Bennett named new GSPI publisher |

Bennett named new GSPI publisher

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Jim NoelkerMike Bennett is looking forward to life in Glenwood Springs.

Summit Daily News publisher Mike Bennett will take over as the new publisher of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on Jan. 5.

Bennett, 51, who now lives in Frisco, was chosen from a stable of 13 candidates who applied for the job after former publisher Valerie J. Smith announced her resignation in October.

The search for a new publisher took about six weeks, a pretty typical time frame for filling the publisher position, Colorado Mountain News Media general manager Bob Brown said on Friday. Both the GSPI and Summit Daily News are part of the CMNM newspaper group.

“I think his strengths are in putting out a quality newspaper, in conjunction with his community service and leadership,” Brown said. “I’ll tell you, he’s always had a strong desire to get to Glenwood. He just loves the community.”

Bennett, who was active in Summit County community groups, said he plans to carry on that tradition here in Glenwood Springs. In Summit County, he was a member of the local Rotary Club, the Summit County Chamber of Commerce and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, a group that helps mentally and physically challenged people have mountain experiences.

“My first year in Summit County, I was Rotarian of the Year,” he said. “I was pretty proud of that.”

Such activities are encouraged by Swift and CMNM, but Bennett said those are the types of activities he’d do whether they were encouraged or not.

Bennett and his wife Bonnie were in Glenwood Springs over Thanksgiving weekend looking for a place to live.

“We’re very excited,” he said. “I just like the idea that it’s a great, established community that I can live and retire in ” and it’s warmer.”

A Philadelphia native, Bennett knows about cold weather, but Summit County makes even Philly look like the tropics.

“Living at 9,200 feet is great, but I’m looking forward to 5,700 feet,” he said. “My wife likes to garden.”

Bennett said there are an average of only 28 frost-free days in Summit County, and they aren’t necessarily in a row.

The couple has two adult children, 24 and 26 years old, and a 2-year-old grandson.

Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at West Virginia University in 1974, but since no writing jobs were available at the time, he went directly into advertising ” starting his career the same month he graduated college.

“I’m actually finishing my 30th year in the industry,” he said. “I’ve been involved in all aspects of the business.”

He became ad director of the Summit Daily News in 1997, and publisher in 1999. According to Summit editor Jim Pokrandt, Glenwood Springs is lucky to be getting him.

“He’s very community minded,” Pokrandt said. “He worked with a lot of groups, and he’d sponsor nonprofit activities.

“He’s also very concerned with editorial integrity. He really believes a good editorial product is paramount to any newspaper’s success.”

Pokrandt said Bennett is liked and respected in the Summit County community, as well as by his employees, who are saddened that he is moving on.

“We just had one (reporter) come in and say she’s bummed and that he’s the best publisher she’s ever had,” Pokrandt said. “You’re lucky.”

Bennett said he’s glad for the chance to be publisher of the GSPI.

“This is an opportunity for us; I want to stay in the group,” he said of Colorado Mountain News Media. “And I really enjoy working with Bob (Brown).”

Bennett assured GSPI readers and staff alike that there will be no major changes at the Post Independent.

“We just went through a redesign,” he said. “I think at this point, the design looks great, but there could be some tweaking, such as keeping all the local news together.

“Really, the first six months, I want to really get to know what’s going on with the operation.”

Among Bennett’s first priorities once he takes the helm on Jan. 5 will be finding a new advertising director. Mark Michaud resigned from that position earlier this fall, and the task of replacing him was being reserved for the new publisher.

“We have to hire an advertising director fairly quickly,” he said.

He’ll also look at ways to improve distribution.

“There are areas where we run out of papers too early in the day,” he said. “I’ll be looking for feedback from everybody.”

Bennett also will serve as publisher of the Rifle Citizen Telegram, where Donna Daniels recently became general manager.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.