Report on Aspen’s news landscape

Colorado News Collaborative: The Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) is a nonprofit seeking to stop the spread of news deserts in our state. We serve as a local media resource hub and ideas lab that champions high-quality local news reporting and civic engagement as essential to public accountability, and helps communities craft new ways to financially sustain better coverage. Our team works toward the day when all Coloradans see access to unflinching local news as an unconditional right.

In June, Aspen Times reporter and interim editor Rick Carroll reached out to us for help. The paper’s new owner, Ogden Newspapers, had agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a Soviet-born billionaire who, just as Russia invaded Ukraine last winter, bought land for a hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain for seven times what it sold for eight months earlier. Vladislav Doronin claimed Carroll’s story about the land deal defamed him by calling him a Russian oligarch. Times’ executives refused to publish Carroll’s follow-up story that revealed documentation appearing to refute Doronin’s assertion that he divested from Russia years earlier. Given that none of Aspen’s three other news outlets seemed to notice the apparent contradiction, Carroll had one question for COLab, and it was urgent: Could we help find somewhere or some way to let the community know what he had found?

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