Thursday, December 04, 2008

Denver: Get Ready To Become a One-Newspaper Town

Rocky Mountain News Is For Sale When No One's Looking To Buy

Scripps is throwing in the towel in Denver.
It's put the Rocky Mountain News up for sale, after deciding the $15 million it expects to lose this year was just too much to take.
"Our 50 percent of the cash flow generated by the Denver Newspaper Agency is no longer enough to support the Rocky, leaving us with no choice but to seek an exit,” says Scripps CEO Rich Boehne.
That's right. Even in the relative sanctuary of a joint operating agreement with the Denver Post, where both papers maintain separate newsrooms, but share business operations, the Rocky is still bleeding cash big-time.
Boehne says Scripps would seek a buyer within the next month. But this line is very telling:
"Scripps said it will consider offers for the Rocky and its interest in the agency through mid-January of next year. If no acceptable offers arise, the company said it will examine its other options."
However, I'm hearing from a source in Denver that's a thinly veiled euphemism for closing the place down.
Given the free fall that the newspaper business finds itself in, a buyer is highly unlikely to emerge, especially if it needs financing to complete a sale, as any suitor most certainly would.
Sad to say, but the fall of the Rocky could be the first of many in 2009.

Meanwhile, Michael Roberts in Westword offers this trenchant observation:

"[T]here's a sense among multiple Rocky staffers that the Denver Post is in financial trouble, too -- perhaps even worse than its crosstown competitor. This scenario suggests that the two papers have been engaged in a staredown for quite some time -- which explains an on-the-record rhetorical question from reporter April Washington: 'Why does Scripps always blink first?'"

1 comment:

Monavie said...

This is sad, but not totally unforeseen. Too bad they couldn't have kept themselves relevant and meaningful.