Posted: January 29, 2009
The death of daily newspapers is a step forward
The imminent death of The Rocky Mountain News shouldn't be seen as bad PR for ColoradoBy Jon Severson
The Rocky Mountain News is almost dead and many people say this is bad PR for the state of Colorado—that it’s a step backward. I, for one, strongly disagree.
I feel this development instead shows that Colorado is moving toward the future. Newsprint is a dying format, particularly among twenty - and thirtysomething young professionals. I personally haven't read a paper front to back in nine years, and I worked for a newspaper nearly two of those years. Yet I'm as informed as anyone else on the issues important to helping me grow personally and professionally.
On the business front, I use Viigo, a software application for my Blackberry that allows me to follow about 30 news feeds. E-mail blasts from news outlets such as ColoradoBiz magazine also help to keep me in touch. If I want world and national news, there is still no substitute for The Economist, which I pick up when time allows, or I skim it online. In my car, I listen to NPR and BBC World News on my Sirius satellite radio, free of commercials, or I can use FlyCast on my Blackberry. I watch CNN. I belong to LinkedIn social networking groups.
The rest? Thanks to my laptop and Blackberry, I'm a quick Google or Wikipedia search away from what I need to know. All of this I can do while I wait for lunch to be served in a restaurant.
For personal interest news, I check sites including Cyclingnews.com, Allmusic.com and a variety of others. I often read my own publication online, Peak Region Cyclist.
Then there is the issue of useablity. Cracking open the paper is fine at home, but when you are at lunch, in a waiting room or on the couch, a magazine is much easier to fold open as well as there is no rush to read it that day. The magazine format’s portability, durability and longevity suit my lifestyle better. Newspapers always end up like maps in my glove box – scrunched.
Moving away from daily newspapers could also be a huge win from a ecological standpoint. Without printing and delivering newspapers, just consider how much that would reduce the state’s carbon footprint?
But getting information is not all about sitting in front of a computer or hiding behind a magazine. I also rely on talking with my peers at networking events, as well
as e-mail blasts from my local Economic Development Corporation for more informed and educated views of local happenings. And when I have the time, I
rely on weeklies such as Westward and The Independent to keep me up to date on the rest.
And you know, I'm far from alone. I don't know a twenty – or thirtysomething young professional worth his or her salt that doesn't own a Blackberry or similar smart phone. Flip phones are for kids.
Coloradoans are moving forward in how they get their news, and this is not a set back. It illustrates that we've moved on to more efficient ways to get the information that suits our busy lifestyles. We don't want to read stories from the Associated Press about a woman who lives with 1,000 cats, but even if we did, we have Fark.com for that.
Give me an hour with people smarter than me – and more patience for math – and I am sure losing The Rocky Mountain News and other dailies can be turned into a PR gem, and that someday, it’s something that will actually make Colorado sparkle.
Jon Severson oversees young professionals groups along the Front Range and is part owner and VP of Sales for Peak Region Cyclist.