Saturday, February 28, 2009

Demise of the Rocky Mountain News

I have much to celebrate—the end of my ARC proofing for Leaden Skies (take that you dastardly em-dashes, ellipses, apostrophes, and fragments!), more work projects on the horizon (yay! money in the checking account!), a chance to focus to a short story I've been working on haphazardly, re-connecting with an old friend ... but right now, I wanted to pause a moment, and say farewell to the Rocky Mountain News.

Everything, everyone, has a time and a season, true, but it's particularly sad to see this newspaper come to an end. As a child visiting my grandparents in Denver (and, later, as a young adult visiting my aunt in Arvada), I recall paging through the newspaper, being intrigued by news (and certainly, when I was a wee one, by the comics) that were so different from the California Bay Area newspapers of "home."

Only much later did I come to appreciate the history held within its pages as I scrolled through frames of microfiche at the Denver Public Library and, more recently, perused back issues on the Colorado Historical Newspapers website. You can read a bit about the newspaper's beginnings here. I'm particularly intrigued by the fact that the original site was the second-floor attic of a saloon near the Market St. bridge in Auraria (Auraria being one of the three towns that would eventually form "Denver").

In a larger context, though, this all makes me consider the ethereal nature of information in today's world compared to the past. The internet is all well and good, but, 150 years from now, what will remain of blogs (for instance), websites, twitters, internet-only-news-venues? In 2159, will historians looking back at 2009 have as wide a window as we do right now for 1859? To view life in 1859, we can turn to old newspapers, handwritten letters, journals, diaries and more. What will future historians have?

Something to think about, as yet another newspaper with a rich and varied history closes its doors.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I agree with you. Newspapers have served many purposes throughout the years and it is sad to see any of them go under.

Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Too bad they couldn't live on as a website or something. I recall seeing this paper when I was a kid living in CO, and then later when I was in college and wondering about the illustration business, having an informative correspondence with their art director at the time. The end of an era!

Ann Parker said...

Hi Jane and Christina,
Yes, it's sad to see hardcopy newspapers disappear. I can only take so much on the computer before I need to hold something "real" in my hands...

Anonymous said...

That's so sad! Thanks for sharing.

Joan De La Haye

Cynthia S. Becker said...

I, too, have wondered what future researchers will have available to understand our time period. Old newspapers are such a rich treasure and searchable digitized newspapers that I can read online have become addictive. I start out focused on my subject and often get sidetracked reading other stories that pull me back into another era.

Cynthia Becker
Author of Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker

Cheryl said...

I was saddened to hear of this too. While I am one of those bad people who rarely picks up a paper because online news is so much easier, it's a shame to hear of this paper's closing.


Ann Parker said...

Hi Joan ... You're welcome. and thanks for stopping by. :-)
Hi Cynthia! ... I know what you mean. I'll start looking through old newspapers, bent on finding a particular event or reference, and before you know it, I'm reading the ads and all the other little articles. It's wonderful! Like sifting through a pile of bright shiny objects (ooooh! Look at that!).
Hi Cheryl ... I know, there's a real sense of loss. I'm actually thinking of getting a couple more subscriptions (!), maybe to the Denver Post and the Boulder Camera, if they do out-of-state.

sexy said...