About Us

AJ-Final-Logo

Our mission is to inform citizens on issues relevant to the communities in the Roaring Fork River watershed, the Western Slope, the state of Colorado, and the West.

We often collaborate with other news organizations on stories and projects.

Our executive director and editor is Brent Gardner-Smith, who is currently reporting on water in Colorado in collaboration with the Aspen Daily News and Coyote Gulch.

Prior to founding Aspen Journalism, Gardner-Smith worked as a reporter at the Aspen Daily News and The Aspen Times and served as executive director of Aspen Public Radio. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism. In 2010, as part of his graduate program, Brent worked as a paid intern in the communications department of ProPublica in New York.

Since being launched in January 2011, Aspen Journalism has worked with a number of freelance journalists to produce quality reporting on a range of subjects and we’re proud to feature their bylines on our stories.

Aspen Journalism’s office is located in the Benedict Building in Aspen at 1248 Ute Avenue, Suite 4.

We welcome comments, suggestions and questions at news@aspenjournalism.org and (970) 948-1930.

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.

We also look to our journalism advisory board for insight and counsel.

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

Aspen Journalism 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.

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.

Leading donors

Donations of $1,000 and above, by year:

2011

Nick DeWolf Foundation
Joanne and Lee Lyon
The Manaus Fund
Martens Foundation
Sopris Foundation
Thrift Shop of Aspen

2012

Aspen Business Center Foundation
Brett Family Foundation
Nick DeWolf Foundation
KNBC Moore

2013

Brett Family Foundation
Linda Conger
Nick DeWolf Foundation
Mark Harvey
Valery Kelly
Martens Foundation
John McBride
Pam Moore
New-Land Foundation
George Stranahan
Walton Family Foundation

2014

Alpenglow Foundation
Aspen Daily News
Catto Foundation
Fullerton Family Foundation
Maki Foundation
Margulf Foundation
Martens Foundation
Harry Teague*
Walton Family Foundation

2015

Arches Foundation
Aspen Business Center Foundation
Bob Bowden
Brett Family Foundation
Carol Craig
Nick DeWolf Foundation
RJ and Nancy Gallagher*
Mark Harvey*
Cathy and Walter Isaacson*
Margulf Foundation
Ernst and Wilma Martens Foundation
John McBride*
Michael McVoy*
Tim and Donna McFlynn*
John Orr
Barbara Reeves
George Stranahan

2016

David “Skip” Berhorst
John Orr
Curtis Robinson*
Margulf Foundation
Walton Family Foundation

* members of Aspen Journalism’s Publisher’s Circle, our version of a national council.

Aspen Journalism’s Form 990s
2015 Form 990-EZ
2014 Form 990-EZ
2013 Form 990-EZ
2012 Form 990-EZ
2011 Form 990-EZ

Aspen Journalism’s Annual Reports
2015 annual report
2014 annual report
2013 annual report
2012 annual report
2011 annual report

Ethics and standards:

Policy on editorial independence

We embrace the editorial independence policy of the Institute for Nonprofit News, of which we are a member.

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 who give a total of $1,000 or more. We do not accept anonymous donations (which differs from the INN policy).

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.

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. They should also directly follow his practice of consistently attending, and reporting on, public meetings.

January, 1972, Aspen city council chambers. Aspen Times Editor Bil Dunaway, right, sits in his customary front-row seat. A former world class ski racer, he seems bemused by the anti-Olympics protest. In 1970, Denver and the Colorado mountains had been awarded the 1976 winter Olympics, but a protest against the games, and the growth they could bring, broke out in Colorado by '72. Eventually state voters rejected a funding question and the 1976 games were held in Innsbruck, Austria instead.

Aspen Historical Society

January, 1972, Aspen city council chambers. Aspen Times Editor Bil Dunaway, right, sits in his customary front-row seat. A former world class ski racer, he seems bemused by the anti-Olympics protest. In 1970, Denver and the Colorado mountains had been awarded the 1976 winter Olympics, but a protest against the games, and the growth they could bring, broke out in Colorado by '72. Eventually state voters rejected a funding question and the 1976 games were held in Innsbruck, Austria instead.