'Rocky Mountain News' Bids Readers Farewell The Rocky Mountain News closed its doors Friday after nearly 150 years in print. The paper's problems were similar to those faced by others in the media industry. With the paper's demise, Denver becomes a one-newspaper town.
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'Rocky Mountain News' Bids Readers Farewell

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'Rocky Mountain News' Bids Readers Farewell

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Denver has joined the ranks of cities with only one major daily newspaper. After a century-and-a-half, the Rocky Mountain News published its final edition this morning. It becomes the largest newspaper to fall amid the recent decline in advertising revenues.

NPR's Jeff Brady reports from Denver.

JEFF BRADY: The Rocky's parent company, E.W. Scripps, put the paper up for sale in December and said that only a qualified buyer could save it. So when CEO Rich Boehne walked into the busy newsroom Thursday afternoon, his announcement was expected.

Mr. RICH BOEHNE (CEO, E.W. Scripps): Tomorrow will be the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Certainly not good news for any of you, and certainly not good news for Denver.

BRADY: Boehne says the Mile High City can't support two daily newspapers anymore, leaving just the Denver Post, which has its own financial problems. The Rocky published an extra-large run today, 350,000 copies. They were disappearing quickly at the Tattered Cover bookstore in downtown Denver. Robby Robinson says he'll miss the paper.

Mr. ROBBY ROBINSON: It's kind of tragic. I delivered the news when I was a kid, read it all my life.

BRADY: Sharon Hart picked up three papers for her grandchildren so they'll have copies of the tabloid-style paper she grew up with.

Ms. SHARON HART: We got both this and the Post when I was a kid. And so, one you'd lay on the floor and read, and one you'd sit in the chair and read.

BRADY: The Rocky is the one you'd sit in the chair and read, then.

Ms. HART: Correct, yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HART: As an older person, it would be easier to read.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRADY: Near the front door of the bookstore, Savannah Jameson says she typically reads the paper online, but ducked in to see if there were any of the final editions left.

Ms. SAVANNAH JAMESON: Usually, I just want to see one or two pieces or articles, so it's just easier for me to get online, Google the word I want to see, rather than flipping through the pages.

BRADY: That's part of the newspaper industry's problem - online advertising doesn't bring in as much money. Historian Tom Noel says the Rocky Mountain News' history is closely tied to Denver's. Its first publisher, William Byers, was a tireless promoter of the city, if not always a truthful one. Byers published steamboat schedules for the South Platte River, even though it's barely large enough for a canoe to cross.

Mr. TOM NOEL (Historian): I think what he was doing here was trying to promote Denver as transportation hub of the Rockies. People back east had no clue this was the middle of nowhere.

BRADY: Byers' boosterism paid off as Denver became somewhere, and his paper prospered until recently. Last year, the paper lost $16 million. So Scripps made the difficult decision to shut it down.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.

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