of its 150th birthday. What's happened to folks at the paper since then, and where are they now? That's the subject of "After the Love Is Gone -- Following the Rocky Road," a discussion today featuring the likes of longtime columnist Penny Parker and moderated by Andrew Hudson, who still sees shutdown ripple effects.

"Clearly, the sheer amount of content has declined dramatically, based on a lack of resources that the Denver Post has at this moment in time," says Hudson, who went from being the spokesman for Mayor Wellington Webb to running the successful website "We'll look at what that's meant in terms of covering government and other issues around the state."

The Public Relations Society of America luncheon and event takes place at noon today at the Four Seasons (click here for ticket information and more details). Joining Parker, who continues to write about celebrity and entertainment news at, will be sports journalist Sam Adams, who is now concentrating on a stand-up comedy career; business journalist David Milstead, who currently plies his trade for The Globe and Mail, among Canada's most prestigious newspapers; and onetime reporter and editor Chris Walsh, who currently edits a publication called the Medical Marijuana Business Daily. "We'll be talking about what they did in terms of transitioning their careers or their jobs," Hudson notes. "And that's relevant not only to people in the newspaper industry, but people in any industry that's been decimated for whatever reason -- showing how people recover and transition."

Hudson doesn't expect the conversation to deteriorate into a Denver Post-bashing session. "To the Post's credit, when big stories break, they certainly step up to the plate," he allows. "Think about last summer, with the Aurora shooting and the fires and the elections. There's a lot of stuff to cover, and I think they do an admirable job of what they do best in terms of day-to-day coverage. But are there things being missed as a result of this being a one-newspaper town where there is no competition between newspapers. It's an opinion, but I think yes. City Hall isn't covered as much as it used to be, and we've certainly seen a lot of what would be considered big stories relegated to little two paragraph briefs. And the business section isn't a section anymore; it's just a couple of pages in the newspaper. So I don't think local issues are covered as in-depth as they once were."

The shrinking number of journalists at old-school media outlets, and the growing number of non-traditional ones, has also impacted people in the public-relations field, Hudson points out. "When I was working with the mayor, I can't imagine playing whack-a-mole with the blogs every day," he concedes. "And today, it's so difficult to get coverage. Most PR people will tell you that public relations is a quasi-marketing role now. It's not about holding press conferences, but about how many Facebook friends you can get."

Today's event gets underway at 11:30 a.m. with registration and networking, followed by the luncheon and discussion from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons, 1111 14th Street.

More from our Media archive: "Highlights from the goodbye-to-the-Rocky Mountain News press conference."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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