Aspen Times editor calls it quits
June 21, 2011
ASPEN – Bob Ward, editor of The Aspen Times for the past seven years and a Times employee for some 13 years, is stepping down.
“It’s just time for me to try something different,” Ward said. “It’s been an honor and a lot of fun to run the news department at The Aspen Times, but it’s also a tiring, and sometimes all-consuming, job.”
Ward, 47, gave notice to his bosses last week and will stick around through the week of the July 4 holiday. At that time, Roaring Fork Operations Manager Ryan Slabaugh will step in as interim editor, and Slabaugh and Publisher Jenna Weatherred will begin a search for a permanent replacement.
“I was very sad to hear last week that Bob had decided to leave the Times, but I am excited to see what he does next,” Weatherred said. “Bob is one of my favorite people in the world. He is an exceptional writer and editor, and has been a mentor for all of us at The Aspen Times for many years.”
Changes in the Times’ organizational structure are possible going forward, but haven’t been determined yet. Earlier this month, the Times and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, which were jointly printed for the last two years as a cost-saving measure, returned to their separate, pre-recession identities. Both papers are pursuing their own growth-oriented paths as the valley’s economy begins to recover.
“With the split of the Post Independent and the Times on June 9, we have been moving into a growth mode, so although I do not know that we will hire an editor with a job description identical to Bob’s current one, I know we will need to replace him,” Weatherred added.
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Ward says he plans to enjoy some time with with his wife and children in July and devote his energies to other pursuits.
“I hope to relax for a couple of weeks and then plot my next step,” he said. “I’ll do what I can to help my wife build her business. She’s a really good massage therapist, by the way.”
Ward said he won’t miss the deadline hysteria or the angry phone calls that come with being a newspaper editor, but he will miss his “second family” of fellow employees.
“I’m one of those people who came to the Roaring Fork Valley, left for a few years and then came back,” he said. “Part of the reason was the great people and unique culture of the Times newsroom. That may be the hardest thing to leave behind.”
Said Weatherred: “I am very hopeful that Bob will continue to write for us, whether it be a regular column or just freelance stories that he is interested in. I know that he will be successful in whatever adventure he tackles next.”