About & Contact

Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

Aspen Journalism is an independent journalism organization founded in 2011 and based in Aspen, Colorado. We are a 501c3 nonprofit corporation and considered an educational organization by the IRS.

Our mission is to produce quality in-depth journalism, as we believe well-informed citizens make better decisions. Our approach is both investigative and collaborative.

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. He’s currently reporting on water and rivers in the Colorado River basin in collaboration with The Aspen Times and other news organizations.

Our office is in the Benedict Building in Aspen at 1280 Ute Avenue, Suite 4.

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

Our mailing and office address is:

Aspen Journalism
1280 Ute Avenue, Suite 4
Aspen, CO 81611


Our approach to producing journalism is collaborative. We work directly with other journalists when reporting our stories, without written agreements. We do not charge anything for our work, but we do highly value the editorial services our collaborative news partners provide. They work with us to develop, edit and publish our reporting, mainly on their website and newspapers, but also on their television and radio stations.

We then publish the resulting stories on the Aspen Journalism website, often in expanded form with links to source documents and additional photos, graphs and maps. And once it is on our website, anyone else can publish the work, without charge (see guidelines below). It is an efficient and effective way to get reporting done and produce good stories. And at the core of the collaborations is trust between an editor and a reporter.

Current collaborations:

on water and rivers in the upper Colorado River basin

The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Vail Daily
Summit Daily News
Steamboat Pilot
The Greeley Tribune
Coyote Gulch

on Aspen’s immigrant labor force

Aspen Sojourner

Prior collaborations:

on water and rivers in the upper Colorado River basin

Aspen Daily News
High Country News

on land use

The Aspen Times

on education

The Aspen Times

on local government

GrassRoots TV
Aspen Daily News
Aspen Public Radio

on wealth and real estate

Denver Post
Aspen Sojourner

on Aspen history

Aspen Daily News

Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

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.

Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

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

Roger Adams
Roger is the former news director at Aspen Public Radio. He’s also served as news director at WDET, Detroit Public Radio and as program director for Wyoming Public Radio.

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.

Sarah Gilman
Sarah is a contributing editor at High Country News and a former reporter at the Aspen Daily News.

John Masters
John is the executive director GrassRoots Community Network.

Mike McPhee
Mike is an author and a former reporter The Denver Post, where he shared in a Pulitzer Prize in 2000.

Rem Rieder
Rem served as an editor-at-large and the media columnist at USA Today and previously was the editor of American Journalism Review.

Curtis Robinson
Curtis is the co-founder of Roaring Fork Sunday and a former editor of the Aspen Daily News. He remains at-large.

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.


John Orr, 9.20.18, $5
Mark Harvey, 9.11.18, $1,000
John Orr, 8.20.18, $5
Brent Gardner-Smith, 8.13.18, $50
Maggie and Nick DeWolf Foundation, 8.7.18, $1,000
Amory Lovins, 7.20.18, $150
John Orr, 7.20, 18, $5
John Orr, 6.20.18, $5
John Orr, 5.20.18, $5
Ken Ransford, 4.27.18, $1,700
John Orr, 4.20.18, $5
John Orr, 3.20.18, $5
“News Match” 3.6.18, $27,171
Democracy Fund;
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation;
Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation; and
the Fund for Nonprofit News at The Miami Foundation
Brent Gardner-Smith, 3.1.18, $30
John Orr, 2.20.18, $5
Walton Family Foundation, 2.16.18, $100,000
Linda and Stewart Resnick via Resnick Foundation, 1.30.18, $2,500
John Orr, 1.20.18, $5
Richard Fallin via Kaye Foundation, 1.17.18, $1,500
Brent Gardner-Smith, 1.7.18, $250
Judith Barnard and Michael Fain, 1.5.18, $500


Brent Gardner-Smith, 2.23.17, $200
Walton Family Foundation, 3.3.17, $100,000
Katie Dahl, 3.16.17, $10
Tim Cooney, 3.13.17, $20
John Masters, 3.28.17, $100
Mark Harvey, 4.26.17, $2,000
Harry Teague, 5.30.17, $1,000
Tim McFlynn, 6.7.17 $100
Maggie and Nick DeWolf Foundation, 6.7.17, $5,000
John McBride, 7.3.17, $1,000
Edgar Boyles, 7.11.17, $100
Mary Dominick-Coomer and Sven Coomer, 7.17.17, $150
Maggie and Nick DeWolf Foundation, 8.8.17, $5,000
Brent Gardner-Smith, 10.5.17, $100
Mark Harvey, 10.11.17, $3,000
John Orr, 10.20.17, $5
Sara Ransford, Arches Foundation, 11.10.17, $250
Catena Foundation, 11.11.17, $15,000
John Orr, 11.20.17, $5
Kay Lima, 10.20.17, $1
Brent Gardner-Smith, 11.21.17, $51
Gavin Dahl, 11.21.17, $25
Mark Harvey, 11.21.17, $200
Brent Gardner-Smith, 11.22.17, $11
Harry Teague, 11.28.17, $51
Loretta Lohman, 11.28.17, $26
Marcella Larsen, 11.28.17, $511
Austin Gardner-Smith, 11.28.17, $103
Paul Menter, 11.28.17, $103
Caroline Bradford, 11.28.17, $103
Jim Pokrandt, 11.28.17, $103
Tim Cooney, 11.28.17, $26
Dave Danforth, 11.28.17, $256
Tim McFlynn, 11.28.17 $256
Catherine Lutz, 11.28.17, $41
Brent Gardner-Smith, 11.29.17 $11
David Hyman, 11.30.17, $103
John McBride, 12.4.17, $1,000
Art Burrows, 12.5.17, $30
Patrick Hunter, 12.5.17, $103
Linda Conger Moore, 12.5.17, $103
Bill Jochems, 12.5.17, $100
Claudia Potamkin, 12.8.17, $100
Bill Spence, 12.6.17, $250
Sara Ransford (Arches Fnd), 12.8.17, $500
Frank Peters, 12.9.17, $500
Sue Cross, 12.9.17, $10
Brent Gardner-Smith, 12.12.17, $11
John Keheler, 12.12.17, $26
Kay Lima, 12.12.17, $2
Stan Bialek, 12.12.17, $50
John Sarpa, 12.12.17, $52
Simon Pinniger, 12.12.17, $105
Ken Ransford, 12.12.17, $250
Harry Teague, 12.12.17, $950
Barbara Reese, 12.12.17, $250
Michael McVoy, 12.12.17, $1,000
Edgar Boyles, 12.13.17, $100
Cristal Logan, 12.13.17, $50
Amory Lovins, 12.14.17, $150
Bruce Berger, 12.14.17, $500
Carol Craig, 12.14.17, $1,000
Peter Looram, 12.14.17, $1,000
Barbara Reese, 12.14.17, $2,563
Robert Pew, 12.16.17, $1,000
Michal Brimm, 12.17.17, $3,000
George Stranahan, 1.18.17, $1,000
Patti Stranahan, 1.18.17, $1,000
Sloan Shoemaker, 12.19.17, $103
Mike Webb, 12.19.17, $103
Joel Scott, 12.19.17, $103
John Orr, 12.20.17, 45
Chuck Ogilby, 12.28.17, $200
Tom Hirsch, 12.20.17, $25
Curtis Robinson, 12.21.17, $1,000
Nina Eisenstat, 12.21.17, $50
Rick Heede, 12.21.17, $52
Miranda Chapman, 12.21.17, $105
Jim DeFrancia, 12.21.17, $103
Toni Zurcher, 12.21.17, $50
George Sibley, 12.21.17, $25
Jon Banks, 12.21.17, $200
Lorenzo Semple, 12.21.17, $25
John and Janie Bennett, 12.22.17, $100
Bob Harris, 12.22.17, $150
Bob Bowden, 12.22.17, $100
Bob Purvis, 12.26.$1,000
Brent Gardner-Smith, 12.26.17, $30
Paulina VanderNoorda, 12.26.17, $75
Marci and Robert Musser, 12.27.17, $500
Gary Wockner, 12.27.17, $26
Phyllis Bronson, 12.27.17, $52
Michael Owsley, 12.27.17, $26
Skip Berhorst, 12.27.17, $155
Glenn Horn, 12.27.17, $100
John Masters, 12.28.17, $50
John McBride, Jr., 12.28,17, $1,000
Kate McBride, 12.28,17, $1,000
Lauri McBride, 12.28.17, $1,000
Pete McBride, 12.28.17, $1,000
Randy Gold, 12.28.17, $25
James and Hensley Peterson, 12.29.17, $258
Mike Otte, 12.29.17, $100
Torie Jarvis, 12.29.17, $26
Andy Stone, 12.30.17, $52
James Campbell, 12.30.17, $100
Tim Westerbeck, 12.30.17, $103
Mark Harvey, 12.30.17, $500
Lynda Lynch, 12.30.17, $100
Steve Skinner, 12.31.17, $50
Lisa Tasker, 12.30.17, $25
Rhett Armstrong, 12.31.17, $75
Chip Comins, 12.31.17, $100
Sara Garton, 12.31.17, $50
Michael Hassig, 12.31.17, $100
Brent Gardner-Smith, 12.31.17, $100
Ann Knight, 12.31.17, $500
Tim McFlynn, 12.31.17, $100
Dave Nixa, 12.31.17, $25
Bob and Ruth Wade, via Ute Mountaineer, 12.31.17, $100


Carol Craig, 1.4.16, $1,932
Michael McVoy, 1.4.16, $1,000
R.J. Gallahger, 1.4.16, $1,000
Curtis Robinson, 1.28.16, $1,000
Margulf Foundation, 2.25.16, $50,000
Walton Family Foundation, 3.30.16, $100,000
John McBride (ABC Foundation) 10.19.16, $1,000
Sara Ransford (Arches Foundation), 11.30.16, $250
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation), 12.27.16, $3,000


George Stranahan, 1.6.15, $25,000
Mark Harvey, 1.6.15, $5,000
Michael McVoy, 1.6.15, $250
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation), 1.6.15, $2,000
Carol Craig, 1.27.16, $1,508
Margulf Foundation, 3.26.17, $50,000
Brett Family Foundation, 5.8.15, $2,500
Bob Bowden, 6.10.15, $1,000
Nick DeWolf Foundation, 6.15.15, $5,000
Walter Isaacon, 8.28.15, $1,000
Tim McFlynn, 10.19.15, $250
John McBride (ABC Foundation), 10.19.15, $1,000
George Stranahan, 10.19.15, $25,000
Mark Harvey, 11.17.15, $3,000
Sara Ransford (Arches Foundation), 12.1.15, $250
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation), 12.15.15, $4,000
David Berhorst, 12.30.15, $300


Institute for Nonprofit News, 1.7.14, $228.06
Paulina VanderNoorda, 1.17.14, $100
MarGulf Foundation, 1.17.14, $50,000
Virgina Newtown, 1.18.14, $25
Catto Foundation, 2.21.14, $7,483
Institute for Nonprofit News, 2.24.14, $535.90
Brent Gardner-Smith, 2.25.14, $50
Tim Hurd, 3.5.14, $1
Alpenglow Foundation, 3.21.13, $17,517
Lee Mulcahy, 5.20.14, $250
Aspen Daily News, 6.2.14, $1,260
Sara Garton, 6.14.14, $50
Brett Family Foundation, 7.14.14, $3,000
Aspen Daily News, 9.8.14, $2,590
Mel Blumenthal, 10.7.14, $500
Mark Harvey (Maki Foundation, 10.7.14, $3,000
John Fullerton (Fullerton Family Fnd), 11.10.14, $10,000
Brent Gardner-Smith, 11.8.14, $50
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation), 12.18.14, $3,000
Sara Ransford (Arches Foundation), 12.17.14, $500
Walton Family Foundation, 12.30.14, $25,000
Harry Teague, 12.30.14, $1,000
Edgar Boyles, 12.30.14, $3,000
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation, 12.30.14, $3,000
John Orr, periodically, $45


Tim McFlynn, 4.2.13, $100
Brent Gardner-Smith, 4.14.13, $50
Paulina VanderNoorda, 5.7.13, $50
Ernie Ashley, 6.28.13, $250
Brett Family Foundation, 7.19.13, $2,500
T. Reeve, 8.13.13, $100
Edgar Boyles, 8.14.13, $100
Mary Dominick, 8.30.13, $150
Nick DeWolf Foundation, 8.30.13, $10,000
James Peterson, 9.3.13, $250
Rosemarie Lavendar, 9.5.13, $250
Pam Moore, 9.9.13, $2,500
C. Thompson, 9.10.13, $100
Linda Conger Moore, 9.16.13, $1,500
Dennis Vaughn, 9.18.13, $250
Lila LaHood, 10.1.13, $40
Valery Kelly, 10.4.13, $2,500
Brent Gardner-Smith, 10.7.13, $50
Paul Andersen, 10.10.13, $50
Greg Poschman, 10.14.13, $50
Harry Teague, 10.15.13, $100
Craig Blomquist, 10.16.13, $100
John McBride, 10.24.12, $12,500
Mark Harvey, 10.31.13, $3,000
Bruce Berger, 11.9.13, $250
Frank Peters, 11.1.13, $100
Walton Family Foundation, 11.19.13, $42,500
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation), 12.3.13, $5,000
George Stranahan, 12.6.13, $25,000
New-Land Foundation, 12.9.13, $10,000
Sara Ransford (Arches Foundation), 12.16.13, $500
Ginny Galicianao, 12.10, 13, $25


Brett Family Foundation, 6.26.12, $2,500
Nick DeWolf Foundation, 9.12.12, $25,000
John McBride (ABC Foundation), 11.15.13, $25,000
KNBC Moore, 12.13.12, $2,500


Manaus Foundation, 1.11.11, $55,000
Thrift Shop of Aspen, 5.13.11, $10,000
Manaus Foundation, 8.30.11, $2,500
John McBride (Sopris Foundation), 10.24.11, $25,000
Joanne Lyons, 11.10.11, $50,000
Nick DeWolf Foundation, 11.10.11, $20,000
Michal Brimm (Martens Foundation), 11.30.11, $2,500

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 donations on our About & Contact page, and we list donations by name, date, and amount.

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