Next month will be the tenth anniversary of when I started publishing a weekly column in the Rocky Mountain News. This afternoon Scripps Howard announced that the RMN, which is Colorado’s oldest continuously operating business (150 years), will publish its last edition tomorrow. People had been expecting this since December, when Scripps announced it was looking for a buyer for the paper, which is part of a joint operating agreement with the Denver Post. Not surprisingly, none was forthcoming. The Post, which is also losing money, will continue to operate, at least for now, and being the only paper in town will probably buy it a few more years.
But it’s obvious that the end of the American newspaper in anything like its traditional form is in sight. For example the Sunday New York Times (which is the only aspect of the NYT print operation that still makes money) must be half the size it was three years ago, and many local papers have divested themselves of any independently generated content at all.
For me this is a minor economic inconvenience, although I’m finding myself a lot more affected by it psychologically than I was expecting to be. For a lot of people I know it’s a devastating blow in every sense.
And it’s a typical irony of the age that I discovered the news about my paper’s demise on an internet message board.