UPDATE: Do they still Want Their Rocky? Former staffers unveil venture
A group of former Rocky Mountain News staffers plan to unveil In Denver Times, a subscription news site, at 11 a.m. Monday during a press conference in Denver. On Monday morning, the site announced a pledge drive: If 50,000 readers promise to subscribe by April 23 — the day that would have been the Rocky’s 150th anniversary — “we will go live with our site to revive a tradition of distinguished reporting and editing with 21st-century electronic delivery,” according to the site.
An introductory video posted Sunday night promises investigative reporting, sports coverage, arts and entertainment reporting and criticism, and cartoons from more than 30 journalists who lost their jobs when the Rocky closed three weeks ago.
Former Rocky journalists involved in the project include arts critic Mary Chandler, sports writer Aaron Lopez and transportation reporter Kevin Flynn, who have all been posting regularly on the IWantMyRocky.com site since the Rocky printed its last edition.
The new site will have the “interactivity and the real-time, two-way relationship that a printed newspaper can never give,” Flynn says in the video.
If the site gets enough subscribers to launch next month, the news will be free to all but subscribers will have access to additional features, including columns and chat and mobile feeds, according to an announcement from local PR firm Artemis Communications.
Here’s the list of former Rocky journalists who are working on the new site:
Sam Adams, Tom Auclair, Lisa Bornstein, Mark Brown, Tim Burroughs, Mary Chandler, Mark Christopher, Kevin Flynn, Tillie Fong, Steve Foster, Scott Gilbert, Chuck Hickey, Cindy House, Kevin Huhn, Kim Humphreys, Jay Lee, Aaron Lopez, Gary Massaro, David Milstead, John Moore, Alex Neth, Melissa Pomponio, Bill Scanlon, Hank Schultz, Marc Shulgold, Ed Stein, George Tanner, Chris Tomasson, Bob Willis and Mark Wolf.
Brad Gray, Kevin Preblud and Benjamin Ray are the entrepreneurs developing the site, according to the Artemis release.
The new site is soliciting pledges for subscriptions at prices ranging from $6.99 per month for a three-month commitment to $4.99 per month for those agreeing to subscribe for a year. If the project doesn’t fly by April 23, the site says, subscribers’ credit cards won’t be charged.
One of the organizers gave some clues to the site’s business model last week. “Subscriptions seem to be part of the future models for anything you do newswise online now, for all the major media companies,” former assistant sports editor Steve Foster told Westword’s Michael Roberts “Ad revenue isn’t enough to support really vibrant journalism. This is just my opinion, but if you’re planning news coverage based on advertising revenue alone, you’re gambling.”
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