Aspen Daily News sold to group including acting publisher, local investors
Dave Danforth, who founded the Aspen Daily News in 1978, sold the newspaper to acting publisher David Cook and a group of investors, it was announced Tuesday in the newspaper.
Danforth finalized the deal Monday with Cook and his business partner Spencer McKnight who bought the paper with their company Paperbag Media and a trio of Aspen real estate leaders.
Joining in the deal for the newspaper are Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty office co-owners Craig Morris and Ernie Fyrwald and broker Ben Roos. That group will not have a say in the daily operations or news decisions, the three said in Tuesday’s announcement.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement with the real estate investors states they will have “no say on the news product,” according to the newspaper. Instead, the investors will focus on advertising opportunities in the deal.
After what was “a month short of three years” in his effort to buy the paper, Cook said Tuesday the investors saw the current rise of “hyper-local media” as a benefit.
“I have known and worked with Craig for the past 15 years, and he and I have talked on a lot of projects over that time,” Cook said. “This one was no different. I always use him as a sounding board and trusted adviser.”
Cook and McKnight, who co-own Paperbag Media, launched Aspen 82 television station in 2012 after Plum TV filed for bankruptcy. Cook was the Daily News general manager from 2004 to 2008 and returned to become acting publisher in 2014.
He said the newspaper’s current staff will remain under the new ownership group.
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Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday expressed support for imposing a tax on cigarettes and tobacco products in the county similar one enacted by the city of Aspen two years ago.