Friday, February 27, 2009

The death of the Rocky Mountain News

Today marked the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. For those unfamiliar, it was one of Denver, Colorado's two daily newspapers.

This twenty-plus minute video is a bit on the long side but also rather captivating.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Many opinions were expressed in this video but the one that stuck with me is the observation that as life and technology and information moves at the speed of light, are we overlooking the small, tangible things such as the physical newspaper. Are we in danger of losing all things physical? Has the internet devalued everything and, in part, contributed to the current financial situation?

I'm heavily invested in all things online and live with all my technology. I've got more than a few feet of Cat-5 wiring running in my house. My cable modem is always on. My iPod and cell are nearly always on me during the work week. I spend many hours weekly online, not just blogging but also managing a multitude of tasks associated with my daily workflow. The advent on the internet and its rapid growth made my job both easier and more multi-faceted. I've taken on additional tasks, learned more skills than I ever thought necessary just a decade ago and have seen the entire advertising landscape change. Advertising, which drives our ravenous retail economy, recently collapsed on itself (in case you hadn't noticed). Everything essentially spiraled out of control and I think that the devaluation caused by the free online model is at least partially to blame. In inside speak, online journalism can be monetized. It can generate a profit and it can thrive and, in a turnabout, support the physical printed newspaper much as the print operations of today pay plenty of the way for the online presence.

But whatever caused the loss of just one daily newspaper, for some reason, really sticks with me. Everything lives and dies with advertising and another tangible product that had a strong virtual and physical presence was laid to rest.

Be sure to watch the video in its entirety as the seemingly endless credits roll. Those are the hundreds of people who, as of tomorrow, are unemployed because their employer had a rough ride for a year. Things don't turn around in a year. Things don't turn around without some faith in the business you run.

1 comment:

Jacki said...

I totally, totally agree with your last paragraph especially. With all these businesses and newspapers cutting back and closing up shop, it makes me wonder if they are doing things prematurely. Alot of people are losing their jobs because their employers are too money hungry.