Guest opinion | Newspaper journalism: A gem worth appreciation |

Guest opinion | Newspaper journalism: A gem worth appreciation

Richard Cimino

The governor declared April 16 to 22 as Colorado Journalism Week. Gov. Hickenlooper likes to declare special days, he does it all the time to declare such important days as Dec. 17, 2016 as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats Day after seeing the Denver Blues Band in concert, and he declared April 14, 2017 as Glenn Chambers Day in honor of the Grand County Director of Human Services upon his retirement — well deserved Glenn!

So when you are governor and mayor, you get to declare special days. I think all the mayors of Grand County should start declaring special days with great frequency. Have a good meal at Maverick’s, declare the next day Maverick’s Day! This summer we might see Winter Park declare a Ziggy Marley day!

Gov. Hickenlooper declared this week as Colorado Journalism Week. And there is much to celebrate, and appreciate, about Colorado journalism.

I grew up in Raton, N.M., which is a mere five miles south of Colorado (so close to being a native). I grew up reading the Pueblo Chieftain, the Denver Post, and the Rocky Mountain News. As a cadet at the Air Force Academy from 1990 to 1994, we were required — forced — to memorize three current events each day.

The Cadets grabbed the Colorado Springs Gazette each morning before 5:30 a.m., and found at least three articles relevant to national security. Following the Academy, I was an intelligence officer.

I was an analyst, and I read several newspapers a day, and learned the nicknames.

I became familiar with the New York Times (the Gray Lady), the Boston Globe (The Gray Lady’s Younger Sister with an Inferiority Complex), the Los Angeles Times (The Fake Tanned Lady with Implants), the Seattle Times (The Gray Rainy), and the Miami Herald (the Blue Pomeranian). In the 1990s, newspapers were where the news lived!

I still prefer newspapers over digital news. Why? I think Michael Bloomberg said it best: “The fallacy with digital news is I don’t know what to read. I want someone to tell me what to read.”

He was referring to the editor of any good newspaper (looking at you, Bryce). What a gem it is to have an experienced expert sift through the stories and events and synthesize the most relevant information for the most people.

And Michael Bloomberg is no Luddite, he made billions with his digital financial news company. Yet he sees value in reading eight newspapers daily.

Sadly, newspaper journalism is on the wane.

The Rocky Mountain News was founded in 1859 by William Byers who came to Grand County — then Middle Park — the following year, 1860. It ran for 150 years, shutting down in 2009. The Denver Post is sort of going strong, it makes a profit. But the Denver Post owners recently cut the staff severely, so much so the editors publicly called (begged) for new ownership. A rare move to be sure, and a courageous one.

Grand County, on the other hand, is in newspaper heaven.

For a brief period in 2017, we actually had five local newspapers: the Sky-Hi News, the Middle Park Times, The Grand Gazette, The Boardwalk and the Winter Park Times. The future of newspaper journalism is the local paper!

Colorado newspapers have been part of my life since the 1970s.

Newspapers have added so much value to my career; I can’t imagine life without them.

I ask Grand County citizens and guests to support our local papers. Read them. Advertise in them. Write articles for them.

Journalism is good for Colorado, let’s show newspaper journalists our appreciation!

Richard Cimino is a commissioner on the Grand County Board of Commissioners.

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