About Us

Water, colored orange after rainstorm, flows down the Fryingpan River just above its confluence with the Roaring Fork River, on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.

Brent Gardner-Smith / Aspen Journalism

Water, colored orange after rainstorm, flows down the Fryingpan River just above its confluence with the Roaring Fork River, on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.

Aspen Journalism is a local, nonprofit, independent news organization.

Our mission is to produce investigative, in-depth and insightful journalism, as well-informed citizens make better decisions.

We cover the Roaring Fork River watershed on the Western Slope of Colorado, with an emphasis on Aspen, Snowmass Village and Pitkin County.

We often collaborate with other local media organizations on stories and projects and seek to present local public data in a useful and compelling way.

We’re supported by people who have a stake in our coverage area and appreciate good journalism.


Brent Gardner-Smith
Brent Gardner-Smith is editor, executive director and founder of Aspen Journalism. He is currently covering rivers and water in collaboration with The Aspen Times and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Brent's also served as a reporter at the Aspen Daily News and The Aspen Times, the news director at WMVY-FM, and the executive director of Aspen Public Radio. Brent has a master's degree in journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism and as part of his master's program he interned in ProPublica's communications department for four months in 2010.

Bob Ward
Bob Ward is the former editor of The Aspen Times. He is currently covering education for Aspen Journalism in collaboration with The Aspen Times.

Catherine Lutz
Catherine Lutz is the former managing editor of the Aspen Daily News and has developed local public data projects for Aspen Journalism in collaboration with the Aspen Business Journal and Aspen Sojourner.

Other talented journalists
We've also worked with Madeleine Osberger, Paul Andersen, Tim Mutrie, John Colson, Nelson Harvey, Alan Best, Zach Ornitz, Jason Alcorn, Heather Rousseau, and Devon Meyers on stories and projects.

Reporting collaborations

Since our founding in January, 2011, we’ve collaborated on stories and/or projects with a number of local and regional news organizations:

The Aspen Times
Aspen Daily News
Aspen Sojourner
The Snowmass Sun
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Denver Post
Grassroots TV
Aspen Public Radio
The Aspen Business Journal
The Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network

Journalism advisory board

Roger Adams, former news director, Aspen Public Radio
Dave Danforth, owner and staff mascot, Aspen Daily News
Charles Davis, dean, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia
Charles Firestone, executive director, Aspen Institute Communications & Society Program
Laura Frank, executive director, Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network, and vice president of news, Rocky Mountain PBS
Sarah Gilman, contributing editor, High Country News
Rem Rieder, editor at large and media columnist, USA Today
Curtis Robinson, co-founder, Roaring Fork Sunday, former editor, Aspen Daily News
Steve Skinner, general manager, KDNK, Carbondale
Andy Stone, columnist, former editor, The Aspen Times
Mike Webb, sales and marketing director, Honolulu Civil Beat

Board of directors

Tim McFlynn, chair
Tim is the executive director of Public Counsel of the Rockies, the chair of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board, and a Manaus Fund board member.

Edgar Boyles
Edgar is an Emmy-winning cameraman and director of photography at WildWood Films in Aspen. Edgar has 40 years of experience filming in mountainous and remote locations.

Mark Harvey
Mark Harvey is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He is the author of “The NOLS Wilderness Guide” and the producer and director of the documentary “A Land Out of Time.” Mark is the current president of the board of EcoFlight and has served on the board of High Country News, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Public Counsel of the Rockies.

Michael McVoy
Michael is an Aspen-based investment adviser, the former co-publisher of The Aspen Times, and a Manaus Fund board member.

Harry Teague
Harry Teague is the founder and principal designer at Harry Teague Architects. He has lived in the Aspen area since 1972, when he received his M. Arch. from the Yale School of Architecture. Teague’s work, which includes the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, has been widely recognized and appreciated.

Leading financial supporters, 2011 to present

Alpenglow Foundation
Arches Foundation
Aspen Business Center Foundation
Brett Family Foundation
Jessica and Henry Catto Memorial Fund
Nick DeWolf Foundation
Fullerton Family Charitable Trust
Mark Harvey
Joanne and Lee Lyon
Maki Foundation
The Manaus Fund
Margulf Foundation
Ernst and Wilma Martens Foundation
John McBride
New-Land Foundation
Sopris Foundation
George Stranahan
Thrift Shop of Aspen
Walton Family Foundation

A nonprofit news organization

Aspen Journalism has been determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be an exempt organization under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Our federal EIN is 35-2400162. Please use our donate button below to donate, or donate via AmazonSmile Foundation.

Aspen Journalism’s Form 990s
2014 Form 990-EZ
2013 Form 990-EZ
2012 Form 990-EZ
2011 Form 990-EZ

Aspen Journalism’s Annual Reports
2014 annual report
2013 annual report
2012 annual report
2011 annual report

Articles about Aspen Journalism
American Journalism Review
Columbia Journalism Review

Ethics and standards:

Policy on editorial independence

We subscribe to INN’s standards of editorial independence as follows:

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We will maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization also may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors.

Journalistic guidance

We take journalistic guidance from the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics, the Associated Press' news values and principles, and The New York Times' standards and ethics guidelines.

Journalistic inspiration

We take inspiration from the late Bil Dunaway, the owner, publisher, and editor of The Aspen Times. Given our admiration of Dunaway's approach to local journalism, which included serving as the Aspen city hall reporter, we consider that whoever is editor of Aspen Journalism is staffing "the Dunaway Desk," and, as such, that they should keep Dunaway's record of diligently informing local citizens in mind.

Use Aspen Journalism’s work, please!

Aspen Journalism’s work is available under a Creative Commons License and our guidelines.

You can republish our articles and graphics for free (without any cost to you), but:

you can’t edit our material, except to reflect relative changes in time, location and editorial style;

if you’re republishing online, you have to link to us and include all of the links in the story;

you can’t sell our material separately;

it’s fine to put our stories on pages with ads, but not ads specifically sold against our stories;

you can’t republish our material wholesale, or automatically; you need to select stories to be republished individually;

you have to credit us – ideally in the byline. We prefer “Author Name, Aspen Journalism,” with a link to our homepage or the article; and

you have to tag our work with an editor's note that says “Aspen Journalism is an independent nonprofit news organization. See www.AspenJournalism.org,” and include a link, thank you.