Swift Newspapers, owner of several free dailies in Colorado, announced today that it has appointed Valerie Smith as the publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. She will replace Jim Hyatt, who became publisher in May and now has left the company, according to the rival Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Smith has worked for Swift since 1993 and was publisher of its Glenwood Springs Post Independent and associate publisher of its Vail Daily.
Speaking about the Vail Daily, it has a new editor — its old editor, Don Rogers. Rogers left the Vail paper last year to head up another Swift paper, the Record-Courier in Gardnerville, Nev. But he's back in Vail, possibly because the Vail Daily is facing new competition in the form of the Vail Mountaineer, a free daily started by the founder of the Vail Daily, Jim Pavelich. Pavelich sold the Vail Daily in 1993 and decided to start publishing again because he didn't like the way his old paper was covering the news. Rogers, who was editor in Vail from 1999 to 2007, also said there was another reason for returning to Vail. He said his family had not yet moved to Nevada, and that he was returning often to visit with them. "I got the chance to experience the Daily more as a regular reader, and I think that gave me valuable insights that I would not have from the inside. And working in a new place has given me fresh perspective," he said in a Vail Daily article.
Rogers will replace Alex Miller, who is moving to Summit County to be the editor of the Summit Daily News. It's also a Swift paper.
In Boulder, the Colorado Daily — the oldest free daily in the U.S. — has a new editor. Matt Sebastian was previously city editor of Boulder's paid paper, the Daily Camera. In the past, the Colorado Daily and Daily Camera were rivals, but today they're owned by the same company (Prairie Mountain Publishing, a joint venture with Denver-based MediaNews Group, publisher of the Denver Post) and operate out of the same building. "The two papers operate independent newsrooms but share some content, with editors at each publication selecting the stories that best suits their readership," said a story in the Camera announcing Sebastian's appointment.