Clarity Media Group has purchased The Gazette, the Colorado Springs daily newspaper, from Freedom Communications Inc., Clarity CEO Ryan McKibben announced Friday.

The Gazette is the second largest daily newspaper in Colorado behind the Denver Post, with a daily circulation of 74,172 and a Sunday circulation of 85,718. It was founded in 1872 and had been owned by Freedom Communications since 1946.

"We intend to create a new level of excellence at The Gazette by adding additional news pages, growing circulation, improving digital capabilities and bringing more focus to local news that's important to readers," McKibben said.

McKibben will serve as chairman of The Gazette and will retain current President and Publisher Dan Steever. Christian Anschutz will be the paper's vice chairman. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Clarity, based in Denver, owns The Washington Examiner and the Weekly Standard in Washington.

Anschutz said The Gazette will expand its coverage of military operations in the El Paso County region.

"Outside of Washington, D.C., the Colorado Springs area has the most significant array of military operations in the country," Anschutz said, noting that the area is home to the headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command /U.S. Northern Command, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Fort Carson and an array of other military bases and installations. "Together these important military operations provide employment of more than 61,500 and an annual economic impact of nearly $6 billion to the Colorado Springs area."

McKibben also named Joe Hight editor of The Gazette. Hight previously served as managing editor of The Oklahoman and as a military affairs and city government reporter for the Lawton Constitution in southwest Oklahoma in 1982.

"Joe Hight is a perfect fit as the new editor of The Gazette," McKibben said. "We have every expectation that Hight can reinvigorate all aspects of the newspaper, and his more recent concentration with Internet development ensures that The Gazette will be a well-positioned news organization going into the future."