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Posted: March 16, 2009

Revive the Rocky?

For a $4.99 monthly subscription, you bet!

The pitch for Denver's newest media enterprise begins, "Yes, the Rocky has closed, but the spirit is alive and well." Former Rocky Mountain News staffers have launched, an online news site that promises to "revive a tradition of distinguished reporting and editing with 21st-century electronic delivery," with one little catch: a $4.99 a month subscription fee and at least 50,000 subscription pledges by April 23. The substantial proposed staff includes 30 newsies.

Will it fly? Tell us what you think.

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Readers Respond

What about going back to the root purpose of newspapers? Perhaps, by partnering with local governments, schools, and libraries by providing Wi-Fi access, offering feature rich local community news. With your "newspaper" subscription, you could use your Wi-Fi capable device to access the Internet in area hot spots around your community. The gateway page would naturally be the newspaper's home page. Perhaps, this could be achieved by taking advantage of the Federal Stimulus Package's infrastructure initiatives. Or, partner with cellular providers by offering significant discounts for cell phone customers to access mobile broadband services. Again, the first site the user would access is the newspaper's site. What if customers could be offered a "free" dial-up ISP account for home use, as part of their subscription. What if the newspaper found a technology solution like a Wi-Fi capable e-book reader, which they could sell along with their subscriptions. Surely, there are loads of ideas out there... By Carrie on 2009 03 17
Hope this works for them. What I don't understand, is why television news is able to make it on advertising and newspapers are not. Seems to me, given the multi-format way we get our news (radio, TV, newspapers, Internet, etc) newspapers ought to partner with other media providers to give the in-depth analysis we all want in our news feeds. Each TV station has their own website where they direct viewers to visit for more information. Why are newspapers not directly connected to such a source? TV is great for a quick overview. Where newspapers can offer greater specifics. This way, one source of news offers a nugget, and hands off to the other source to provide valuable insight for those who want more information on subjects that interest them most. In turn, the in-depth source can provide news story ideas for its partners, much as they do now . Also, newspapers could find ways to update the typical stagnant way they provide information. Developing more ways to personalize their services, using video, news feeds, creating informative yet easy to navigate home pages, consolidating information sources, offering opportunities for interaction, etc. As I search the web for information on news topics that I am most interested in, I find there is no shortage of participants. Everyone wants good, balanced, relevant information. Also, in our culture we are trained to look at screens for entertainment and information. Rarely, do I see the younger generation pickup a book anymore when they have a question--not even a Yellow Pages directory. Instead they simply let their fingers do the walking on the Internet. The richness of information on the Web is so great and searchable, one can find instant assistance and information anytime of day. Newspapers need to understand the cultural revolution taking place in our society and find ways to tap in to the realities. Subscriptions to the old style newspapers, creates piles of paper, which must be dealt with in some way. Electronic communication in our ever more hectic world is more convenient for the end user, creates less waste and guilt, is more efficiently delivered, archived and search-able. By Carrie on 2009 03 17
Interesting concept. As an owner of a community weekly newspaper, I hope they find success with an online subscription business model. It has not proven too successful for other publications. The culture of "free" on the Internet is a hard market factor to overcome. The demise of The Rocky has opened dialogue on the value of journalism in our society, and as the business of news evolves that discussion will continue to grow. What happens when all the good news rooms are gone . . . or made ineffective by layoffs and shrinking budgets. There are a lot of models being developed (including my own) to keep newspapers viable into the future, and it will be interesting to see which ones prove successful. By coloradopenguin on 2009 03 17
What is this local obsession with "The Rocky"? You must have had to be born and raised here to appreciate it. The newspaper was a complete fish wrap. Since I moved to the Denver metro area in 2000 I've always subscribed to the Post and was continually annoyed at seeing RMN on my doorstep on Saturday mornings. I say good riddance! By Dan on 2009 03 17
I'm looking for a source that reports both sides fairly. Will this version be such a provider? I believe it will "fly" if more responsible journalism occurs. And, not receiving tons of ads that the majority of people never bothered to look at will save a few trees. By gaylene on 2009 03 17

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