Former 'Rocky Mountain News' staffers plan summer launch for Web magazine

DENVER: A group of former Rocky Mountain News staffers will try to fill what they see as a gap in coverage when they launch the Rocky Mountain Independent online magazine this summer.

DENVER: A group of former Rocky Mountain News staffers will try to fill what they see as a gap in coverage when they launch the Rocky Mountain Independent online magazine this summer.

The site's content will feature magazine-style analysis, commentary, and discussion about local and regional issues, focusing on topics its staff believe are not covered adequately, said Steve Foster, cofounder of the Independent and former sports editor at the now defunct newspaper.

"There are a lot of people covering breaking news – the TV stations and the other newspaper in Denver – but there are a lot of stories missing and a lot of angles of stories missing, and so we are going to be looking at some areas more in depth," he said. "City Hall in particular is not being covered very aggressively, and so we'll be looking to focus on that to some extent. Denver is also a key area in energy and environmental issues, and a lot of the coverage being produced is about company stock prices rather than the issues themselves."

The Independent will launch mid-summer with a staff of as many as 12 people, and will also rely on freelance photographers and writers, Foster added. The outlet, owned by a number of former Rocky Mountain News staffers, will also partner with blogs, according to a statement.

Much of the site's staff had previously worked on the start-up InDenverTimes.com, but that project failed to gain the requisite 50,000 subscribers it wanted for launch, Foster explained. The site now exists as a news aggregation portal.

The title's revenue model depends on a combination of member fees and advertising. Most site content will be free, but members will have access to premium content, Foster said.

Asked about the challenges of launching a media outlet during a recession when many established brands are struggling, Foster replied, "It certainly is daunting to launch this, but it is also daunting for journalists to find jobs in this environment."

The outlet's staffers are handling media requests.

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