11 March 2009

Laid-Off Staff Create News Site

Journalists from the now defunct Rocky Mountain News are still reporting the local news via their own website.

Created and managed by former Rocky reporters, I Want My Rocky is described by Poynter Online as a “nascent local news site” and is currently a non-profit operation.

As well as publishing news stories, it also acts as a gateway linking to a variety of blogs and websites run by the newspaper’s ex-staffers.

For example, former assistant sports editor Steve Foster is one of the site’s creators who has just launched a blog covering the state’s baseball team – Inside The Rockies – along with two other sports journalists from the Rocky.

And former transport beat reporter Kevin Flynn is publishing stories on I Want My Rocky as well as planning to launch his own blog.

Foster told Poynter that the action of ex-staff shows their belief that they have something to offer the community, with or without the newspaper brand.

He said that when the Rocky was up for sale, its workers were constantly told “that the newspaper has no value. It has negative value; it’s worth only what someone is willing to lose on it.

“I believe I have value. There’s reporters who have real value.”

Flynn added that contributing his stories to the website is providing him with something to do – even if it is unpaid at present.

He said: “I’m not necessarily a free agent forever, but for right now, in this situation, it feels good to have something to do.”

Flynn added: “I had a busy day. And when you’re suddenly unemployed, having a busy day is a good way to feel good about yourself.”

The transport reporter is also upbeat about the future of I Want My Rocky, and hopes it may be able to function in the future as an aggregator of profit-making local news blogs.

The Rocky Mountain News closed at the end of February after a buyer could not be found for it.

According to Editor & Publisher, its website attracted over three times its average page views on the final day.

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