11 newspapers in Colorado’s high country sold to a West Virginia-based company

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A view of fall colors on McClure Pass, Sunday, September 16, 2021.

A chain of 11 newspapers covering Colorado’s high country are being sold by their parent company, Swift Communications.

Swift, which owns publications across the Western United States, is selling all its local media operations to Ogden Newspapers, a West Virginia-based and family-owned company that mainly operates newspapers in the Midwest and East Coast.

The Colorado newspapers moving into Ogden’s portfolio include The Aspen Times, Sky-Hi News, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Fence Post in Greeley, and more. Swift acquired several of its Colorado papers in the 90’s. In late 2008, it shuttered several publications, including the Leadville Chronicle. 

“We know the time has come to pass the baton of stewardship to new owners who can carry forward the important mission.” Swift Communications CEO Bill Waters said in an announcement to employees. 

The new owners said operations will remain largely unchanged. Digital articles on Swift publication websites are not paywalled, a departure from the policies at many other news outlets. 

“Our company’s goal is to be a positive force in the communities we serve — celebrating each market’s unique strengths while also working to provide realistic solutions to areas of concern,” Ogden CEO Robert Nutting said. “We believe that strong, responsible and connected local newspapers are critically important to building and supporting strong communities now more than ever.”

The deal is set to close December 31. Ogden will continue to operate its newly acquired papers under the name Swift Communications, while Swift will change its name to Questor Corporation following the sale.

The Swift papers are not the only Colorado publications going through a change in ownership. The La Junta Tribune Democrat announced Wednesday that, effective immediately, it will be run by CherryRoad Media, a newly formed subsidiary of CherryRoadTechnologies. 

"We all know the current state of this newspaper is not ideal. We are not providing enough coverage of the local topics you want to read about. We are not reliably delivering the paper to your home. Our subscription pricing models are confusing,” the Tribune Democrat’s publisher, Jeremy Gulban, said in a statement. “In short, the newspaper is not all that it should be."

The newspaper was previously owned by Gannett, a media conglomerate that also owns the Fort Collins Coloradoan.