Monday, February 21, 2011

Coming Soon: Survey of Rocky Mountain News Staff Two Years After Paper's Closure

I've been gone from this blog for a while. I'm writing at, the Honolulu news service where I'm editor.

But it's been almost two years since the Rocky Mountain News published its final edition, on Feb. 27, 2009, and to mark the occasion, I sent a survey to my former colleagues at the paper.

I'll publish the results here around the time of the anniversary. I think anybody who cares about what's happening to newspapers and journalism jobs will be interested in the findings.

Here's the note and survey I sent. I used e-mail and Facebook to reach out, ultimately receiving responses from 146 of the 194 full and part-time editorial staff on the paper's final day.

Greetings from Hawaii!

I just had to say it. Not to rub it in, or anything. But it is pretty darn nice to be able to go for a swim in the morning and a hike in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. I hope this e-mail finds you in good spirits, too.

It's hard to believe that we're approaching the second anniversary of the closing of the Rocky. On that day, all our lives took new directions. I can tell you that while I can't believe my good fortune to be able to live in Hawaii, I do miss our time together.

What happened to us at the Rocky happened in workplaces around the country. I'm writing, though, because I think we're in the unique position to share what the closing of a paper meant at a time of historic change in journalism. Our stories together could give a sense of the real impact of the Great Recession. So just as I did around the sixth month mark after the paper closed, I'd like to ask your help with a quick survey. I'll share the results on my blog

I hope you'll participate. It should take just a few seconds. (No one should have to answer more than seven questions.) If you could respond no later than Jan. 15, I would really appreciate it. (Of course, you know me, so I can't resist telling you that the best thing to do would be to respond NOW.) I'll need time to pull together the answers given the other work I have here in Honolulu. I'll publish the results on Feb. 27, two years to the day after the last edition we produced together hit the streets.

I wish you all the best. Let's keep in touch.



1. Are you working as a journalist today?

Yes __

No __

2. If you answered yes, please answer questions 2-5. If you answered no, please jump to question 6.


At a newspaper __

Wire service __

Web site __

Freelance __

Other __

3. Please name the organization where you work if you are employed as a journalist. If you work as a freelancer, please identify your most important clients.

4. What is your role/title? If it is different from your job at the Rocky, please indicate what your title at the Rocky was and what your title is today?

5. Income. Are you making

Much more __

Somewhat more __

The same __

Somewhat less __

Much less __

Please jump to question 9. Those who no longer work in journalism, please answer questions 6-10.

6. For those of you no longer working as a journalist, are you:

Retired __

Unemployed __

A student __

Working full time __

Working part time __

7. Please name the organization where you work and your job title. If you work as a freelancer, please say in what field and identify your most important clients.

8. Income compared with what you made at the Rocky.

Are you making

Much more __

Somewhat more __

The same __

Somewhat less __

Much less __

9. Have you lost your house, gone bankrupt or had to leave Denver to find work since the closure of the Rocky?

Lost house __

Bankruptcy __

Had to move __

10. How would you describe your life today versus before the Rocky closed?

Much Better __

Somewhat Better __

About the same __

Somewhat worse __

A lot worse __

Please explain your answer to question 10. Feel free to write as much as you'd like or to share photos, videos or audio.

Thank you for completing this questionnaire. Please feel free to share anything else you think it's important for others to know. One final thing. Do you give me permission to share your response using your name?

Yes __

No __


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