Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recession hits home Daily News, MBJ halts production

The Aspen Daily News shelved its weekly business journal this week in response to the mind-numbing recession that continues to take its toll. ...

The purging of Mountain Business Journal comes just two months after the Aspen Daily News laid to rest another weekly, Roaring Sports. That publication was the first sports weekly ever published by the Aspen Daily News but had a short life, lasting a little over one year.

Aspen’s grim economic reality has resulted in job cuts in the newsroom, including a sports reporter who was laid off last Friday, as well as the production and circulation departments, and the press room. Several other budget cuts have been implemented, including eliminating distribution to the Interstate 70 towns of Silt and Rifle. The Aspen Daily News, which has a circulation of about 15,000, is distributed for free throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

Dave Danforth, a founder and sole owner of the Aspen Daily News, said this is “far and away” the worst economic climate he’s seen since he, Lee Duncan and Mark Shaw published the first edition of this paper on July 1, 1978.

“This is the first time the Aspen Daily News has had to cut back its budget like this in 30 years. We’ve never had to do this before,” he said. “We pretty much knew we were in a bubble the past few years, we just didn’t know it would pop. It popped when real estate transactions stopped and the real estate community significantly slashed its advertising.” ...

“We are in a much better position than many, many newspapers. First of all, we have no long-term debt. Secondly, we have institutional memory. Thirdly, Aspen’s an educated market that likes the printed word. And, lastly, we’re not impacted by what’s impacting other papers across the country and that is we don’t have paid circulation or charge monopolized advertising rates,” he said.


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