How long should dead paper linger on web?
So, I understand the affection and enduring sense of loss felt by a staff that has had a newspaper shot out from under it.
Still, I can’t help but wonder why the final website of the Rocky Mountain News remains online today as an uncomfortably maudlin reminder of the paper’s demise nearly six months after it closed.
The beautifully produced site (image below) attracted hundreds of comments – mostly sympathetic – when the E.W. Scripps Co. shut the paper on Feb. 27 after suffering tens of millions of dollars in operating losses that it said it could not staunch.
But the last of those comments came on March 3, which seems about the right length of time for a proper mourning period.
While the site attracted more than 600,000 unique visitors a month when the paper was going strong, traffic dropped to 132,000 visitors in June and has fallen off the radar since then, according to Compete.Com.
There’s no reason to visit, either. The site, which effectively captured the shock, grief and anguish of the paper’s talented staff at the moment it was closed, hasn’t been updated since then.
So, there it sits, frozen in time, evoking an awkward mawkishness that ill becomes the proud men and women who made the Rocky the hard-charging paper it was.
When does a newspaper get to rest in peace?