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Telluride’s daily newspaper has been sold to Boulder’s Randy Miller, a lifetime newspaperman who’s had his eye on this town’s paper for more than three decades. John Cribb of Cribb, Greene & Associates represented the seller in the transaction.

Miller, a former editor who owns a weekly newspaper in suburban Tucson, bought the Telluride Daily Planet in a deal that was finalized Thursday.

In the deal, Miller also bought the Planet’s sister papers, the weekly newspapers the Norwood Post and the Silverton Standard & Miner. The Standard is the longest continuously operating business on the Western Slope.

The papers had been owned by GateHouse Media, a New York conglomerate that publishes nearly 300 papers across the nation.

Miller is the former owner of the Colorado Daily, a free paper in Boulder that’s published five days a week.

Miller also announced yesterday that the Planet is hiring a new publisher, Andrew Mirrington, 37, who is currently the director of advertising at the Colorado Daily.

Miller, 56 — a lanky, friendly, highly caffeinated man — said he’s wanted to own a newspaper in Telluride ever since he visited the town in 1975.

He had just graduated from the University of Missouri with a masters in journalism, and the then-23-year-old Miller — who thought he could do a better job running newspapers than most of the people who do it — looked into buying the Times.

Instead, Miller decided to buy a small paper in Marceline, Mo., and went on to work at more than a half-dozen newspapers in the West and Midwest as a publisher, owner and editor, including editing a couple of Pulitzer-prize winning photographs at the Detroit Free Press.

In 2001, he bought the Colorado Daily, which he expanded both in terms of pages and revenue before he sold it to its rival paper, the Boulder Daily Camera, in 2005. Last year, he bought the Tucson Explorer, a weekly paper with a circulation of about 50,000.

Meanwhile, as Miller was working his way across the country and up journalism’s ladder, the Telluride Times became the Telluride Times-Journal and, eventually, the Telluride Daily Planet.

And so in a sense, 33 years later, Miller finally owns the paper he’s wanted for so long. “It’s a great town,” he said. “This will give me an opportunity to spend more time here.”

While many large papers across the country have fallen on hard times, watching their circulation numbers drop and advertisers jump to the Web, Miller said he believes in the future of small, local papers like the Planet, Post, and Standard.

“I really do think local newspapers have a very solid future for years to come,” he said. He intends to make the paper something that appeals to locals and tourists, developers and conservationists alike. “We will represent the interest of the entire community,” he said.

Miller believes there’s some real similarities between Telluride and Boulder. “We may be the only two liberal towns in Colorado,” he said.

When asked, Miller wouldn’t say how much he paid for the papers, or if there will be changes made to the staff — other than the addition of Mirrington as publisher. While he plans to be a frequent visitor, Miller said he’ll leave the day-to-day business operation of the paper to Mirrington.

After operating a travel company, Andrew Mirrington joined the Colorado Daily nine years ago, and worked his way up from ad salesman to ad director. He said he read the Planet while on ski trips out here.

“When I picked up the paper I loved it,” he said. “My thought is that this is a great little paper and a fantastic community.”

An avid skier and mountain biker who moved to Boulder from the East Coast, he plans to move to Telluride in late August.

“It’s like nowhere else in Colorado,” he said. “There’s something different about the San Juans, there’s that merger of the desert rock …meeting the mountains.”

Mirrington praised Miller’s handling of the Colorado Daily, which grew considerably during Miller’s tenure as owner and publisher. Mirrington described his basic approach to advertising as “building relationships.”

“You shake a lot of hands and you get to know a lot of people,” he said.

Cribb, Greene & Associates is an eighty-five year old newspaper brokerage company with offices in Montana, Virginia, and Missouri.

Published July 4, 2008

Telluride, CO