Times publisher to move on
Aspen Times Publisher Mitch Bettis announced yesterday he will be leaving the newspaper at the end of this month.
The young publisher announced his resignation to staff members at a series of meetings Monday afternoon.
Bettis has served as publisher of the Times for a little more than a year. He came to the newspaper in December 1999, when the Times was purchased by Swift Newspaper of Reno, Nev. Previously, he had worked for a different newspaper chain as publisher of the Craig Daily Press.
With his resignation from the Times, Bettis will also be leaving Swift Newspapers.
Bettis expressed his sadness at leaving the Times but said that he was moving on to realize a life-long dream of owning his own newspaper. He said that he is buying a weekly paper in a small town. The name of that paper has not been revealed yet.
The soon-to-depart publisher told the Times staff that when he got his first newspaper job, as a part-time reporter when he was a teenager, he decided right away that someday he wanted to own his own paper.
Bob Brown, regional manager for Swift and Bettis’ immediate superior, attended the meetings where the resignation was announced.
Brown said that Bettis was an excellent publisher who had made great strides in Aspen. He said that a replacement for Bettis had not yet been hired and that he wanted to move carefully to find the best possible person for the job.
“We want the right fit,” said Brown. “We recognize that Aspen is a unique community and we know we need a publisher who will understand that.”
Brown said that he has several people under consideration and hopes to have a decision by the end of February, which is when Bettis is slated to leave.
At least one Times staff member expressed concerns about getting a new publisher. “I can’t believe Mitch is leaving,” she said. “He made all that corporate stuff bearable because he was so un-corporate. I can’t imagine who’ll they’ll get next.”
Times Editor Andy Stone said, “Losing Mitch is quite a blow. He came in right in the middle of a very difficult transition – and he made it a lot easier on everybody.
“Mitch had an absolute commitment to the quality of this newspaper and to this community. He figured out Aspen a lot faster than almost anyone I’ve ever seen. I hope that Swift can find someone to replace him who will realize that this is a special community and that it deserves a newspaper that’s truly part of the community.
“Come what may, Mitch will be missed.”
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