Historical society steps in to save Silverton paper
SILVERTON, Colorado The San Juan County Historical Society has stepped in to save the oldest continuously operated newspaper on the Western Slope of Colorado.According to a press release issued by the newspapers editor, the historical society agreed to accept the Silverton Standard & the Miner as a donation from Thirteenth Street Media Inc., which also owns the Telluride Daily Planet and the Norwood Post.We very much would like to thank Randy Miller and Thirteenth Street Media Inc. for the donation of the paper and the chance to bring it home, said Bev Rich, president of the San Juan County Historical Society. A newspaper is a critical entity in a town, much like a school. If you dont have a school, you really dont have a town, and it is the same for a newspaper it is the center of our community.Rich noted the historical society has formed a committee including herself, Fritz Klinke, Freda Peterson and former Standard owner George Chapman, to oversee the enterprise.But she added that the historical society sees its role as being a trustee for an independent Silverton Standard and foresees the paper becoming a for-profit business once again.Standard Editor Mark Esper has agreed to stay on as editor and publisher.The Standard has won 20 awards from the Colorado Press Association over the last two years, and was voted best small weekly in the state for news content in 2007 and best in the state for photography and design in 2008.But advertising revenue at the weekly, which is a journalism historic site, has dwindled.Were hoping that having local ownership again, and with the historical societys membership behind us, we can save this historic newspaper, Esper said.Silverton is a very isolated little community up here. Its not like we have other news outlets we can rely on. It is so important for so many reasons for this county to have a newspaper, he added.Miller said the Standard didnt fit in with his operation based in Telluride, due to geographic considerations for one.The donation of the Silverton Standard to the SJCHS is a perfect situation, Randy Miller said. Silverton is too far from our Telluride operation and has few economic ties that make it a good fit for us. But the Standard also has tremendous historical value and it was important to understand how we could assure the long-term health of the newspaper. It really is the right option for the paper and the community, Miller said. I’m happy the SJCHS is so excited about the newspaper and its future.The Silverton Standard & the Miner is a combination of two papers that date back to the early settlement of Silverton. The paper has maintained continuous publishing since that time, despite nearly twenty challengers to its position as Silvertons paper.The La Plata Miner was founded and first published by John R. Curry on July 10, 1875. In 1893 the name was changed to the Silverton Weekly Miner. The Silverton Standard was founded and first published on Nov. 2, 1889 by Charles S. Snowden.On Dec. 11, 1920, the two papers merged although The Miner was not included on the flag of the merged publication until several years later.In accepting the donation of the Standard, the historical society has assumed large startup costs to bring the business office operations back from Telluride. The historical society is seeking grants to help cover these significant expenses.
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