For weeks now, when you call the Southern News Bureau of the Rocky Mountain News, the phone just rings, and rings. No one answers for one simple reason: there is no more Southern News Bureau of the Rocky Mountain News.
Dick Foster, who for two-and-a-half decades was the one-man bureau responsible for covering the entire southern half of the state full-time, was one of 17 reporters who took a recent buyout from the Rocky.
The newspaper, like the Denver Post and so many others, is in economic rough times, faced with reinventing itself amid a rapidly changing industry. And those who are left behind face an even bigger challege: doing more – much more – with less resources.For years, Foster covered the military stronghold of Colorado Springs, and with his departure, so too goes decades of institutional and community history – expertise that cannot easily be replaced even if the newspaper were to continue to operate its southern bureau.
Foster has declined to publicly comment on his decision to take the buyout, as have many others who made the same decision.
But with his departure, and the Rocky‘s Southern News Bureau shuttered, Denver Post reporter Erin Emery, based in Colorado Springs, is left as the only scribe with a Denver newspaper left to cover, full time, the enormous swath of territory stretching from Monument Hill south to the New Mexico border, and east to Kansas.
Emery, who also declined to comment publicly on the state of affairs, now has that much more responsibility to deliver news from Colorado Springs, Pueblo and points further south.
The Rocky is not the only Denver newspaper to witness such cutbacks. Earlier this year, the Post brought reporter Electa Draper to Denver, effectively shutting down its Four Corners Bureau; the Post still has Steve Lipsher covering the Central Rockies full time, but the Rocky has not had a full-timer in the mountains for some time.
With the layoffs and buyouts of some of the most recognized and trusted names in Colorado journalism –