Paul E. Anna: High Points
July 7, 2011
There are some sacred things in this town.
Things that, by virtue of having been around for a long while, have become a part of the fabric of our community. The Hotel Jerome falls in that category. So does the Wheeler Opera House. And so does the newspaper that you are holding in your hands right now.
The Aspen Weekly Times made its debut on April 23, 1881. The stated goal of the paper’s original owner was to bring news of the outside world over Independence Pass to the community of miners who toiled in the Roaring Fork Valley trying to find silver. That original owner, by the way, was Davis Hanson Waite, who would go on to serve a controversial stint as the eighth Governor of the State of Colorado from 1893-1895.
DH Waite sold the paper in 1885 to B. Clark Wheeler who, in keeping with the prosperity of Aspen, began to publish daily editions. Hard times befell the community following the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase act of 1890 by President Cleveland but through thick and thin The Aspen Times has been a part of Aspen’s heritage.
I have had the great privilege of being a part of that heritage these last few years writing this column called High Points. Occasionally I have ranted and ridiculed in this space but mostly I have had 52 weekly columns a year to ruminate on everything and anything that I found to be great about our town. And let me say unequivocally that one of the great High Points of Aspen is The Aspen Times.
If you have been reading the paper the last couple of weeks you know that there will be some changes in the purple building on Main Street. Bob Ward, a fine editor and a better man, is moving on to pursue other opportunities including spending more time with his posse, his kids. Jenna Weatherred will be taking the reigns as publisher of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
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Native Aspenite Gunilla Asher and Ryan Slabaugh will be moving into the role of co-managers of The Aspen Times and The Aspen Times Weekly as well as the Snowmass Sun. Basically that means that two new people will now be in charge of the legacy of this venerable paper. Change is always a little hard, but as has been the case over the last 130 years or so, the paper will always be bigger and last longer than any of the editors, publishers, reporters, columnists, advertising sales people, designers, production supervisors and advertising sales people who work to produce it.
And that is one of the great things about not just the Times, but any newspaper. It is a living, breathing thing that endures as long as those who work to produce it understand that a newspaper’s raison d’ etre is to report to the people. That its sole reason for being is to support and report on what matters to the readers.
Personally I will miss both Bob and Jenna and wish them well, just as I wish Gunilla and Ryan best of luck in their new roles. What is important is that The Aspen Times continues to serve you.
And that is a High Point.