What the newspaper owners said before

As executives from E.W. Scripps (possibly in conjunction with their joint-operating partner at MediaNews) decide the fate of the Rocky, it’s worth taking another look at what company executives said around the time that the Rocky and Post merged in 2001, under the terms of their Joint Operating Agreement.


Then, Scripps and MediaNews executives emphasized that their decision to form a government-sanctioned monopoly was about more than money but also about serving the community.


Obviously, the economic situation has changed, but there’s no question that, despite the fact that the newspaper industry is being transformed, these newspaper owners should fulfill their promise to Denver by doing everything possible to preserve the Rocky. Maybe they’ll fail in the end, but they should give the Rocky its best shot, even if it means losing some money in the short term. 


“The bottom line is, if the battle had gone on, ultimately there might have been one newspaper left here. But I think two companies that are both very responsible companies, who really care for this community, have put the past behind and said there will be two newspapers here because we will see that there are two newspapers here. And that is the intent.” — William Dean Singleton, MediaNews Group (May 2000).

“I live here, I read the Rocky Mountain News every morning. Not everything is just business; not everything is just money. We believe it was the right thing to do for Colorado.”  — Kenneth Lowe, Scripps president and chief operating officer (May 2000)

In their application to form the JOA, Scripps and MediaNews pledged to “use all reasonable efforts to maintain the status of their respective publications as leading newspapers in the Denver area and throughout the state of Colorado.”


One “reasonable effort” is to keep the Rocky on the sales block long enough to exhaust all efforts to find a buyer. Another “reasonable effort” is to prevent MediaNews from rejecting a capable buyer. And there are other reasonable actions that can be taken by Scripps, MediaNews, or the U.S. Justice Department.

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