Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: Pressing engagements at the Stock Show

"Want to be smarter? Subscribe to the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post and read them for a half-hour each morning."

We were on our annual rounds of the Hall of Education at the Stock Show, and stopping by the Denver Newspaper Agency booth to see what shwag the DNA is offering subscribers is always a highlight. Umbrellas, binoculars, bath salts (!), cowboy hats, baseball caps, sure -- but brains? "Um, we may not be smart, but isn't it possible that the Rocky Mountain News is going to disappear?," we asked.

"Oh, that's not possible," the DNA rep responded, reeling off stats about how a company isn't going to let $40 million in subscription revenues and a 107-year-old business just disappear.

We may not be smart, but we were definitely getting smarty-pants. "Um, isn't that a 150-year-old business? And what about the DNA's 130 million debt?"

A mere cowpie in the path to prosperity.  Someone will pick up the News, he assured us -- maybe in a fire sale after the deadline for bids -- which, even as we were asking about subscription refunds should the paper disappear, News owner Scripps was announcing was end of day Friday, January 16. That also happens to be the day that Post owner Dean Singleton will be looking for $20 million in cuts and concessions -- $2 million from the Post, $18 million from the DNA -- and the colliding deadlines has given rise to the theory that maybe the Post will go down and the News will be the surviving paper.

But Scripps has blinked before, so I settled for resubscribing to the Post -- probably guaranteeing the News's survival in the process. I also netted a nice thermal blanket featuring the News and Post logos, which could represent their last joint-operating agreement.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun