Rocky Mtn News closes … is this the beginning to an end?

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Rocky Mountain News last front page

The Rocky Mountain News is closing shop after today, and I think it’s safe to say that we are all affected. I knew the newspaper industry was troubled from working at one and hearing the daily chatter, but to hear a paper stop publishing doesn’t settle well with me. I watched their video, read the tweets, and now I sit here and wonder, “What next?”

To be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with newspapers. My passion for multimedia was stifled in newsrooms as the politics between print and online created an invisible divide amongst the employees. My story proposals were many times forgotten after the pitch because editors were hesitant to take reporters off their beats. Newsrooms were so concerned with getting out the paper and filling the holes that true storytelling was often swept beneath the carpet.

I had my grand idea of how to fix newspapers. Since paper and people are the two most expensive components, scrap the print edition (eliminating the need for print production and print advertisers) to focus solely on online advertising. No need for million dollar printing presses, no more giant paper rolls, no more old fashion home delivery method. Of course this is coming from a biased online journalist who didn’t understand the breakdown of a newspaper company.

How silly of me to think proactively to do something drastic to overturn the newspaper business structure. Yes my idea is somewhat ludicrous, but why aren’t newspapers thinking more proactive, instead of merely reacting to others?

I ran back to school because the negative aurora of traditional journalists was negatively impacting my passion for multimedia storytelling. If I couldn’t make it, how can others? And, more importantly, as I sit down with students today at UNC’s SND portfolio review, what do I tell them? They are excited about journalism, storytelling, and changing the world. I would never come in the middle of something as powerful as a student’s passion for life.

I love newspapers. I love journalism. I was deeply emotional as I watched the video on The Rocky Mountain News’ homepage. How can newspapers survive, and how can journalism thrive through this turmoil?

Good luck to all of the Rocky Mountain News employees, and thanks for all of the inspiration and amazing work you have produced throughout the years. You will be missed not only in your community, but within the journalism industry at large.

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