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Rocky Mountain News scribes get self-reflective

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Business writer David Milstead and sports columnist Dave Krieger (pictured) are two of the genuine standouts on the Rocky Mountain News staff -- and in the past day or so, both have penned articles that consider the plight of their paper, which was put up for sale by parent company E.W. Scripps last month.

The January 22 offering "Newspaper Joint Operating Agreements Are Fading," which Milstead cowrote with Jeff Smith, catalogs JOA troubles in Seattle, Tucson and Detroit that echo the situation in Denver. The authors acknowledge the influence of an analysis by the Poynter Institute's Rick Edmonds (see the January 15 blog "Do Troubles at the Denver Dailies Mark the Death of Newspaper Joint-Operating Agreements?" to learn more about his original column). Indeed, they quote Edmonds directly. But they also expand on his thesis -- and the mere fact that their work appears in the Rocky increases its resonance.

As for Krieger, who was profiled in "Crusade," a 2007 Message column, his latest effort, "In Sports and Newspapers, No Such Thing as Giving Up," notes an essential irony at the heart of current newspaper struggles: More people are reading Rocky sportswriting than ever before, and yet the paper itself is in fiscal crisis. He also points out that if the Rocky goes under, readers shouldn't count on getting many competing views, since other news organizations are feeling the monetary pinch already and citizen journalists don't have anything like the access that Krieger colleagues such as Jeff Legwold boast.

Coincidentally, Milstead and Krieger were mentioned in a recent sidebar to our Rocky-sale feature linked above; it highlighted the five Rocky staffers the Denver Post should consider grabbing first in the event that Scripps can't find a buyer. Their latest efforts only reinforce that view.

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