I woke up early today. Around 4:30 this morning I began to wonder if my Rocky Mountain News was on the driveway. I couldn’t wait to see it, yet in a way, I didn’t want to see it. With no chance of forcing myself back to sleep, about an hour later I went to look. It was there, and for the very last time.
As far back as I can remember and at every place I have lived, the Rocky showed up every morning. Thinking about it as a kid growing up, the Rocky reminds me of my dad. He read it every morning and oftentimes we discussed a story inside. I remember it being on the kitchen table every day. At the point in my life when “reading” became something I wanted to do rather than had to do, it was because of this newspaper. My love for sports was cultivated by box scores, standings and action photography that I came to understand and appreciate at an early age.
The same appreciation and bond with newspapers I learned from my dad, I’ve tried to instill in my kids. On some levels I think I have succeeded but I know the art of reading newspapers is dying for reasons that are all too obvious. On occasion, I will see one of my teenagers drawn in by a photo or a headline. At first they may only read the photo caption, but as they start to skip through the pages they eventually, over a bowl of cereal, settle on a story to read. Unfortunately for our newest generation, it’s an uncommon site.
With an educational degree in journalism and a professional career in media relations, there have been dozens of mornings, just like today, in which I couldn’t wait to see the paper. Some I looked forward to with anticipation, some with reservation. Whether it was a feature story, a company profile, or simply a quote, seeing the “printed” word (one that I’ve helped shape or facilitate) in mass distribution was and is an adrenaline rush. Mass media formats have changed and will continue to change. Mass media is becoming social media. Where once we received news and commentary from trusted (OK, not always) reporters, we now receive news and commentary from anybody with a laptop…or cell phone. As a result, newspapers are nearing extinction and the Rocky won’t be the last to suffer this fate. It was only a matter of time.
As I looked at the Rocky this morning for the very last time, it was surprisingly emotional. More so than I had expected. There are so many things about it that I will miss: seeing the names and photos of reporters I’ve become to know on both a personal and non-personal level, the front page photography, the easy-to-read tabloid format, and just my general familiarity with what’s inside.
The paper scheduled to arrive tomorrow will be different.
It was a great and impressive 150 year run! So long, old friend.
Written by Jim Miller
- Categories: Rocky Mountain News
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