Parent company of Vail Daily sells to Ogden Newspapers
Deal is set to close Dec. 31
Swift Communications, the parent company of the Vail Daily and other Colorado mountain town newspapers, is selling its local media and publishing businesses to West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers, the companies announced Tuesday morning.
Ogden Newspapers is a fifth-generation, family-owned and operated newspaper company, founded in 1890 by H.C Ogden. In his announcement, Robert Nutting, CEO of Ogden Newspapers and The Nutting Co., reiterated his family’s commitment to the industry and the critical role of community newspapers.
The deal is scheduled to close Dec. 31, and with the acquisition Ogden Newspapers will publish 54 daily newspapers and a number of weekly newspapers and magazines in 18 states.
Founded in 1975, the second- and third-generation family-owned Swift Communications has operated magazines, newspapers, websites, book publishing and other digital products in Western state cities. In Colorado, that includes The Aspen Times and Snowmass Sun, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Vail Daily, Summit Daily News, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig Press and Sky-Hi News near Winter Park. The Eagle Valley Enterprise, the longest-running business in Eagle County, is also part of the sale. Swift also included publications and offices in Park City, Utah; Lake Tahoe and Grass Valley, California; and Carson City, Nevada.
‘Passing the baton’
“The publications, communities and most of all the great people who have been a part of our company since its founding in 1975 will be very much missed,” Bill Waters, CEO and chairman of the board of Swift Communications, said in the announcement. “We know the time has come to pass the baton of stewardship to new owners who can carry forward the important mission.”
Support Local Journalism
Ogden Newspapers will continue Swift’s focus on publishing newspapers that provide unique and compelling local content to readers and value to the newspaper’s business partners, Nutting added.
“I will miss working with the Swift leadership team, especially Bob Brown, who has been a great mentor and partner,” Vail Daily Publisher Mark Wurzer said. “I am pleased we are being acquired by a company like Ogden Newspapers. Throughout their 130-year history as a five-generation family owned media company, Ogden has demonstrated the same commitment to local autonomy, staff, local journalism, helping businesses and supporting communities in the way Swift has since 1975.”
That came as good news to local residents reached for this story.
Vail Town Council member Kim Langmaid as a youngster delivered some of the first editions of the Vail Daily when it was one photocopied sheet of paper.
Since then, Langmaid has dealt with the Daily as an educator, an entrepreneur and elected officials.
“The Vail Daily has always been a partner … you do a great job keeping tabs on things,” Landmaid said, adding she hopes that continues.
Trevor Theelke of Land Title Guarantee Co. said he also hopes the Daily continues its focus on local news and events.
“You can always read different papers online, but when you’re looking for that local information, you go to the Daily,” Theelke said.
Nutting said Ogden intends to keep that focus on local news, for readers, advertisers and community members.
“We also are excited for the opportunity to work with and serve the businesses in these markets to help them continue to get their message in front of customers,” Nutting said. “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. We believe that strong, responsible and connected local newspapers are critically important to building and supporting strong communities now more than ever.”
Local presence essential
Eagle River Watershed Council Director Holly Loff said that local presence depends on people living in the communities they cover.
“You’re all members of this community,” Loff said of the current Vail Daily staff. “We see all of you out and about … it feels like I can talk with all of you.”
At the moment, it looks like most Swift employees will continue in their roles.
That came as good news to outgoing Vail Mayor Dave Chapin.
“I was concerned that people would maintain their jobs, and, No. 2, the paper would still have that local feel,” Chapin said. “It’s a local paper, with local people who write in it.”
Ogden will continue to operate the existing Swift publications under the name Swift Communications. After the closing date, Swift will change its name to Questor Corp. Acres USA and Breaking Ground Institute will be part of Questor, along with a portfolio of commercial and residential real estate properties in various states.