Times Weekly now free | AspenTimes.com

Times Weekly now free

Aspen Times Staff Report

In a major change in the Roaring Fork Valley’s hotly competitive newspaper scene, one of the area’s last “paid circulation” publications is going free – on a strictly local basis.

The Aspen Times Weekly will be available free from newsracks and stores throughout the valley, starting with this afternoon’s edition.

The price of a subscription to the Times will remain unchanged.

Also unchanged will be the cost of buying a paper from the newsboys and newsgirls who blanket Aspen every Friday afternoon, hawking the paper on street corners and in offices and stores throughout the town.

“The tradition of kids selling The Aspen Times is one we definitely don’t want to mess with,” said Times Editor Andy Stone. “We think it’s a great amenity for the town and we think it’s a great lesson in free enterprise for the kids. So they’ll still charge you a quarter for the paper – and they’ll still probably ask you if you want change when you give them a dollar bill.”

Times Publisher Mitch Bettis made the decision to distribute the paper locally for free. Explaining that decision, Bettis said, “Since the Times daily edition and most of the other local papers are already free, people here have come to expect that local newspapers ought to be free.

“It’s a unique situation,” added Bettis. “We can’t fight that tide and, frankly, we don’t want people to miss out on the Times Weekly just because it costs a quarter.

“The weekly paper has a breadth and depth of local coverage that the dailies simply can’t match. I guess it sounds a little self-serving, but we really think people here need to read what the Times Weekly has to offer.

“It’s going to cost us a little money,” Bettis admitted, “but I think in the long run, it’s going to be worthwhile for the newspaper and the community.”

The Times will continue to offer subscriptions for $32 a year in the United States and $78 abroad, with half-price rates for senior citizens.

“Thousands of second-home owners and regular visitors to the valley keep up with the area through their subscription to the Weekly,” said Bettis.

The Aspen Times remains not only the area’s oldest newspaper, but the oldest business in the valley. Founded in 1881, two years after the town of Aspen was settled, the Times has been published continually since then – first as a daily, then as a weekly and now as both a daily and a separate weekly edition.

The Aspen Times Weekly has been consistently recognized as the best weekly newspaper in the state of Colorado.

The Weekly edition has won the Colorado Press Association’s overall award for General Excellence as the best large-circulation weekly in the state for the past five consecutive years. In addition, the Times has consistently won the awards for best newswriting and editorial content, graphic design and photography.

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