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