Wake-Up Call: After a hundred years, the News goes fast

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When the official news came down at noon yesterday that today would be the last day for the Rocky Mountain News, I was at a Colorado Press Association luncheon -- in a painful bit of timing, the state's newspapers are holding their annual convention in Denver this week -- at the governor's mansion. And the first question to Bill Ritter was about the end of the state's oldest newspaper.

"It's a very, very sad day," he said. "We're losing a Colorado icon. We're losing a newspaper that helped create history." While he may disagree with editors, Ritter continued, "the First Amendment is at the heart of what makes us strong."

Although Ritter's talk had focused on helping the state's economy, he declined to suggest how the newspaper industry might be saved. "I would be presumptuous to offer advice," he told the assembled publishers and editors, "although you offer advice to me every day."

The governor is no fan of the blogosphere, with its anonymous snipers, and lamented the rapid shrinking of the Colorado Capitol press corps, which delivers real reporting on the workings of the government to papers across the state.

"I hope that my children find a way to get the news," he said.

Probably not -- but it's hard to disagree with the sentiment.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.