A note from the publisher
December 31, 2008
The current recession and a rapidly changing media environment have served up a perfect storm of sorts for the newspaper industry, including the local media. Over the past two years, tens of thousands of journalists throughout the country have been laid off, or offered early retirement or buyouts.
Recent moves within the industry include the Rocky Mountain News being put up for sale and possibly closing if a buyer doesn’t come forward in the next couple of weeks. The newspaper reported losses of more than $15 million this year. Large newspaper corporations like Gannett and McClatchy have slashed a huge number of newsroom jobs. The Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
But large newspapers aren’t the only ones suffering. Small papers and newspaper groups have also been forced to adjust, and we are not immune here in the mountains.
Over the past week, Colorado Mountain News Media ” owner of The Aspen Times, the Post Independent in Glenwood Springs, the Vail Daily and a number of other mountain-town papers ” has decided to close the Valley Journal, La Tribuna and the Leadville Chronicle. We have had to make some difficult decisions at the Times, as well. A newspaper has two main resources, paper and people. Over the past two months, we have reduced our staff by almost 20 percent, and we have reduced the number of papers we distribute by mail and downvalley.
This week, we have gone a step further to ensure that our paper remains financially stable. This Sunday will be the last for our Sunday daily paper, our least profitable edition of the week. We will continue to publish the daily paper Monday through Saturday, as well as the Aspen Times Weekly on Sundays. As always, we will cover any Saturday breaking news on our website, aspentimes.com.
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My hope is that, once this recession turns around and things feel more secure in the valley, we will be able to bring back the Sunday daily and our small community weekly papers. Making these decisions was not easy, but I am honored to work at The Aspen Times, and I believe it is my job is to make these difficult decisions and ensure a strong future for this business.
On the positive side, beginning today, we’re adding a second installment of our “community page,” Aspen Miscellaneous, which now appears on Saturdays. Now, Aspen Miscellaneous will appear also on Wednesdays as a venue for readers’ stories, photos and other material. You can send any items or ideas to Community Editor Naomi Havlen at email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we make these changes. Please let me know if you have suggestions or see something we could improve to serve our community. The Roaring Fork Valley is a special place, and it deserves a healthy, high-quality local newspaper like The Aspen Times.