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Swift buys Morris’ local newspapers

Andy Stone

In a major change in the Roaring Fork Valley’s newspaper landscape, Swift Newspapers of Reno, Nev., has bought all the area publications owned by Morris Communications of Augusta, Ga.

Swift, which has owned The Aspen Times and the Glenwood Independent, has bought the Glenwood Post, the Snowmass Sun, the Valley Journal, the Roaring Fork Sunday, the Rifle Citizen Telegram, the Eagle Valley Enterprise and the Bargain Hunter. In addition, Swift has also bought Aspen Interactive Media, the company that operated the aspen.com Web site. The purchase did not, however, include either the aspen.com or searchcolorado.com Internet address. Morris will continue to operate Web sites at those addresses from Georgia.

The purchase leaves the Aspen Daily News as the only newspaper in the region not owned by Swift.

Swift has for a number of years also owned the Vail Daily News and the Summit Daily News, as well as the small Leadville Chronicle.

The newly purchased newspapers will continue to operate as before, with one exception. The Glenwood Post and the Glenwood Independent will be immediately merged to form a single paper: the Glenwood Post-Independent.

The announcement was made jointly Friday by Richard K. Larson, chairman of the board of Swift Newspapers, and Will Morris, president of Morris Communications.

“We found ourselves reassessing our needs, and this seemed the logical choice for us to make,” Morris said. “We feel good about Swift Newspapers, and we think this company will serve these properties and these communities well.”

Larson said, “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity for meaningful involvement in these fine Colorado communities. We value our friendly association with Will and (Chairman and CEO) Billy Morris and are grateful for their cooperation in making this possible.

“Swift Newspapers believes in the principle of a strong local newspaper that is committed to serving its community with balanced, in-depth news reporting and an independent editorial voice. There is no question that association with the Swift family of newspapers is a valuable resource to an individual newspaper – particularly in the areas of production, advertising and business management – and can help it remain a viable enterprise.

“At the same time, the primary responsibility of each newspaper publisher is to provide fair and complete news coverage that truly represents that unique community it serves.”

Swift Newspapers is a family-owned company that operates daily and weekly newspapers and farm publications in Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon and Nebraska.

The Glenwood Post was included in Morris Communications’ purchase of Topeka, Kansas-based Stauffer Communications Inc., completed in June 1995. The nondailies and the shopper were purchased in 1997 and 1998.

Morris Communications, a privately held media company, after the sale will own 30 daily and nine nondaily newspapers. Its diversified holdings also include magazines and specialized publications, travel guides, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution and computer services.


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