New Year parody flyer decries Carbondale paper’s demise
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” The first Thursday in some 34 years that Carbondale’s weekly Valley Journal newspaper was officially out of print, which also happened to be New Year’s Day, was too much for some unknown rebel opportunists to pass up.
Visitors to local newsstands were greeted Thursday by a one-sheet parody “Valley Jurinal,” photo-copied on yellow 11-by-17-inch paper and placed in the display windows of otherwise empty Valley Journal boxes, and other nearby newspaper boxes.
The parody sheet includes a mock-up of the Valley Journal’s trademark cover design, with a photo of a group of people at what appears to be a 1950s public book-burning, throwing copies of last week’s farewell edition of the VJ into the fire. Bob Lombardi, regional circulation director for Colorado Mountain News Media, owner of The Valley Journal, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and The Aspen Times, said the unauthorized use of newspaper boxes in public places by other publications can be a gray area. But the fact that there may have been an “element of maliciousness” could make it a criminal matter.
“It is an unauthorized trespass on our personal property,” Lombardi said. “It also appears to be an infringement and deliberate misrepresentation of our copyrighted material.”
Under the cover photo is the caption: “Locals ‘celebrated’ the last issue of the Roaring Fork Valley Journal last weekend in Satank. Local rebellious riff-raff vowed to ‘take back the town from heartless corporations.'”
Printed on the back is an “editorial” decrying the paper’s demise under chain ownership with the headline, “Formula for business failure on display (again),” along with an “Over the Fence” spoof and an article on the fictitious organizer of the rebellion, “Jim Dinkleson.”
Colorado Mountain News Media and its parent company, Swift Communications of Nevada, made the decision to suspend publication of the VJ with its Dec. 25 edition, citing declining revenues, an ailing economy and the general downturn in the newspaper industry.
This week, Gypsum-based CMNM announced that it was closing two of its other weekly publications, the Leadville Chronicle and the Spanish-language La Tribuna, and reducing staff at the daily Glenwood Springs Post Independent and The Aspen Times. In November, CMNM closed the Vail Trail weekly.
The Valley Journal announced in the Dec. 25 issue that it was suspending publication indefinitely, but left the door open for the newspaper’s return in the future, should circumstances change. The VJ had been operated by a variety of local owners from 1975 to 1998, when it was purchased along with several other area publications by Morris Communications out of Augusta, Ga. Morris sold its area holdings to Swift in 2000.
Lombardi said it’s OK for people to vent their frustrations about the newspaper shutting down, but he thinks there’s a better forum for that type of commentary.
“We have a wonderful avenue for these types of opinions and dissent; it’s called the letters to the editor,” he said. “Unfortunately, they chose not to take that route.”
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