Aspen Daily News sold

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Dave Danforth, founder of the Aspen (Colo.) Daily News, announced that he has sold the newspaper he founded 39 years ago to a group of local investors led by David Cook, the acting publisher. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Danforth founded the Daily News with two partners, producing a double-sided, 8-by-11-inch publication that aggressively pursued investigations into local government and business institutions. It was the town's only daily newspaper when it was launched. The weekly Aspen Times soon followed and began publishing on a daily cycle. Aspen remains one of just nine cities where competing daily newspapers are published.

Danforth attributed the success of the enterprise to the community of Aspen. "Whenever I wanted to know why it worked, I looked out my window," he said. "Soon everyone wanted to read the Daily News, and you can do worse than that." 

Following the successful launch of the Daily News model, Danforth helped launch other newspapers in Conway, N.H.; Santa Monica, Calif.; and Palo Alto, Calif.  Danforth said he plans to continue to write his column which will run in the Sunday edition and advise others in the media business.

David Cook also owns TV station 82 in Aspen. The other investors in the new ownership group include three prominent local real estate brokers. The new owners plan to continue to carry on Danforth's legacy, rooted in editorial independence, said Cook, but he added that the new owners also plan to implement some new initiatives. All existing staff will maintain their jobs.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, N.M., advised David Danforth in the transaction.

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