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Editor of The Aspen Times resigns, citing new owner

Dominic Anthony Walsh
Aspen Public Radio
A newspaper stand in Glenwood Springs holds a few dozen copies of The Aspen Times on Monday, the day before Editor David Krause's resignation takes effect. More than 9,000 copies of The Aspen Times are distributed daily, according to its website.

The editor of the largest newsroom in the Roaring Fork Valley has resigned.

Tuesday marks David Krause’s last day at The Aspen Times, where he has served as editor since 2017.

His departure comes 4 1/2 months after the Times’ parent company, Swift Communications, was acquired by The Ogden Newspapers, a national publishing company in West Virginia with holdings across 18 states.

In his exit column on Monday, Krause pointed to Ogden's ownership as the primary driver of his departure, in addition to health reasons.

Krause did not accept Aspen Public Radio's interview request, and an Ogden executive was unavailable.

Allison Pattillo, publisher of the Times, was not available for an interview. She wrote in an email, “I will say that Dave is a great editor, and we wish him nothing but the best going forward.”

She did not comment on issues with the paper’s new ownership.

When the buyout was announced in early December, Krause wrote, “In our industry, change is the only constant.”

On Monday, he added, “Any ownership change in any business is tough.”

Krause didn’t spell out any specific issues with Ogden in his Monday column.

But, he said, “There have been some bumps along the way the past four months, enough so that I am ready to take a different path.”

He added that even without a recent health scare, he would have left because he “wasn’t feeling the vibe with our new group.”

Constant, difficult changes have swept through local newsrooms since the turn of the century, especially in the print industry.

From 2008 through 2020, the total number of newsroom employees in newspaper publishing has been trimmed by more than half — from about 71,000 to about 31,000.

But as other rural areas have turned into news deserts, the Roaring Fork Valley has remained an oasis, featuring two daily newspapers in Aspen and one in Glenwood Springs, in addition to outlets producing local coverage of Snowmass Village, Carbondale and Rifle.

Ogden executives pointed to that strength as a primary reason for their buyout of the Swift Communications portfolio, which also includes Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Vail Daily, Summit Daily and others newspapers on the Western Slope.

Ogden Newspapers executive Scott Stanford told The Aspen Times in January that the company’s strategy “is to seek out good markets with good newspaper teams. The Swift markets — Aspen, Vail, Summit County, Steamboat Springs, Glenwood, to name a few — certainly qualify as terrific markets.”

Pattillo was named publisher at the beginning of the year, replacing Samantha Johnston.

At the time, Pattillo told the Times that she wanted to explore new ideas, but she also said that Aspen “isn’t a market that necessarily responds well to mass-market solutions.”

So far, Ogden does not appear to be cutting newsroom positions — a common occurrence when newspapers change hands. The paper is filling both the editor position and a reporter position.