The Atlantic: I feel like a ghost. I have one foot in a world that no longer exists. When my students look at me, they know not the world whence I come, and it disappeared only 10 years ago. I’m a survivor of the waning days of metro newspapers with knowledgeable beat reporters, journalists who spent years developing expertise in the courts, or local government, or schools.
One of the perks of working in a newsroom is hearing stories from the journalists around you. I was lucky to work at the Rocky Mountain News with one of the best storytellers, Gene Amole, a giant of Colorado journalism who as a young soldier had helped liberate Buchenwald. He used to tell me how he remembered the men who had died fighting alongside him in Europe in World War II. He almost sounded envious. While he’d had his ups and downs in life and was suffering the infirmities of age, in his mind the men had stayed forever young. They were frozen in his memory at a time when it seemed their whole life lay ahead of them.
It was 10 years ago on February 27 that the newspaper we affectionately called “the Rocky” published its final edition, and the spirit of the paper seems both alive in my memories and painfully absent from our world. Mine wasn’t the only newspaper that closed during the Great Recession. By July 2009, Business Insider reported, 105 had been shut down and 10,000 jobs lost. I was in the center of that storm. I don’t need to remind those who were there how dark those days were.
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