Scripps: Rocky Mountain News to publish final edition Friday

Rocky Mountain News banner. (Screenshot/Rocky Mountain News)
Rocky Mountain News banner. (Screenshot/Rocky Mountain News)
The Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s oldest newspaper, will publish its last edition Friday and then shut down, leaving Denver a one-newspaper town, an officials of E.W. Scripps, the paper’s owner, announced Thursday at noon. “Today the Rocky Mountain News, long the leading voice in Denver, becomes a victim of changing times in our industry and huge economic challenges,” Scripps CEO Rich Boehne said in a statement.

Citing mounting losses — totaling $16 million last year — the company put the Rocky up for sale Dec. 4, along with its interest in the Denver Newspaper Agency, a federally sanctioned joint operation with The Denver Post owners MediaNews Group.

From the Rocky’s own story announcing the final edition:

“Denver can’t support two newspapers anymore,” Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news….

“This moment is nothing like any experience any of us have had,” Boehne said. “The industry is in serious, serious trouble.”

Boehne said there was nibble from one potential buyer, who withdrew after realizing that it would cost as much as $100 million “just to stay in the game.”

Employees of the Rocky will remain on the payroll through April 28, Scripps said in an announcement. Several reporters, columnists and editors will be moving to the Post, DNA chief Harry Whipple said in a Post Q&A about the Rocky’s closure:

The Post is pleased that veteran political reporter Lynn Bartels and Pulitzer Prize finalist Kevin Vaughan, Burt Hubbard and Gargi Chakrabarty, and columnists Mike Littwin, Tina Griego, Penny Parker and David Krieger in sports will be joining the excellent team already in place at The Post. Vincent Carroll, the Rocky’s editorial page editor, will be joining The Post’s editorial page. Additionally, the Rocky comics will be published in The Post as will many of the puzzles.

The final edition of the Rocky, which was set to celebrate its 150th birthday in less than two months, will be wrapped with a 52-page section about the newspaper’s history, editor and publisher John Temple told Rocky staffers who gathered to hear the announcement Thursday.

Here’s a PDF of the Scripps announcement that the Rocky will cease publication.

Read the Denver Business Journal’s story on the sale here, including discussion from MediaNews Group owner Dean Singleton on the future of The Denver Post once it’s the only major daily in Denver.

Follow coverage of the announcement and its implications from Westword media critic Michael Roberts here.

The Denver Post story about the Rocky closing is here, and a collection of photos charting the Rocky’s history is here.

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