From the Aspen Times Weekly editor: We’re still here
You’ll notice an addition to The Aspen Times daily print edition today. The Aspen Times Weekly, our long-running news magazine, is running as an insert in the daily paper rather than publishing on its own and distributing in its own racks.
Starting with this week’s issue, the Weekly will run as a 12-page section in The Aspen Times on Thursdays, rather than as a standalone magazine. We will continue to bring you the thoughtfully written and artfully designed stories and columns that are the ATW signature.
The reason for the temporary move is that we, like all businesses and like all advertising-dependent media, have been hard hit by the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic. With a fraction of advertising revenue coming in, all of us at the Times have taken staff-wide salary cuts and accepted reduced schedules for hourly workers. We’ve trimmed our page counts, and we’ve now moved the Aspen Times Weekly and the Snowmass Sun into the daily paper. We’re tightening our proverbial belts like most of you reading this.
The Weekly will continue to connect this community and tell its story with words and photos by Aspenites for Aspenites and aspiring Aspenites around the world.
We’ll continue to roll out thoughtful and thought-provoking news features, profiles and photo essays like this week’s cover story from Aspen Times photographer Kelsey Brunner. She offers a historic snapshot of the month coronavirus changed Aspen. In recent weeks, our cover stories have taken a deep dive into the lessons of the 1918 flu outbreak in Aspen, told the story of international J-1 visa holders trying to get home from Aspen during the pandemic and recounted the historic final days of the 2019-20 ski season before the lifts were closed by an unprecedented governor’s order.
The Aspen Times Weekly’s stable of columnists have likewise dug in and offered relevant, useful, frequently enlightening — and sometimes diverting — perspective on the crisis: “Malibu” Kelly Hayes on wine, Amanda Rae on food culture, May Selby’s chronicles of Aspen social life, Katie Shapiro on cannabis, Shannon Asher’s reports from the millennial field and Sean Beckwith and Ben Welch’s “Writing Switch” will all live on in the pages of the Weekly, along with my column on the arts scene.
It is our job to tell the story of Aspen and to reflect local life, our mission to connect this valleywide community in good times and in bad. In the pages of the Weekly in the issues to come, we’ll provide news you can use to navigate this often overwhelming moment, we’ll vent about these trying times, we’ll mourn and grieve, we’ll highlight the good where we find it, and we’ll still be here when times get good again. We look forward to telling the comeback story.
Columns devoted to wine, weed and food culture may have once seemed like markers of Aspen’s frivolity and decadence. As we all know, and as government officials have confirmed in these strange times, these industries are “essential services.” So is the news media. There are essential stories to tell right now about these pillars of Aspen life and the Aspen Times Weekly will continue to tell them.
We’re not doing this because it’s profitable; it isn’t right now. We’re not doing it because we can afford to; we can’t, long-term. We’re doing it because we believe the story of this community still needs to be told. And we’re doing it as an act of faith. We have faith that Aspen will bounce back and that there will be a day when the gondola is carrying us back up Aspen Mountain, when you and everyone you know and a few thousand visitors will gather in fields and tents at a summer festival here, when there will be races and aprés and concerts and closing day parties and art openings and full shopping bags and goggle tans and man fur. There may be a line out the door at Big Wrap, traffic extending past the roundabout, construction buzzing downtown, planes crowding Sardy Field, and some of us complaining about all of it as life returns to our version of normal. Until then, we’re not going anywhere.
And when this community comes back, we have faith the Aspen Times Weekly will again be economically viable as a standalone magazine.
The Weekly, like all of The Aspen Times’ papers and magazines, is free both in print and online. But, of course, it costs money to gather news and shoot photos, to keep the best writers in town as our columnists, to design and print and deliver, to publish online and interact with readers on social media. In this extraordinary time, we’ve begun accepting donations for the first time to support our editorial payroll. If you like what The Aspen Times does, and you are in a position to support us, you can find a “Donate” button on the main navigation bar at aspentimes.com and a “Support Local Journalism” box at the bottom of stories online.
We’re grateful for your support. And we are honored to tell this community’s story.
Andrew Travers is the editor of the Aspen Times Weekly and arts editor of The Aspen Times.
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Art takes shape in the form of food to explore how creativity nourishes a community at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass.