Colorado's oldest newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, is shutting down today, and industry analysts say it won't be the last to be pulled under by a rising tide of financial woes.
E.W. Scripps announced yesterday that it is closing the 150-year-old Rocky, which has won four Pulitzer Prizes in the last decade, leaving Denver, like most American cities, a one-newspaper town.
These are dark days for the struggling news business. Hearst threatened this week to close the San Francisco Chronicle unless major budget cuts are imposed or a buyer is found, and is also prepared to close the Seattle Post-Intelligencer if it cannot be sold. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News filed for bankruptcy protection this week, joining Chicago's Tribune Co. and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in Chapter 11 status.
Industry analyst John Morton called the Rocky's failure to find a buyer unsurprising. "The market is awash in newspapers for sale, and nobody is buying them," he said. "This recession has so impacted advertising revenue, particularly classifieds, that it's driven into unprofitability those who are in a precarious position."