More reasons the Rocky’s path was too rocky

A follow-up to Friday’s piece on the Rocky Mountain News. Blog reader Jay made two very interesting points about the RMN’s final edition video:

1. Most of the people talking in the video are over 40 – It is clear that newspapers are only relevant to an older generation.

2. I spend many hours of my life in the daily news meetings that I saw again on this video. What struck me is that only 1 person in that room brought a laptop to the meeting. The rest of the group was still clinging onto paper budgets..that were probably hours out of date. News is now in real time and to survive some honored journalism rituals need to be questioned and changed.

I have personal experience with Jay’s second comment. When I first moved to online, I brought a laptop to all news budget meetings as well, mainly to take notes and check online competitors for instant feedback. I was still fighting the “web scooping print” mindset at the time and the other editors saw the “real-time” news updates as a toy rather than a strategic planning tool. One top level editor even continually chastised me for spending too much time “surfing the web” during these meetings. There seemed to be little concern that a story they would talk about for publication later in the day was already on the Web site of their main competitors.

I hear not much has changed since those days, except they talk more about the web site now and a few more editors have become attuned to the news in “real-time” concept.

And, like Jay, I did notice there were way too few young people lamenting the fact that “My Rocky” won’t be around for them. Again, it’s a visual note that the RMN was not reaching the readers it needed to grab to stay afloat, let alone thrive.

Too many newsrooms still talk the talk, and very few walk the walk. I don’t know if this was the case at RMN, but it seems that way too many newsrooms are still in denial over the fact that readership has shifted away from print.

The flagship newspaper served its purpose during its time, but those days are over. It’s time to modify, retire or replace those flagships.

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