GJ Free Press names new publisher, the seventh in as many years

The Grand Junction Free Press has yet another publisher, its seventh in as many years of existence.

The weekly newspaper announced on its website this week that Kim Burner has been named publisher and general manager. She replaces Valerie J. Smith, who took over the then five-day-a-week newspaper in 2008. She downsized it to three days a week in 2009, and then to a weekly in March. Smith will continue to work for the paper’s owners in a marketing management role, the website said.

The paper is owned by Colorado Mountain News Media, a subsidiary of Carson City, Nev.-based Swift Communications, which also owns the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times and The Tribune of Greeley.

In 2005, the Grand Junction paper claimed a circulation as high as 20,000.

But it has had trouble keeping leadership since. In 2008, it went through three publishers in three months, making it six publishers in its five years.

According to the website, Burner, a Colorado native, had been operating two other newspapers in the chain, the Sky Hi News and Middle Park Times in Grand County.

It is unknown when the change will become effective.


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