Closure Deadline Looms For Rocky Mountain News

Scripps Will Evaluate Rocky Mountain News' Options Friday

For newspaper reporters, deadlines are a way of life. For reporters and staff at the Rocky Mountain News, a way of life could stop Thursday.

The newspaper's owner, E.W. Scripps, said in December that the paper had six weeks to find a new buyer. The deadline is Thursday.

"Scripps, when the week is done, will sort of evaluate its options," said Rocky Managing Editor John Temple. "I think the word they used was something like 'evaluate our options.' ... One of the options has to include closing."

Gargi Chakrabarty covers the energy beat for the newspaper and said the sentiment is anything but that in the newsroom.

"It's hard to motivate yourself when you get up in the morning. It's hard to get out of bed and say, 'I am going to have the best day. I am going to put out the best work I can,'" Chakrabarty said.

Chakrabarty said the writing was on the wall two years ago but said she loved her craft and decided to stick around. These days she said she has to explore other career options and use the skill sets she's learned as a reporter.

The Rocky Mountain News' situation isn't unique. It's no secret the Denver Post has it's own financial woes.

Andrew Hudson, a former city spokesman, offers up a provoking solution. He said a newspaper tax would be a good idea to help subsidize the industry. The paper would still have full control over its editorial content and would continue to generate revenue through traditional means. He said it is not unlike the same taxes used to support the city's museums and zoo.

"As a collective force our community gathers around to support these. None of those institutions would be able to survive without some level of government subsidy and taxpayers agree they are important to our community," said Hudson.

Right now, the newspaper tax is just an idea. There has been no formal discussion about its feasibility or implantation.

However, the industry realizes journalism is taking on a new form in online media. The Rocky Mountain News said that was one option for the paper but more realistically, in the absence of a buyer, closure is on the very near horizon.

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