In February of 2009, The 150 year old Rocky Mountain News was closed by Scripps. A lot of really talented people lost their jobs and readers in Colorado lost a great newspaper. When I chose a career as a photojournalist, the Rocky Mountain News was my goal. I wanted to work there. More than wanting to work there I wanted to make pictures like they did. When students in my classes were asked what they wanted to do with photojournalism many said they wanted to work for National Geographic or The New York Times. I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do than tell stories through the pages of the Rocky.
It’s now one year later. The final edition has been published, the doors locked and the desks cleared. So where are we today? Many of the former staffers of the Rocky are still living and working in Colorado, several unsuccessful online news ventures have been launched and some have moved on to other papers. Former Publisher, John Temple has been hired as the new editor of Peer News, a yet to be launched…well I’m not exactly sure what it is but it sounds like it won’t provide good paying jobs to trained journalists. The founder Pierre Omidyar has been quoted in the Washington Post saying staff members will be paid “what they are worth.” Inspiring.
It still seems as if part of Colorado is missing. I couldn’t help but think of the Pulitzer Prize winning images of the Columbine shootings as I covered another school shooting this week. The depth in which the Rocky covered stories remains unparalleled today. The Post has tried hard to cover high school sports in the same way the Rocky did, even hiring former staffers. However they still seem to fall short. I was working hard on making contacts at the Rocky. I even had several photos published in the last months of the paper. The Conifer basketball photo in the screen shot below is mine.
My dream of working for the Rocky Mountain News is now over. And like many journalists my focus has had to shift to finding new ways of visual story telling. I learned a lot from reading the Rocky. For this I thank everyone who was involved in producing such an outstanding newspaper. You are missed.