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The new, improved Rocky Mountain News (ta da!)

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Editor John Temple’s column today boasts that his Rocky Mountain News is “the paper that I’ve dreamed of publishing.”

The new (smaller) Rocky hit the streets today, courtesy of new presses that can spit out 80,000 copies an hour. Temple recounts the blessings of this event:

• a new Page 1 flag to “better reflect this newspaper’s vital role and character.”

• a “more convenient” tabloid (the Rocky’s been a tab for generations) “which will result in economic savings and in higher quality for readers and advertisers.”

• better placement of “star columnists in the same place each week, inside the back page” — which will be a “reward” for readers (apparently for getting through the whole paper). But, “of course, our star writers will still be up front when they have a special story to tell,” says Temple. (I wonder what will make it “special”?)

• well-placed “people news and overnight reviews.”

• no more “jumps”: “To make the paper quicker and easier to read, stories will continue on the next page.”

• expanded Web components of many print features.

Temple winds up his column thusly:

I believe a newspaper can bring special understanding to a community. I believe a newspaper has to have a heart.

I believe a newspaper is uniquely positioned to meet the innate desire of human beings for stories that give meaning to their lives …

Well, the Rocky will be more convenient, better organized, have better color reproduction and incorporate more Web stuff.

But Temple didn’t say a damn thing about whether the new, improved Rocky will have better journalism. He said nothing about adding reporters or expanding coverage. He said nothing about new training initiatives for reporters that would enhance the quality of their work.

So the Rocky will be prettier. That doesn’t mean it will better serve readers who need better journalism in a world that grows increasingly complicated day by day.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 24, 2007 at 11:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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