Meet the new boss

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El Defensor Chieftain has been taken over by Österreich — Elva Österreich, former associate news editor for the Alamogordo Daily News.

After 14 years at the Daily News, Österreich has taken the position of editor at the Chieftain.

Elva Österreich

Originally born in Montreal, Osterreich moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she was 5. Her parents both studied at University of New Mexico, where her father, Norbert, earned a doctorate in music, and her mother, Helgi, earned a doctorate in linguistics. Österreich attended UNM as well and received a Bachelor of Arts in photography and creative writing.

“(When) I was 7, I decided I would be a writer,” said Österreich.

She moved to Alamogordo in 1993 and was hired as the community life reporter for the Daily News. After 14 years with the Daily News, she decided to look for better opportunities and found the Chieftain.

“I love New Mexico and its history, and it seemed like the needs of the Chieftain were a really good fit for my skill set and the things I love about newspapers,” said Österreich. “Newspapers should be about people and communities.”

Österreich credits the editor who first hired her, Richard Coltharp, with inspiring her as a journalist and providing her with a strong knowledge base for working with small newspapers. She has found the time to raise three sons during her journalistic career — Jäger, 20, who is now a marine, Forst, 17, a high school senior, and Lanze, who is almost 11. Österreich speaks fluent Estonian and has ancestral roots in eastern Europe.

Though she is new in town, Österreich has found something to enjoy about Socorro.

“I think Socorro is beautiful and clean,” she said, adding that she is particularly fond of the historic Plaza.

Österreich hasn’t made any major plans for the paper yet, but she intends to keep lines of communication open.

“Anybody is welcome to give us a call,” says Österreich. “Or visit with whatever issues they would like to share.”

We are confident that El Defensor Chieftain will prosper under the flag of Österreich. Here’s to a new empire.