The Benedict Building,, home to Aspen Journalism.

About Aspen Journalism

Aspen Journalism is an independent nonprofit journalism organization, founded in 2011, and based in Aspen, Colorado.

Our mission is to produce local investigative reporting, as it is an effective and efficient way to tell citizens about important and relevant issues.

Aspen Journalism is supported by individuals and foundation leaders who agree that well-informed citizens make better decisions and who believe in the value of a vigorous and free press.

Our coverage area radiates outward from Aspen to the Western Slope, to Colorado, to the Colorado River basin, and to the West.

Since 2011 Aspen Journalism has covered water, education, land-use, local government, housing, transportation, energy, wealth, real estate, the ski industry, and development.

Brent Gardner-Smith is editor and executive director of Aspen Journalism.

Brent is currently reporting on water and rivers in the Colorado River basin in collaboration with The Aspen Times, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, the Vail Daily, the Summit Daily, the Sky-Hi News the Steamboat Pilot and the Greeley Tribune.

Freelance reporting

A growing list of talented reporters and writers have reported for Aspen Journalism, on a freelance basis.

Heather Sackett
Ali Margo
Jason Blevins
Lindsay Fendt
Sarah Tory
Allen Best
Tim Cooney
Catherine Lutz
Madeline Osberger
Paul Andersen
Robert Ward
John Colson
Tim Mutrie
David Frey

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, as in, “Aspen Journalism is an independent nonprofit news organization. See www.aspenjournalism.org for more.” And please include a link to our site.

Ethics and standards

We take journalistic guidance from the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics, the Associated Press’ standards and practices, and The New York Times’ standards and ethics guidelines. We are a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Colorado Press Association.

Journalism advisory board

Curtis Robinson
Curtis is the co-founder of Roaring Fork Sunday and a former editor of the Aspen Daily News. He remains at-large. He’s also the chair of our journalism advisory board.

Dave Danforth
Dave is the former owner of the Aspen Daily News, and remains a columnist at the paper.

Charles Davis
Charles is dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and is the co-author of “Principles of American Journalism.”

Charlie Firestone
Charlie is the executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and previously was director of the communications law program at UCLA.

Laura Frank
Laura is the chief content officer at Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver and a former investigative reporter at the Rocky Mountain News.

John Masters
John is the executive director GrassRoots Community Network.

Carolyn Sackariason
Carolyn is a reporter at The Aspen Times. She’s also served as news director at Aspen Public Radio and editor at the Aspen Daily News and the Snowmass Sun.

Steve Skinner
Steve is a columnist at the Aspen Daily News, served as general manager at KDNK, and is now guiding KFFR, a public radio station in Grand County.

Andy Stone
Andy is the former editor of The Aspen Times, where he also wrote a column for years. He’s the author of “Aspen Drift.”

Mike Webb
Mike is a vice president at the public relations firm, BerlinRosen. Previously, he was the sales and marketing director at Civil Beat and the vice president of communications at ProPublica.

Board of Directors

Mark Harvey
Mark is a rancher, 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 boards of High Country News, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, and Public Counsel of the Rockies.

Tim McFlynn
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.

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 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.

Financial and Legal Advisors

Denise Jurgens
Denise is a CPA and partner at Reese Henry and Company with deep expertise in auditing and accounting services and has a vast knowledge of IRS rules for not-for-profit organizations. Since 2011, Denise has overseen preparation of Aspen Journalism’s annual tax filings and provides guidance and oversight on nonprofit and financial matters.

Mike Marolt
Mike is a CPA and a KPMG Peat Marwick alumni. He’s also one of the first Americans to climb and ski down 8,000-meter mountains. Mike prepares Aspen Journalism’s monthly and annual financial statements and provides us with the same level-headed guidance that he does to his climbing partners on the big peaks.

Ken Ransford
Legal adviser
Ken is an attorney, investment adviser, and CPA specializing in income tax and estate tax law for small businesses, individuals, and nonprofit organizations. Ken prepared and filed Aspen Journalism’s successful application in 2011 to obtain 501c3 status for Aspen Journalism and he offers us guidance on nonprofit matters as necessary.

An 1892 stock certificate for 100 shares of The Empress of Aspen Mining Company typifies the grand style of the Victorian era. On the left of the certificate is a drawing of what appears to be the top of Tourtelotte Park.


Aspen Journalism is supported by individuals and foundations who appreciate the importance of investigative journalism and shoe-leather reporting.

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.

Editorial independence policy

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Aspen Journalism is an independent news organization and retains full authority over its editorial content.

We are aware of the pitfalls that can arise when a news organization accepts any form of revenue, either in the nonprofit model in the form of donations, or in the commercial model in the form of advertising. As such, we diligently maintain a firewall between revenue and the newsroom.

Our news judgments are made independently and are not based on or influenced by donors.

Our organization accepts donations to support the coverage of particular beats, or broad coverage areas, but our organization maintains editorial control of all of the resulting coverage.

We cede no right of review or influence of any of our editorial content.

We do not accept anonymous donations.

We disclose all donations. We list donations in a transparent fashion, by name, date, and amount, as soon as we receive them.

When we deem it necessary and appropriate (it’s a low bar), we disclose our donors, and key stakeholders, in our stories or in an editor’s note.

Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, actions, or opinions.

We recognize, and appreciate, that our nonprofit model relies on donations, and that all of our donors expect us to retain our independent editorial judgement and scrupulous adherence to journalist standards. So we do.

Form 990s

2017 Form 990-EZ
2016 Form 990-EZ
2015 Form 990-EZ
2014 Form 990-EZ
2013 Form 990-EZ
2012 Form 990-EZ
2011 Form 990-EZ

Annual Reports

2017 annual report
2016 annual report
2015 annual report
2014 annual report
2013 annual report
2012 annual report
2011 annual report

Aspen Historical Society

January 1972, Aspen City Council chambers. Aspen Times Editor Bil Dunaway, right, sits in his customary front-row seat.

Journalistic inspiration

We take inspiration from the late Bil Dunaway, the former owner, publisher, and editor of The Aspen Times.

Early press coverage

Aspen Journalism: Collaborations for a Colorado Ski Town,” 2011, Columbia Journalism Review

Keeping an eye on Aspen,” 2012, American Journalism Review