Free Press cuts paper to three days a week

Grand Junction Free Press publisher Valerie J. Smith announced to her staff Monday that the paper will publish only three days a week starting next week, according to the paper’s Web site.

The paper will print Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It has printed Monday through Friday since its inception in 2003.

“The current economic conditions and shifts in ad spending have made it challenging for us to sustain a five-day publication schedule,” Smith said, according to the paper’s site.

When contacted by telephone, Smith referred all comment to Jim Morgan, general manager of Gypsum-based Colorado Mountain News Media, which owns the Free Press, 145 N. Fourth St.

“Decisions relative to such changes are based on what makes the most sense to our newspaper as a business and what makes the most sense for the community it serves,” Morgan said by telephone.

Morgan said other papers in the chain aren’t facing imminent scaling back.

“At this time I don’t know of any other similar changes that are being contemplated,” Morgan said.

Colorado Mountain News Media in December shut down four of its weekly publications: the Leadville Chronicle, the Spanish-language La Tribuna, the Valley Journal in Carbondale and the Vail Trail.

Morgan declined to confirm that two of the three remaining reporters were laid off from the Free Press. Two reporters were laid off in December, as were two other staff members.

Colorado Mountain News Media has been cutting staffing by as much as 20 percent, by several accounts. 

The Free Press has had six publishers in less than six years.

Other papers owned by Colorado Mountain News Media include the Aspen Times and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

Colorado Mountain News Media is a subsidiary of Swift Newspapers Inc., headquartered in Reno, Nev.


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