With the demise of the Rocky Mountain News we have missed the tremendous coverage of the Denver Nuggets provided by Chris Tomasson and Aaron Lopez. Well, good news Nuggets fans, they are back thanks to InDenverTimes.com.
I was lucky enough to speak with Chris on a couple of occasions since the announcement that the Rocky was folding and he was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about InDenverTimes.com and how he will continue to cover the Nuggets.
Roundball Mining Company: What is InDenverTimes.com? What is your vision for it? At the press conference announcing the launching of InDenverTimes.com Brad Gray mentioned that 70% of a newspaper’s budget is allocated to the physical production of the paper. Are online subscription based websites the future of journalism?
Chris Tomasson: The thinking is that newspapers, in their current model, are broken. With advertising declining, it costs so much to print and distribute a paper that newspapers now are laying reporters and editors off in masses. So they’re further weakening their product just to try to live another day. The thinking is that, with InDenverTimes.com, being an online publication, the bulk of the money will be spent on what’s most important: Having a staff of top-notch journalists delivering what people in Denver want to read. We hope we’re the future of journalism, although that future in journalism is already prevalent with sports sites such as ESPN.com. Nobody says, “Where’s my paper version of ESPN.com?” That’s because it never existed. People know they need to go online. As more and more people move away from the paper model of a newspaper, I wouldn’t be surprised if more sites like ours are cropping up in cities around the globe.
RMC: The viability of the site has been tied to acquiring at least 50,000 subscribers by April 23, 2009. Will some content be free or will all content be available by subscription only? If the goal of 50,000 subscriptions is not achieved will the venture be restructured or will it be left for dead?
CT: The news on the site will be free. But a subscription will get a reader access to columns, analysis, chats and all sorts of other extra features. We’re fully confident we will get the 50,000 necessary by April 23. If, for some reason, that does not happen, our financial backers would look at all options and any decisions would be up to them.
RMC: How will your ability to cover the Nuggets be different from when you wrote for the Rocky Mountain News? Is there a budget for you to travel with the team?
CT: I like to to think that, not only would I pick up right where I left off, there would be more coverage. With the newspaper, we were limited by space, especially in recent years, with the paper getting smaller due to the economic times. But there is an unlimited amount of space on the Internet. As far as travel, when InDenver Times hopefully starts May 4, this Nuggets season will be winding down, if not over. We would then have ample time to evaluate how best to cover the Nuggets in 2009-10.
RMC: Is the editorial hierarchy of InDenverTimes.com organized in the same way as a newspaper? Will you have more latitude to write columns/opinion pieces in addition to news articles?
CT: It will be similar. We will have editors and reporters organized much like they are at newspapers. As for the writers, a key word is analysis. My editors believe I know the doings of the Nuggets as well as anybody, so I’m sure they would trust my analysis on the team. I will be around the team regularly, and will look to present all sides of the story.
RMC: Will you be covering other sports or news apart from the Nuggets?
CT: While I’m not expecting to be sent to city hall for a story, I’m sure I will be helping out in other sports areas, which I don’t mind in the least. I’ve got plenty of experience covering all kinds of sports. I’ve even covered two Mr. Olympias, where I was the skinniest guy there, including the women.
RMC: In your opinion will the Nuggets get past the first round of the playoffs this time around?
CT: I sure wouldn’t mind if they do. InDenver Times is expected to launch May 4. On that day, it’s very possible the first big headline could be, “Nuggets finally win a first-round series.” Most first-round series end around that time. Those at InDenver Times certainly wouldn’t complain if we had a Nuggets second-round series to cover. As for my basketball opinion, I think they finally can win a first-round series. With their schedule easy down the stretch, the Nuggets look to be in great shape to win the Northwest Division and get a high playoff seed. And, while the West has depth this season, the only team that scares anybody a lot is the Lakers. And don’t count on Denver being the No. 8 seed and having to open against the No. 1 Lakers (good luck with that matchup, Mark Cuban). But it’s important to note that, even if the Nuggets win the Northwest Division, that’s no guarantee of homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Nuggets need to win the division and make sure San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans don’t all have better records. If that happened, the Nuggets would have to open the playoffs on the road.
Chris’s first article is up on the site and I encourage everyone who has any attachment to the Denver area to head over to InDenverTimes.com and check out what they are doing. I am not sure if this is the future of newspapers, but it is a very interesting endeavor. Good luck to everyone involved and thanks to Chris for all his hard work in covering the Nuggets and whatever other types of sporting events may come his way.
Below is the promotional video explaining more about InDenverTimes.com.
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