The Rocky will be missed

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By Rob Witwer

With the closing of the Rocky Mountain News, it is a great credit to the employees at the paper that they went out with class. The final edition was a retrospective of the paper’s 150 years in Colorado, full of insight and stories that serve to remind all of us what we’ve lost.

This is an institution that spanned multiple generations of Coloradans. The first Rocky included an advertisement for “brokers and dealers in exchange and gold dust”; the last pitched the T-Mobile G1, a cell phone with Internet connectivity.

In between, the Rocky bore witness to stories that made history. Headlines read, “Reds Shatter 12 German Tank Attacks,” “The War is Over,” “Yanks Walk on the Moon!” and “Shuttle Explodes.”

But the final Rocky wasn’t just an obituary — it also contained, one last time, the news of the day. The reporters who wrote those stories and the editors who edited them knew that tomorrow they wouldn’t have a paycheck, but they did their jobs professionally until the very end.

These are not easy times. Good, talented people are losing their livelihoods through no fault of their own. Behind every great institution there are countless human stories. The Rocky’s demise happened to be more public than most, but there’s no doubt the same story is being told, at businesses large and small, across this country.

We’re Americans. We made it through the Civil War, World War II and the Cold War. We’ll fight our way back. But sadly, there will be one less witness to that tale. Goodbye, Rocky.

Rob Witwer, who grew up in Evergreen and currently lives in Genesee, is a former member of the state House of Representatives.