A shortsighted termination

As a former contributor to The Aspen Times, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several of the newspapers’ editors over the years, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Loren Jenkins.

Andrew Travers is up there with the best. Along with many in the community, I was shocked at his recent termination as longtime arts editor and Aspen Times Weekly editor — on the eve of his being named editor in chief, a post he was to assume last week. Without doubt, Andrew would have made a fine editor in chief. As a journalist, he is judicious and measured. As an arts writer, he is intensely curious about the inner workings of the creative process, about what makes artists tick. In his eight years as arts editor, Andrew churned out well-written story after well-written story, without ever devolving into fluff or vanity pieces, which would have been faster and easier, and perhaps for a lesser journalist, tempting in the face of relentless deadlines. 

Andrew’s integrity and suitability for the editor-in-chief job aside, the circumstances surrounding his abrupt firing raises alarm bells for anyone who values a free and independent press. The decision by the Aspen Times’ new owners, West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers, smacks of outside corporate interests caving to big foreign money in silencing local voices — voices of individuals with deep Aspen roots who care passionately about the town’s future. 

Ogden group publisher Scott Stanford won’t comment on this egregious personnel decision. Mr. Stanford said he wants to focus instead on what’s happening in and around Aspen. 

If that’s true, why on Earth would the leadership at Ogden dismiss one of their greatest assets, essentially shooting themselves in the foot? The move demonstrates a dangerous ignorance about the very community they purport to serve. 

Julie Comins