Thursday, February 26, 2009

Questions loom as Rocky falls

E.W. Scripps said it will shutter the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rocky Mountain News on Friday, ending 150 years of continuous operation and adding more than 200 union newsroom staffers to the unemployment rolls.

The move comes one day after union workers represented by the Denver Newspaper Guild reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit concessions with a joint operating agency that publishes the Rocky and the MediaNews-owned Denver Post.

It remains unclear how the Scripps move will affect the Guild’s tentative agreement and the future existence of the DNA.

Citing declining revenues and the national economy, Scripps said it was forced to close the Rocky three months after putting the paper up for sale on Dec. 4, 2008, because a buyer had not been found.

Scripps, which bought the paper in 1926, said that although the paper will cease publishing Friday, employees will stay on the payroll through April 28.

Scripps officials told employees in the Rocky newsroom that the firm’s lawyers were discussing the move and its implications with union officials.

The DNA had sought concessions from six unions totaling $18 million to help the agency renegotiate $130 million in debt. Additionally, MediaNews sought $2 million in concessions at the Post. Two additional unions have yet to reach an agreement on the concessions.

The loss of the Rocky will leave the Post as the only major daily in Denver.

In the past decade the Rocky has been awarded 10 Pulitzer Prizes and many of the paper's departments, including the sports, business, and photo desks, have consistently been named some of the best in the nation.

The Rocky, first published 1859, is Colorado's oldest newspaper as is considered the state's longest continuously operated business.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This will happen sooner rather than later to a Singleton property.