The Times, They Have A-Changed

Traditional daily newspapers are shrinking fast. The comparatively featherweight May 15 editions of the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post demonstrate why both papers are desperately trying to reduce staff through attrition and assorted buyout offers. Yet less than seven years ago, such a downturn was all but unthinkable to Al Lewis (pictured), currently the Post's business columnist.

An astute reader stumbled upon a November 2000 Message column that dealt with what was then a rising demand for business reporters. At the time, Lewis edited the Post's business section, and he was churning through scribes fast due to raids by assorted Internet-fueled publications or websites. However, he felt that print had an important advantage over such new-economy gigs.

"Working at a newspaper is almost a recession-proof job," he said. "The Post will be here no matter what happens to the economy -- and if the economy goes south, we'll have people to write about it. I don't know if you can say the same about some of these broadband businesses or Internet publications."

Oh, for the days when such a statement seemed to make sense... -- Michael Roberts

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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