So long Socorro

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I’m going to miss Socorro — for all the reasons Tom Kozeny mentions (see Socorro on My Mind below) and more.

I’m going to miss Socorro — for all the reasons Tom Kozeny mentions (see Socorro on My Mind below) and more.

Socorro County is, indeed, a great place to live. I spent the last 4 1/2 years of my life here, so can attest to that. There’s such an eclectic mix of people here and so many fascinating places to see. Socorro will forever remain on my mind.

One thing I won’t miss much is the mitote — something as a journalist I’ve often worked to dispel. This isn’t the only place where rumors, half-truths and falsehoods circulate, of course. But they seem more prevalent, and can have a greater impact, in small communities.

Just last month I returned from vacation to learn that the chitchat going around was that I had left the paper and El Defensor Chieftain was going out of business. I hadn’t left the paper (I was on vacation!) and the Chieftain isn’t going anywhere. It’s been here 146 years and will be here long after I’m gone, which, now, will be relatively soon. It happened quite quickly and unexpectedly. I’m going to work for the Albuquerque Journal at its office in Santa Fe.

There, you read it in the Chieftain, so it must be true. I have a friend who once told me that the mitote circulates around here, but people wait for the Chieftain to find out the real story. And that’s our charge — to serve as a credible source of information the public can rely on to provide accurate information.

Oh, I’ve made my share of mistakes. But with a sense of responsibility and obligation I’ve always tried to correct them. I’ll leave here content in knowing that I’ve done my best to help this paper fulfill its role as the Fourth Estate.

This newspaper won the New Mexico Press Association’s General Excellence award for our division two years ago. It essentially earned us the distinction of being the best little newspaper in New Mexico.

I’m proud of that, but I’m just as proud, if not more so, that we also won the Public Service award that same year. To me, that’s what it’s all about. A newspaper should serve its community — not only as a source for what’s happening in the community, but to inform, educate and, when necessary, affect positive change.

We have our critics. There’s even some haters out there. Like us or not, El Defensor Chieftain has been, and probably always will be, an integral part of this community. In my admittedly biased opinion, you should be proud too.

One mistake I won’t make is to try to name names in thanking all the people who helped me out during my tenure Inevitably I’ll leave someone out. Hopefully, you know who you are.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them. Thanks for your support.

 


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.