Samantha Johnston joins The Aspen Times on Monday as general manager.
Johnston, who has been executive director of the Colorado Press Association the past three years, joins Publisher Gunilla Asher in overseeing the newspaper’s operations as well as those of the Aspen Times Weekly and the Snowmass Sun.
“We are very excited to have Samantha join The Aspen Times team,” Asher said. “She has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will be a perfect fit for us moving forward.”
Johnston, a Steamboat Springs native, sees the move to Aspen as a return to her professional roots.
“My tenure with CPA and my side trips through hospital management and an MBA have broadened my management perspective and given me tremendous insight into a very big cross-section of the media industry,” she said. “I feel like I’ve collected all of the puzzle pieces and now just need to put them together.”
Johnston graduated Regis University with an MBA in 2007. Prior to that she earned a B.A. in technical journalism at Colorado State University and also attended Texas Christian University. She was publisher of the Craig Daily Press from 2002-2006 and regional advertising director of Steamboat Pilot & Today from January 2006 to August 2007. After three years as an executive with The Memorial Hospital in Craig she accepted the position with CPA.
“I was raised in the Colorado mountains, so I feel like I’m coming home,” Johnston said. “Community newspapers are my professional passion and I know I’m incredibly lucky to get to do work that I love in one of the most beautiful places in Colorado. Although I’ve only lived in Aspen a few days, I’ve met some genuinely welcoming people and I look forward to being part of a place with such a strong sense of community.”
Johnston is an avid outdoorswoman and a sports enthusiast, enjoying skiing and snowboarding, biking and mountain hiking, usually in the company of her golden retriever Murphy.
Colorado Mountain News Media General Manager Jim Morgan said that in addition to Johnston being well-grounded in the traditions of the newspaper industry, she is in the forefront of finding the kinds of digital solutions what will ensure the industry has a strong and vibrant future.
“Sam, who has been a successful leader throughout her career, is an ideal fit for our Aspen newspapers as well as for CMNM, and will be an excellent partner to Gunilla, who’s done a remarkable job as publisher under the most challenging of circumstances,” he said. “The Times is one of our company’s premier operations and deserving of top-notch leadership.”
Asher, who has served as advertising director, general manager and publisher of The Times during her 11-year tenure, continues to maintain an abbreviated work schedule while undergoing treatment for cancer.
“I cannot tell you how much my team and the community has supported me during this challenging year,” Asher said. “Having Sam come on board will allow people to get back to what they do best and allow me the support to focus on my unfortunate battle with cancer and be able to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening at The Aspen Times.”