With the official announcement that The Rocky Mountain News will print its final edition today, those who aspire to fill the shoes of gutsy men and women who write the rough draft of history feel an overwhelming disruption in the force.
For our newly unemployed brethren at the Rocky we offer our sincerest condolences — and for us, the closure comes as another jarring indication of the field’s mounting struggles, which are outweighed only by the importance of the free press.
The fall of the Rocky, a Colorado mainstay and watchdog for more than 150 years, represents something more, for it is the public — not us notepad-wielding weirdos — who will suffer the wrath of the news media reaper.
As newspapers and journalism as the fourth estate lie beaten, so does democracy as we have come to enjoy it.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”
Information is power. And the newspaper is the conduit through which the people organize and execute their power. For this, journalism must persevere, and it will in some unforeseen permutation of the word.
While the press remains free in a Jeffersonian context, the framers of the constitution could not have foreseen a world in which news media was so beholden to its advertisers — companies who, upon the mainstreaming of the Internet, have abandoned the greatest example of dissemination of truth and protection of democracy for blogs and Yahoo! “news.”
Is a press really free if it is so easily maimed by the whim of Wall Street and inflated conglomerates? And how does the answer impact those to whom we are truly beholden — you, the public?
Ask The Rocky Mountain News.