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Donating to nonprofit media outlets on #GivingNewsDay, not for-profit conservative newspaper companies

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December 1, 2021, 1:42 pm

On #GivingNewsDay, I donated to my three favorite Colorado nonprofit media sites working hard to cover environmental, health, political, immigration, race and inequality issues and provide that content free of charge to understaffed publications around the state, including my own website, RealVail.com.

The three 501(c)3 nonprofits I supported (meaning you can deduct the donation on your taxes) are, in no particular order, the Colorado Times RecorderColorado Newsline and Writers on the Range.

I did not share any of my hard-earned freelance funds with for-profit media companies that have accepted taxpayer dollars in the form of forgivable PPP “loans” and other bailout funds, and, in my opinion, have not done enough to support freelancers and longtime journalists whose institutional knowledge is invaluable in communities like ours. My reasons remain the same.

The O Zone by David O. Williams
The O. Zone

Nothing about Tuesday’s news of the pending buyout of Swift Communications (the Vail Daily’s parent company) by West Virginia’s Ogden Newspapers leads me to believe my stance on this issue will be changing anytime soon.

Ogden CEO Robert Nutting has earned the nickname Bottom Line Bob for his terrible tenure as owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Apparently, he’s as bad or worse than the hapless Colorado Rockies owners, the Monforts. 

I fondly remember the We Are Family Pirates (think Willie Stargell) when we lived in D.C. and owned a ski cabin in western Pennsylvania near our home mountain of Blue Knob. Other than three years under former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, Bottom Line Bob’s ownership of the Bucs has been sad and pathetic, much like the Monfort reign with the Rox.

The fact Nutting owns some crappy ski areas in PA (I can say that because I learned to ski there) will in no way endear him to ski towns like Aspen and Vail, and it’s hard to believe he’ll invest in journalists and editors as the traditional family-owned newspaper model circles drains around the nation – let alone lowly freelancers like me.

On top of team mismanagement, it also seems like BLB and the Ogdens are conservative donors to the GOP, which makes some amount of sense – most business owners do trend Republican. But these days it means backing Mad-MAGA insurrectionist anti-vaxxers like the ones running for local school boards.

Couple of quick notes on what may end up being my swansong contribution to the Vail Daily – my school board column prior to last month’s election that first appeared on RealVail.com: It was just that, an unpaid contribution to the local dialogue. I have not had a Swift-paid byline in the Vail Daily since March of 2020.

I am not part of the Vail Daily team, as one factually challenged letter writer insinuated, and I stand by everything I wrote. If you launch your political career in a nonpartisan race by standing on the same stage as toxic U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert – in a county Boebert lost by 23 percentage points — you deserve to see that political career end at infancy.

What was strange to me is that the Vail Daily endorsed candidates and issues in every 2021 race locally, except school board. The local paper of record should have done more to cover the issues I raised in pre-election news stories, and then they should have endorsed candidates in that race.

Who knows if they’ll be able to opine at all under new ownership based in a coal state with a DINO senator who’s holding President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda hostage – an agenda, especially on the climate front, that’s wildly popular in snow-starved, drought-and-fire-ravaged Colorado.

I can’t see a GOP mouthpiece pub flying in a place like Aspen, which leans progressive and where Swift’s Aspen Times already has direct daily competition from the Aspen Daily News. And if Ogden takes that tack there or in any of their other markets, from Vail to Steamboat, they’ll be opening themselves up to Colorado competition – online, on the airwaves, and maybe even in print.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

2 Responses to Donating to nonprofit media outlets on #GivingNewsDay, not for-profit conservative newspaper companies

  1. Cal Bozeman Reply

    December 1, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    I’m stoked about the sale. The Vail daily was a disgusting pinko commie rag under Swifts ownership. It has great potential for improvement and could one day become a valuable asset to the community. They should focus on reporting unbiased news and scrap the babbling idiot opinion pieces.

    • David O. Williams Reply

      December 1, 2021 at 6:04 pm

      I agree, Cal. Their leading local conservative columnist is clearly a Bolshevik. When I started at the VD in the early 90s the publisher didn’t allow local opinion pieces (why cost a possible advertiser?), so let’s MVDGA (Make the Vail Daily Great Again)!

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