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Stop the presses: a newspaper runs fiction

While most newspapers hack their coverage of books, the Rocky Mountain News is taking a different Pam approach: Publisher's Weekly reports that the paper has commissioned 11 original short stories from local (to Colorado) writers that they will publish each Tuesday starting Sept. 2 for its "Dozen on Denver" series. The authors featured are Pam Houston (at right); Margaret Coel, Joanne Greenberg, Connie Willis, Nick Arvin, Sandra Dallas, Diane Mott Davidson, Manuel Ramos, Robert Greer, Arnold Grossman and Laura Pritchett.

The paper will also run a 12th story through a writing contest with a $500 prize. The winner will be the best story depicting the Denver of the future.


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This is a terrible idea. A newspaper is a NEWSpaper. Fiction is not news. If I want fiction I know where to find it and I think most readers will feel similar. I'm all for finding new ways to grow readers but this is diluting the product and stupid.


Well, it's only for 3 months...and if it generates interest, it's nothing but good for them. On the other hand, I would NOT want to be the poor slob stuck reading all the submissions from the public. Talk about time to develop a drinking problem.

Jill Cassidy

Let me assertively straddle the fence. I generally agree with HoCo regarding fiction in a news setting, and was not distraught when Atlantic magazine eliminated the short story from the printed product. But I'm a big fan of Pam Houston and would enjoy reading her story. Plus, props to the Rocky Mountain News for trying something unusual to retain readers, instead of putting in more lists or "news by you." (Imagine, assuming that your readers would like something good to read!) I plan to look on their Web site for those short stories. Thanks for posting about this.


I plan to check out the website myself, at least for some of the stories. And yes, a fiction contest and original fiction is better than, say, running 47,000 What To Do Today lists in terms of getting people interested. At least, I hope it is...

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