You Can't Always Get What You Want
FORT COLLINS, CO — On Wednesday, February 8, Rocky Mountain Bullhorn Publisher Joseph Rouse announced that the alternative newsweekly located in Fort Collins, Colorado, would officially cease operations. The paper’s last published issue date was February 2.
“Obviously, this was an extremely difficult decision for me,” Rouse says. “It’s a sad time not only for the exceptionally committed and hard-working staff, but for the paper’s loyal readers, advertisers and longtime community supporters. These feelings, however, are overshadowed still by the overwhelming pride we all have for the five-plus volumes that were published.”
Since August 2005 the Bullhorn had been negotiating toward a potential merger with another alternative newsweekly. Those negotiations abruptly ended on Wednesday.
“I was devastated by the unexpected, unsuccessful negotiations,” Rouse explains. “We’d been working on the details of this deal for months with much optimism, so the unfortunate nature of their conclusion took me by surprise. Ultimately, that forced the decision to cease publishing.
“The primary mission of the Bullhorn had, since its inception, been to publish a local alternative newspaper dedicated to editorial independence, excellence and integrity. We were overwhelmingly successful in this regard thanks to the hard work and commitment of an amazingly energetic, yet small group of highly talented individuals.”
In September 2000 Rouse and former editor Vanessa Martinez, then both 22 years old, launched the Bullhorn as a monthly publication with a staff of four fulltime employees. In May 2003, the paper re-launched as a weekly, covering news, opinion and culture along northern Colorado’s Front Range, including the cities of Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Estes Park and surrounding towns. Within one year, they more than doubled the size of the staff as well as the size of the paper. In March 2003, the Bullhorn forayed into talk radio with a weekly one-hour program on the local grassroots station, KRFC 88.9 FM that it sustains to this day.
In June 2004, the Bullhorn was awarded membership into the esteemed Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (aan.org). Shortly thereafter, Martinez resigned from her post to work as a field organizer for the Colorado Democratic Party, and reporter Bethany Kohoutek was promoted to the position of editor. Martinez currently is the managing editor of the Colorado Springs Independent, also an AAN member publication.
“Joseph and I started this paper in the living room of his house,” Martinez remembers. “We were still in college and lacked real-world experience, but with genuine passion we enthusiastically took on the challenging risk of creating an investigative, editorial-driven, local publication. More than six years later, we sit here again, in Joseph’s living room at the very same desk where the first issues were produced, heart-broken but with absolutely no regrets. For both of us, the Bullhorn is our greatest life accomplishment. Our paper made a difference. Despite its untimely end, for nearly six years it provided a forum for voices that have helped to make this community a better, more progressive place to live.”
Select articles and the cover design from the halted February 9 edition of the paper, an annual love- and sex-themed issue titled “Birds and Bees, and Balls and Chains,” will be posted to the Bullhorn’s website, rockymountainbullhorn.com, in the coming days. The site will be maintained to provide readers and staff an opportunity to share their reactions to the paper’s shuttering.
Rouse, Kohoutek and Martinez are available for further comment. Contact Rouse at firstname.lastname@example.org; Kohoutek at email@example.com; and Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or leave a message at 970/416-7957.