'Rocky Mountain News' Bids Readers Farewell

Savannah Jameson of Denver holds the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. i

Savannah Jameson of Denver holds the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. The newspaper went out of business after nearly 150 years of publication. Jeff Brady/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Brady/NPR
Savannah Jameson of Denver holds the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News.

Savannah Jameson of Denver holds the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. The newspaper went out of business after nearly 150 years of publication.

Jeff Brady/NPR
Sharon Hart of Engelwood, Colo., picked up three copies of the last edition of the newspaper. i

"Part of our history is disappearing — and part of our culture," says Sharon Hart of Engelwood, Colo. She picked up three copies of the last edition of the Rocky Mountain News for her grandchildren. Jeff Brady/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Brady/NPR
Sharon Hart of Engelwood, Colo., picked up three copies of the last edition of the newspaper.

"Part of our history is disappearing — and part of our culture," says Sharon Hart of Engelwood, Colo. She picked up three copies of the last edition of the Rocky Mountain News for her grandchildren.

Jeff Brady/NPR

The Rocky Mountain News published its final edition Friday morning, just shy of its 150th anniversary.

The newspaper had been around longer than Colorado has been a state, but last year, it cost parent company E.W. Scripps Co. $16 million in losses.

"Today the Rocky Mountain News ... becomes a victim of changing times in our industry and huge economic challenges," said Scripps CEO Rich Boehne.

"It's kind of tragic," said Robby Robinson of Denver. "I delivered The News when I was a kid — read it all my life."

At the Tattered Cover bookstore in downtown Denver, a large stack of papers sold out before 9 a.m. Sharon Hart of Englewood, Colo., picked up three copies for her grandchildren so they could see the tabloid-style paper she grew up with.

"We got both this and the [Denver] Post when I was a kid," Hart says. "So one you'd lay on the floor and read; one you'd sit in a chair and read."

Savannah Jameson of Denver says she's a fan of The Rocky Mountain News but typically would read it online.

"Usually I just want to see one or two articles, so it's just easier to get online," Jameson says.

Jameson is part of a trend that is troubling all newspapers. Online advertising doesn't bring in as much money as print ads did. Around the country, newspapers are finding it difficult to maintain newsrooms with hundreds of reporters and still make a profit.

The Rocky Mountain News printed an extra-large run of 350,000 copies for its final edition. It included a 52-page history section detailing high points for the paper, including the four Pulitzer Prizes it had won since 2000.

"It's very rare for you to be able to play the music at your own funeral, and I'd kind of like to do it well," said Rocky Mountain News Publisher John Temple, speaking at a news conference Thursday.

With Temple's paper gone, Denver joins the ranks of one-newspaper towns.

"This is not a day that anybody really wanted to see," said William Dean Singleton, publisher of Denver's surviving newspaper, the Denver Post.

Speaking at the same news conference, Singleton said that back in 2000, the papers signed a joint operating agreement to cut costs.

"We had hopes of preserving two really good newspapers for a long, long time," he said.

But shortly after that, revenues began to decline, and now the recession is hitting the industry extra hard.

As readers opened up the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News Friday morning, the headline read simply, "Goodbye, Colorado."

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